Many more farmers join the trend to take plastics to Agrecovery, writes Carmen Hall.

Bay of Plenty farmers have thrown their support behind voluntary rural recycling and diverted thousands of kilograms of rubbish away from the landfill.

Waste that was recycled in the region included 12,599kg of plastic containers and 36,278kg of silage wrap.

Agrecovery sales and marketing manager Duncan Scotland says the scheme has received a positive response.

"It's been really good and obviously it can get a heck of a lot bigger because we have been growing quite strongly, so we are excited about the next few years. Obviously not everyone is going to do it as it's still voluntary from a farmer, grower and manufacturer perspective, but it's a case of encouraging people to do it rather than telling off those who don't."

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The plastic containers are recycled in New Zealand, he says.

"It's made into underground cable cover that is used in trenches to protect power lines. The silage plastic is exported offshore because there are no processing facilities for it in this country."

Federated Farmers Bay of Plenty provisional president, Rick Powdrell, says there has definitely been an upsurge in farmers recycling.

"I can only go on my own personal observations but when you get around properties you see more and more farmers with recycling bags for silage bags and so on."

Recycling depots have also made a difference, he says. "There is a depot at Te Puke and when they opened I had a tidy-up and dropped off 144 containers.

"I suppose I had been storing them in anticipation it was going to happen. I think it's just the fact that the service is available and if it is relatively handy people will use it."

In the past, many containers would have been buried, burned or used for other purposes before being thrown in the rubbish, he says.

Agrecovery Foundation chairman Graeme Peters says there has been a 30 per cent jump in the number of people using Agrecovery.

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"What is particularly pleasing is the increase in participation from sheep, beef and dairy farmers who have historically had lower participation rates than horticulturists."

Agrecovery also collect chemicals, but that campaign is not scheduled for in the Bay of Plenty until August next year.

Recycling Results 12 months to June 30 2013

*Agrecovery collected 507,671kg of plastic and chemicals nationally from June 2012 to June 2013 with growth up 24 per cent over the same period last year.
*182,331kg of empty chemical and animal health containers were collected from 70 permanent Agrecovery sites and supporting events.
*Agrecovery's annual volume of container plastic could be used in the production of a 15cm wide cable cover that reached from Auckland to Invercargill and back.
*309,417kg of silage plastics and other films were collected.
*A typical round bale contains about 1kg of plastic and about 309,000 bale wraps were recycled.