Government initiatives to put the onus on manufacturers for ensuring that their products can be recycled or disposed of safely is a step in the right direction for New Zealand’s environmental outcomes.
A voluntary product scheme for agrichemicals and their containers has a thirteen-year history and demonstrates the industry’s commitment to the environment. The government today announced that it intends to make all manufacturers of these products follow suit.
The industry funds the rural recycling programme Agrecovery which offers farmers alternatives to the harmful disposal practices of burning, burying and stockpiling of waste.
Agcarm chief executive Mark Ross says that “mandatory stewardship for agrichemicals and their containers, as well as other farm plastics, is a step in the right direction”.
This is a win for our rural recycling programme as it removes free-riders and levels the playing field for those who already participate in voluntary schemes – as Agcarm members do.
The Associate Minister for the Environment, Eugenie Sage, says that much more can be achieved with a comprehensive regulated scheme which creates a level playing field and helps reduce waste and its risks to the environment.
“We are proud of the Agrecovery programme and look forward to engaging with the Minister on getting the farm waste issues right for the whole of New Zealand,” says Ross.
“As the voice for animal medicines and crop protection products, we endorse taking responsibility for the products we produce. The government also needs to ensure that product stewardship programmes are fair, transparent, not overly burdened with regulation. It is vital that schemes are efficient and do not lead to unnecessary cost increases for consumers.
Ross says that the association will work through the government’s consultation documents. “We will be working with our members to ensure that we maintain an efficient and cost-effective product stewardship programme for our members’ products.
“We are also keen to step up product stewardship schemes for animal medicine products, which need to be worked through in much more detail,” adds Ross.