A group of local fire fighters are calling on farmers, growers and other agvet chemical users to bring in their empty drums after collection numbers reached an all-time low in the shire this week.
For the past four years the Maindample CFA has been collecting drums at the Mansfield Works Depot to raise money for new equipment and upgrades.
The brigade collects 25 cents for each drum they inspect. But in the past year the number of drums has dropped to less than 200 or no more than $50 for the CFA.
It’s a stark contrast from four years ago when the site saw more than 1000 drums pass through the gates during just one collection.
Victorian drumMUSTER Consultant John Knight said past experience shows there are plenty of drums out there.
“Given the large amounts of cropping in the region there is bound to be thousands of drums just waiting to be recycled,” he said.
“drumMUSTER not only clears the land of this unwanted containers but helps prevent thousands of tonnes of waste from clogging up landfill.
“By delivering your containers you are also supporting the CFA’s limited fund raising efforts.”
Mansfield Shire Council’s Waste Management Officer Rebecca Kirley said the latest muster on Monday saw a reasonable turnout from farmers who brought in their eligible containers.
But she said if they don’t get more drums the CFA may stop doing the collections.
“When I first started with Mansfield Shire Council thedrumMUSTER collections were being performed by Council staff,” she said. “But we identified it wasn’t really viable for us to continue with the collections so the Maindample CFA took it on board.”
“Now, because the numbers are dropping, the Maindample CFA have indicated that they are considering dropping the program altogether. Members are volunteering their time for basically little to no custom to the program. This is unfortunate.
Rebecca said she received a few phone calls from farmers asking about the most recent collection times and dates.
“This is good news because it keeps the CFA motivated to continue with the program,” she said. “It also reassures them that there is interest in the program.”
“Sadly though, if people don’t choose to take advantage of thedrumMUSTER program, the CFA will be forced to abandon it which will result in us not having a regular collection here in the municipality.
drumMUSTER has reminded everyone to make sure drums are free of chemical residue and are dry before being collected. Metal drums should be pierced to allow better airflow for drying. Plastic drums need to have caps removed with their labels on. There’s no need to pierce plastic containers.
Once containers are brought in, they are crushed or shredded and transformed into practical items such as plastic cable covers, wheelie bins and cement reinforcing bar chairs.
For more information on the next drumMUSTER collection in the Mansfield area call Rebecca at the council on 03 5775 8555.