Is your farming operration sustainable?
Having recently implemented stage one of our firm's Sustainable Business Plan, sustainability is a timely and fitting topic for this week's article.
The two main reasons our firm adopted sustainable work practices were:
- So that we can do our bit for the environment.
- The Waste Management Bill currently working its way through the House introduces a waste levy, which will mean the costs of disposing waste in a landfill will increase.
Current Farm Waste Disposal Methods
On most farms, the disposal of rubbish can be an ongoing problem as it may be some distance to the nearest landfill.
Burning of rubbish is still a common disposal method, both for domestic and farm rubbish.
However, what you burn and how you burn it may have an effect on the environment; for example, thick smoke and odours. Generally, rubbish from the farm can be burnt without a Resource Consent being required. However, this is only permitted if the rubbish is only from your own farm, it does not contain treated wood or sawdust, waste oil, tyres, or chlorinated plastic.
You also need to ensure the smoke or fumes do not cause a nuisance outside your property boundary.
Another method includes disposing of dead stock, domestic and other farm rubbish into pits.
There are, however, two main points to be aware of: odour (there must be no smell outside of your property boundary) and seepage (seepage from pits must not reach any stream, water supply, well or spring).
The Growing Problem of Plastic Waste Disposal
There is a growing problem of plastic waste disposal in the primary sector. There are a number of contractors in Taranaki that can help you recycle your bale wrap and waste plastic, including:
- Agrecovery programme: A nationwide Agrecovery rural recycling programme, which began in April 2007, provides a recovery solution for waste plastic agricultural containers that are Agrecovery branded. Such containers can be stockpiled and disposed of at Agrecovery collection sites established in Hawera and Waitara. For more information about this programme, including which companies are currently part of the scheme, see: www.agrecovery.co.nz.
- Agpac: A number of Taranaki contractors are also involved in the Agpac scheme, to collect plastic farm waste, especially bale wrap. Farmers can purchase an Agpac bin and liners, and either drop off the full liner or arrange to have it collected. For further information, see: www.agpac.co.nz/recycling.html.
Both of the above recycling options are a more sustainable alternative to burning or burying plastic waste on the farm. The Waste Minimisation Bill and Emissions Trading legislation are clear indications of an increased focus at a legislative level on environmental issues and a desire to transfer the costs of waste disposal to individuals and businesses.