Our agriculture sector uses millions of litres of chemicals each year.


Our agriculture sector uses millions of litres of chemicals each year. Potentially harmful plastic containers and unused chemicals are regularly burned or dumped, polluting our air, land and water to the detriment of human and animal health,  jeopardising “brand NZ”.

Initiative: Agrecovery Rural Recycling Programme – product stewardship solutions for agrichemicals and their packaging
Client: Sustainable Farming Fund / Ministry for the Environment / Agrecovery Foundation
  1. Define the problem and develop business plan for container recovery in NZ (2003-04)
  2. Develop programme structure and governance model to own the programme (2005-06)
  3. Define the problem and develop business plan for chemical recovery (2008-09)
  4. Ongoing programme management (2007-ongoing)

3R Role: Development / programme design / stakeholder engagement / project management

AG timeline2A world class solution

Agrecovery Rural Recycling provides a responsible and sustainable nationwide solution for chemicals and their containers.  It is operated in line with international best practice (including ISO 14001 environmental standards) and is affiliated with Crop Life International.

Passion and commitment

3R Group has been a driving force behind the Agrecovery programme. 3R designed the programme with the industry and now manages it nationwide. Like any industry-wide programme that seeks to change traditional behaviour, Agrecovery has its challenges.  3R’s passion and vision for it’s continued growth has been integral to its success.

“When you talk to 3R, you talk to experts in product stewardship who have a proven track record of delivering results within budget.”

Graeme Peters: Former Chair, Agrecovery Foundation

3R driven solutions

  • Development of a product stewardship organisation (Agrecovery Foundation) providing transparency and industry-wide governance and representation
  • Fully supplier-funded levy model, supported by 12 founding brand owners (now 60+) allowing users free recycling of their HDPE packaging
  • Development of mobile shredding technology, allowing efficient processing and transport of collected materials to recyclers
  • Creation of Smart Member Services (SMS) software, enabling users to simply download auditable reports of their recycling activity and industry to track group performance
  • Ongoing development of recovery or recycling programmes for other materials, including in 2009 commencing the collection and disposal of unwanted or expired agrichemicals, replacing disparate regional and local government retraction schemes.

Enduring: Where is it now?

To enhance the scheme’s credibility for brand owners and users alike, 3R sought government accreditation, and in 2010 Agrecovery Containers and Chemicals were accredited by the Minister for the Environment as Product Stewardship Programmes under the Waste Minimisation Act 2008.

In April 2015, the programme achieved the major milestone of recycling 1 million kg of container plastic. In addition, we exceeded 10,000 members, 63 brand owners, and 75,000 kg of unwanted chemicals recovered.

As of October 2015, 3R continues as programme managers, operating all programme aspects on behalf of the Agrecovery Foundation according to a strict set of KPIs, and developing further recovery programmes.

“Without 3R’s professionalism, expertise, dedication and innovation these rural recycling programmes wouldn’t be as successful as they are”

Lew Metcalfe: Agricultural Policy & Sustainability Advisor and former Agrecovery Chairman

Download the Agrecovery case study

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