Drum recycling program approaches milestone

Wednesday, 29 October, 2008

When drumMUSTER commenced operating in 1999, it kicked off with a racing start at Gunnedah and 18 months later one million drums had been collected and recycled.

Now, as the national scheme rapidly approaches the 12 million-drum milestone, it is taking just seven months for each additional million to be added to the total. All of these drums are recycled and processed into a wide range of plastic and metal products and Queenslanders contribute almost 18% of this total.

Prior to drumMUSTER, product stewardship, or attending to the full life cycle of these agricultural and veterinary containers, had not previously been well catered for. The result was environmental eyesores on farms and unnecessary rubbish at council landfill sites all around the country.

“It’s all about reducing the burden on the land. As far as possible we want to get every drum off every farm,” said Bill Davis, drumMUSTER and ChemClear consultant for northern Queensland.

“All over Queensland receival depots are prepared and ready for a full-on month of mustering. There has been significant improvement to program access in recent years and farmers now have more opportunities to clear their properties of recyclable waste.

"Local councils provide receival points and farmers are reminded to contact their local authority for further information. Many councils now receive drums on an ongoing basis and in some areas there is an opportunity for on-farm processing if numbers are sufficient."

Total receivals currently represent over 16,500 tonnes of high-quality plastic and metal saved from rubbish heaps.

“Farmers and many other chemical end users, such as golf course superintendents, sporting ground curators, horticulturalists and commercial weed or pest control operators, increasingly see the benefit of adopting the program,” said Colin Hoey, drumMUSTER ChemClear consultant for southern Queensland.

The aim of the program is to promote good waste management practices so that quality assurance standards can be met and cleaner, safer land-use practices will be inherited for future generations.

The scheme operates through Agsafe Ltd is a non-government, not-for-profit organisation. It also administers the ChemClear program, which specifically targets the collection and safe disposal of unwanted chemicals.


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