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Agrecovery backs compulsory product stewardship

Agrecovery backs compulsory product stewardship

Nationwide rural recycling scheme Agrecovery has welcomed government moves to encourage recycling and recovery of agrichemicals and plastic containers.

A discussion document released today by Environment Minister Amy Adams is a big step towards improving the management of waste agrichemicals and their packaging.

Agrecovery Chair, Graeme Peters says “This process, when completed, will hopefully make it compulsory for companies which make and sell registered agrichemicals to be part of a product stewardship scheme.”

This would be supported by Agrecovery and the 60 companies which have supported it over the last seven years of operation, during which Agrecovery has recycled 650 tonnes of plastic and helped dispose of 30 tonnes of unwanted or expired agrichemicals.

Compulsion will remove free riders – those manufacturers who refuse to take responsibility for their waste and let others solve the problem.

“If done right, compulsion will level the playing field which currently favours companies which do not contribute a recycling levy of 12 cents per litre, and thumb their noses at product stewardship” says Mr Peters.

Manufacturers who belong to the scheme pay a levy on products to cover the cost of disposing them in an environmentally-friendly way. They make less profit to cover the levy than competitors who don’t participate in a scheme.

Agrecovery, a Ministry for the Environment accredited product stewardship scheme, supports the intent of the discussion paper but it would make the point that any government-mandated scheme must not create an expensive bureaucracy.

“Product stewardship means asking manufacturers of agrichemicals and bulk animal health products to invest a significant amount of money to fund the costs of recovery. These have to be reasonable,” says Mr Peters.

Another important point is that there must be real incentives for farmers and growers to recycle. “There is no point setting up a recycling scheme if farmers and growers don’t use it, so a big part of the solution is finding incentives for farmers and growers to participate” he said.

ENDS

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