More than 100 farmers have cleansed their lands of toxic and dangerous chemicals after using the ChemClear program during its state wide collection this year.
ChemClear chemist Andrew Haines said farmers drove away with big smiles on their faces.
“The relief these farmers expressed in being able to deliver their chemicals to us for safe disposal was replicated right across our state journey,” he said.
The collection run covered 10,700 square kms, visiting 38 council sites and collecting more than 18 tonnes of obsolete agvet chemicals from 104 waste holders in April and May. This year’s collection was ChemClear’s third in WA with 57 tonnes of agvet chemicals being handed over to be disposed of over the past five years. Local councils gave their generous support by providing suitable sites for locals to drop off their chemicals.
Most of the chemicals ChemClear collects have either been found, inherited or are obsolete stocks.
Local farmer John Singh said he had no idea what some of the chemicals were used for.
“They’ve been there for 20 years. These chemicals were used before my time,” he said.
Lisa Nixon ChemClear’s National Program Manager said it was an all too familiar story.
“In days gone by farmers held onto their chemicals for as long as possible, they paid good money for them and they needed to be used, even through changes in farming operations,” she said.
“We are finding that this attitude is changing as new generation farmers are coming on board and clearing out the old stores of chemicals, many of which have no idea what they are.”
Tom Tate an ex -dairy farmer and now a beef farmer from Rosa Brook near Margaret River found out about the program through the Cape to Cape Catchment Group who took up the ChemClear collection promotion across their organisation.
Tom said he had to think of the safety of his grandchildren and finally do something about the stockpiles of chemicals in his shed. He said he was happy to get rid of the insecticides and herbicides that hadn’t been used in a decade.
“My grandchildren are precious and there was no way I was going to risk their welfare by having these old chemicals sitting in the shed any longer,” he said.
Tom was one of 20 farmers who took up the opportunity to register his unwanted chemical for this year’s collection and deliver them to the retrieval vehicle hosted by the Augusta Margaret Shire Council.
The ChemClear program is an industry funded program that provides a pathway for eligible obsolete agvet chemicals at the end of their life cycle. These chemicals are collected free of charge under the program. Since the program commenced in 2003 we have collected in more than 337 tonnes.
“We are really happy with the response received for the program across WA. Unfortunately this year we had no government funding to support the cost of disposal of Group 2 classified chemicals which are those out of date, unknown and mixed chemicals,” Ms Nixon said.
“With no funds available we saw a 69% drop off in take up for disposal of this classification of chemical. We hope to secure some funding for our next collection round in the state so we don’t experience this level of cancellations again.”
To register for ChemClear’s next WA collection visit www.chemclear.com.au or call 1800 008 182.