Queensland farmers are proving their worth as recycling champions with bookings for Agsafe’s ChemClear collection ramping up during its final few weeks of registration.
Farmers end up with leftover product they cannot reuse and ChemClear works with the State Government to help farmers fund collections of unlabeled, unregistered or unknown chemicals.
Chemicals become unwanted in a number of ways. Property owners may inherit chemicals when they buy land, others switch crops, while some buy specific-use chemicals to manage one-off pest events.
Agvet chemical users in Queensland have until April 28 to take an inventory of their chemical sheds and register obsolete or unwanted agricultural and veterinary chemicals for the statewide collection.
More than 17,000L/kg of registered chemicals are booked in for the June collection, close on the heels of the 22,000L/kg taken in Queensland’s previous collection, in 2015.
Des Swain from Butchers Creek, 30km from Atherton, runs a herd of 50 cattle on his 66ha farm and said without ChemClear, farmers had no safe alternative to dispose of unused chemicals.
“It’s a fantastic idea, I just wish that everybody would use it because we’ve got grandkids who visit and we get more conscious of safety issues as we get older … I always check the use-by dates on the label, it’s important to get rid of old chemicals safely as some of them get more toxic with age,” Mr Swain said.
Sugar Research Australia’s 25ha sugarcane station in Mackay has chemical, biochemistry and entomology labs operating and they have used ChemClear since 2005.
SRA farm manager, Annette Corcoran, said old chemicals could pose a risk to staff and the environment so ChemClear’s regular collections made sense.
“I find it very convenient for our business, our people and the environment … it means we are meeting our responsibilities and obligations under QA, farm and environmental management programs,” Ms Corcoran said.
Program manager, Lisa Nixon, said she was particularly thrilled at the response from farmers as they made up more than 65 per cent of the groups that had registered their unwanted agvet product.
“Farmers have huge expenses and they need to utilise all chemical they purchase, so they are definitely making great decisions when it comes to buying what they need and safely disposing of leftover products,” Mrs Nixon said.
Collections in flood-affected areas will go ahead in June and any chemical users impacted by ex-TC Debbie are encouraged to book unwanted product when it is convenient for them.
ChemClear is an end-of-life product stewardship program fostered by Agsafe for the safe disposal of agvet chemicals.
Register unwanted agvet chemicals online at www.chemclear.org.au or phone 1800 008 182.