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Summary Report: Waitomo Agrichemical Collection 2007

Report:TR 2008/04
Author: William Gauntlett



Following agrichemical collection trials undertaken in 2004-2005, Environment Waikato, in association with the Ministry for the Environment, carried out a collection of unwanted agrichemicals in the Waitomo District in the 2006-2007 financial year. The collection programme was undertaken to reduce the legacy of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) on rural properties. The main aim was, therefore, to collect POPs - but all unwanted agrichemicals were collected. This was partly because it was thought that farmers/growers were not in the position to separate POPs from other agrichemicals.

This report outlines all the factors considered in scoping out and implementing a sub-regional unwanted agrichemical collection and can be used to guide further collections in other parts of the region.

The budget allowed for this free service to be offered to all farmers/growers in the Waitomo District and for 4.5 tonnes of agrichemicals to be collected over the summer of 2006-2007. At the outset, it was estimated that the owners/managers of 1000 rural properties would need to be contacted and registration gained from 10% of these to collect the maximum possible volume of agrichemicals within funding constraints. The project was communicated to farmers/growers through a letter (which included a registration form to be returned) and articles in a local newspaper. Both the letter and advertisement requested registrations of any agrichemicals that were unwanted and required collecting. This initial contact was followed by a reminder phone call inviting those who had not yet registered to do so.

From Environment Waikato’s Properties - GIS Layer database, there initially appeared to be 1016 individual farmers/growers in the Waitomo District. As the project progressed and ‘double-ups’ and some others were removed, it was found that 638 farmers/growers needed to be contacted. A total of 510 of the farmers/growers (80%) were contacted. This number was made up of the 107 registration forms received and another 403 farmers/growers were contacted by phone. From these, 152 farmers/growers (24%) registered agrichemicals for collection. From details of registration it was estimated that around 4.4 tonnes of agrichemicals would be collected.

At the completion of the collection, a total of approximately 4.5 tonnes of unwanted agrichemicals had been collected from 130 farmers/growers (20%) with a mean volume of 35kg per participant and a median of 17kg. POPs were collected from 18 properties (14 % of those collected from) with a total volume of 265kg (6% of total). There is a notable lack of information pertaining to the amount of obsolete and legacy agrichemicals left uncollected in the district. The project cost Environment Waikato approximately $69,000. Budgeted to cost $20 per kg of agrichemical collected, the collection finished under budget, at a cost of only $15 per kg. This cost, however, can be looked at as $530 per participant or $260 per kg POPs. The disposal, estimated using $10/kg, cost the Ministry for the Environment around $450,000.

The project was successful in collecting the volume estimated, gaining a response from a large number of farmers/growers, and collecting from a significant proportion of farmers/growers. The project was also successful in terms of collection costs - finishing under budget. The low quantity of POPs collected, however, raises questions over the efficiency of this method to collect them. If based on only the volume of POPs collected, because of the low volume collected, the project was expensive. But, if assessed based on collecting unwanted agrochemicals and removing them from the rural environment the project was successful.


Summary Report: Waitomo Agrichemical Collection 2007
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Table of contents

1 Executive summary iii
2 Introduction 1
3 Background 1
4 Method 2
4.1 The area 3
4.2 Initial communication 3
4.3 The Farmers/growers 4
4.4 External agencies 5
4.5 Notification 6
4.6 Letter and registration form 6
4.7 Publicity 6
4.8 Registrations 7
4.9 Pickup 8
5 Results and Discussion 8
5.1 Registration 8
5.2 Collection 10
5.3 Cost 15
6 Recommendations 16
7 Conclusion 16
Appendix 1   Farmers/growers letter 17
Appendix 2 Registration form 19
Appendix 3 Absentee landowners letter 20
Appendix 4 C/O accountants/solicitors cover letter 22
Appendix 5 Iwi notification letter 23
Appendix 6 TLA notification letter 24
Appendix 7 All staff notification email 25
Appendix 8 Phone prompt 26
Appendix 9 Materials collected 28