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ChemClear contributes to a cleaner Queensland

Published: 26-08-2015

ChemClear has successfully completed its second largest collection of unwanted agricultural and veterinary chemicals in Queensland.

The final pool equated to 37.16 tonnes, with 22,041 L/kg of Group 1 classified chemicals and 15,120 L/kg of Group 2 chemicals collected from farmers, businesses, golf courses, government departments and councils across the state.

“We are extremely pleased with the result,” said National Program Manager Lisa Nixon. “In total, ChemClear has collected over 178.7 tonnes of obsolete or unknown chemicals across QLD over the past nine years”.

QLD exceeds any other state’s retrieved collection totals under the program, with NSW coming a close second with around 138.7 tonnes collected to date.

Ms Nixon said, “After 12 years with ChemClear, the level of really old, nasty chemicals that comes out of the woodwork on state collections still amazes me. Our data shows that there are a lot of agvet chemicals that are inherited from farm purchases or family takeovers. A lot of the products are also simply no longer required due to changes in agriculture. It’s really important that farmers have a service available to dispose of these chemicals as they can pose a real safety and health risk.”

The ChemClear truck collected product from hundreds of farmers in less than six weeks during June and July, and covered 12,063 kilometres in total. On the return trip to Melbourne, the program also took the opportunity to collect 6.5 tonnes of chemicals from two farmers in Walgett and Wee Waa as the truck passed through New South Wales.

Together these quantities accumulate to bring the overall amount of chemicals collected across Australia to 500 tonnes since the inception of the program in 2003 – a wonderful achievement for all involved.

This year’s agvet chemical in the Group 2 pool was partly funded by the QLD Department of Environment and Heritage Protection. The Department funded the collection of 11,853 L/kg from 156 farmers and the remainder of 3,2667 L/kg was paid for by a further 34 waste holders.

Feedback collected after the run has also been positive, with 100% of program users indicating that the delivery process was straightforward and convenient, and they would use the service again in the future.

Health and safety, followed by concern about damage to the environment associated with irresponsible disposal, were the main motivators behind users registering their chemicals for collection.

Coral Sanders, a user from Nanango who was a funding recipient said, “Registering online for the service was convenient and I was easily able to store my chemicals, some of which were approximately 10-years-old, in a poisons shed prior to collection.”

Ms Sanders encourages any agvet chemical user holding onto unwanted products to register them with ChemClear to ensure that they are safely taken care of.

“By disposing of my chemicals, I’ve removed the burden from others if something was to happen to me. ChemClear is a valuable service for all agvet chemical users,” she said.

Ms Nixon said, “We would like to thank the Department for supporting ChemClear in this year’s state-wide collection. Farmers really need a helping hand in securing a safe disposal option for their unknown and aged chemicals.”

98% of chemicals collected by ChemClear are used as an alternative fuel source in the manufacturing of cement. Most of the material is destroyed in kilns which reach temperatures in excess of 1,800°C.

If you have missed the recent collection and would like to utilise the service, please take an inventory of your unwanted chemicals and register for the next collection in QLD by clicking here or calling 1800 008 182.