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Published: 2005-04-14 00:00:00

The Waikato is likely to get 11 depots for collecting unwanted plastic agrichemical containers and silage wrap under a container and wrap recovery programme now being developed.

This week’s Environment Waikato Environment Committee meeting heard that a plan to recover the containers and silage wrap began in 2002 as a pilot, with backing from key industry stakeholders. The Waikato, with its intensive farming sector, was chosen as part of the initial trial in December 2003.

The life cycle and economic analysis of the trial showed that recovery was the best option and burning and burying were less viable. Trial collections were done in the Waikato, Hawkes Bay and Canterbury with support from farming and a total of 9.2 tonnes of silage wrap and over 9000 agrichemical containers were collected. Service users were satisfied with the process and understood the need to dispose of the plastic in a more environmentally friendly way.

Responsible Resource Recovery Ltd director Bruce Emerson said there was potential for more than 7000 tonnes of waste to be collected every year in New Zealand and a business plan for the process recommended 75 collection compounds with five service hubs throughout the country.

The business plan was developed after extensive consultation with central and local government, recycling operators, Federated Farmers, key chemical industry representatives, plastic processors and other contractor federations. Environment Waikato had contributed through funding, in-kind staff and promotion.

Two plans were developed – Growsafe Container Recovery and Wrap Recovery – which would be run together.

Costs of the programme would be met by a recovery fee paid by the supporting brand owners so there was no requirement for on-going Central or local government funding. There was an opportunity for regions to assist with implementation costs, and Environmental Initiative Funding had been applied for. It was hoped the system would be operating later this year, he said.

Cr Andra Neeley said she supported the collection system but urged container manufacturers to re-design containers so they were easier to rinse. She had found her own containers very difficult to get clean and only containers which had been triple rinsed were acceptable.