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 (2007-2017)

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

AG timeline

A world class solution

3R designed Agrecovery Rural Recycling to provide a responsible and sustainable nationwide solution for chemicals and their containers, operating it in line with international best practice (including ISO 14001 environmental standards).

Passion and commitment

3R Group was a driving force behind the Agrecovery programme from inception to its 10 year anniversary. 3R designed the programme with the industry and managed it nationwide until June 2017. Like any industry-wide programmes that seeks to change traditional behaviour, Agrecovery had its challenges.  3R’s passion and vision for the programme was integral to its first 10 years of 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 (starting with 12 brand owners and reaching 65 by 2017), allowing users free recycling of their HDPE packaging and access to chemical collection and disposal
  • Development of mobile shredding technology, allowing efficient processing and transport of collected materials to recyclers
  • Creation of award-winning Smart Member Services (SMS) software, enabling users to download auditable reports of their recycling activity and industry to track group performance
  • 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.
  • Enhanced scheme’s credibility for brand owners and users alike through applying for 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.

Visible impact

By the end of our 10 years of programme management, Agrecovery had achieved some major milestones:

  • more than 1.7 million kg of container plastic recycled,
  • 100,000 kg of unwanted chemicals recovered from rural properties,
  • 65 brand owners financially supporting the programme, and
  • nearly 13,000 farmers, growers and contractors registered with the programme.

“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

This is a unique website which will require a more modern browser to work!

Please upgrade today!