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NZ’s used plastic agrichemical containers noted

Agrecovery Foundation established to recover NZ’s millions of used plastic agrichemical containers

Efforts towards establishing a nationwide recovery programme for plastic agricultural chemical containers have taken a major step forward with the formation of the Agrecovery Foundation.

The Agrecovery Foundation is a not for profit charitable trust that will own and govern the Agrecovery programme to recover many of the estimated five million under-30-litre agrichemical containers used in New Zealand each year, as well as other on-farm plastics. The Foundation’s trustees met in Wellington on Friday, 16 December 2005, to sign the trust deed and progress the contracts and work plan that will see the recovery programme move to implementation.

The product stewardship programme will see brand owners taking responsibility for enabling the collection, recovery and eventual recycling of the mountain of used chemical containers discarded by New Zealand’s farming and horticultural industries each year.

The Agrecovery Foundation’s chairman Richard Kempthorne, representing Horticulture New Zealand, says the trust will now move on to tasks associated with implementing the programme, such as formalising contracts with the programme partners, and building industry support. “A lot has been achieved, but we also have a busy work plan ahead to liaise with the many industry and customer groups to get the programme running. We are buoyed by the strong support industry is showing for the initiative, including Zespri and Pipfruit NZ and the vegetable and fruit product groups signalling their willingness to participate.”

The New Zealand Agrichemical Education Trust (NZAET) will be the administrator for the Agrecovery Foundation. Implementation tasks and ongoing management of the programme will be delivered by Hawke’s Bay based company Responsible Resource Recovery Ltd.

Responsible Resource Recovery director Bruce Emerson says getting the trust established and formalised has been a major achievement reflecting years of concerted effort. “The trust establishment follows a lot of work since the business plan for the programme was released in February 2005. There is strong and growing support from a wide range of industry members as well as local and central government. Agrecovery Foundation chairman Richard Kempthorne’s valuable input in bringing a number of agencies together has been critical in getting the trust established and supported. We believe the trust has a robust and exciting platform to now work from and get the recovery programme implemented across the country.”

The Agrecovery Foundation’s trustees are: Richard Kempthorne (Chairman), representing Horticulture NZ Jack Richardson, representing Agcarm Inc Lewis Metcalfe, representing Fonterra Robert Brodnax, representing Environment Waikato Hugh Ritchie, representing Federated Farmers.

The foundation has also co-opted a Ministry for the Environment representative (Nigel Ironside) to be “ex officio” to it.

The Ministry for the Environment has a key part to play as product stewardship programmes such as Agrecovery develop in New Zealand. Earlier this year the Ministry released a Product Stewardship discussion paper; submissions closed recently and the Ministry is now finalising its position prior to presenting its preferred approach to cabinet. It has signalled that its preferred approach to product stewardship will be for industries to design programmes themselves and to approach government for support to underpin their industry-led programmes.

"The Agrecovery Foundation has been established to start up a recovery programme for the millions of used plastic agricultural chemical containers discarded each year by NZ's farming and horticultural industries.

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