Moree Plains Shire Council has become the first local government in Australia to collect one million drums through rural recycling program drumMUSTER.
Farmers, council workers and community volunteers were recognised as part of the celebration of the council’s milestone.
The program first started in Moree in February 2000, collecting drums that had been used by the local aerial spraying operators.
By the end of the year, the Shire signed drumMUSTER’s collection agency agreement to bring the program to the rest of the local farming community.
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The council run eight sites across the region for farmers and other chemical users to dispose of their empty agvet chemical containers. Another three are run by private organisations.
The council’s local drumMUSTER Coordinator, Trevor Annis-Brown has been involved with the program since early 2004 and has relied on his diverse knowledge and contacts with the farming community to make sure the program runs smoothly.
AgStewardship Australia CEO Stephen Richards presented Trevor with an award for his 10 years of service with the program at the Moree Show. Trevor said he enjoys the job and hopes to see the program continue to flourish in the region.
“I like talking to the growers and they are doing a really good job,” he said. “Some are really passionate and deliver their drums every year. Some even deliver them every six months.”
An award of recognition was presented to the council’s waste management team for their hard work towards the milestone.
Moree Plains Shire Council Group Manager Waste and Water, David Wolfenden said he’s proud of his team and local farmers for contributing to the effort.
“It’s a big achievement and we’re very pleased about it,” he said. “We’re also happy that our local farmers who have participated in the program. Our commitment will be to continue to work towards reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfill.”
drumMUSTER also recognised local farmer Patrick Downes from Gurley who returned the one millionth drum.
Patrick runs a long established family farming property, Ogilvie west of Gurley and is a long term and regular user of the program.
He was awarded a $250 voucher for his local agvet chemical retailer.
An award was also granted to President of the Gurley Tennis Club, Philipa Hamilton who organises drumMUSTER collections to raise funds.
The club has raised more than $15,000 over the past 10 years. Philipa said the funds help pay association fees and public liability insurance.
The final award of the day was granted to Moree Plains Shire Councillor, John Tramby for his contribution to the program.
John was instrumental in developing the drumMUSTER program for the region when he was Mayor of Moree from 2004-07.
He said other rural industries should be replicating the drumMUSTER program.
“More industries should be following the drumMUSTER system and finding ways to get rid of the waste they create,” he said.
Since 1999, drumMUSTER has collected more than 23 million drums nation-wide. That represents more than 28,000 tonnes of waste avoiding landfill. Once collected, the waste is recycled into new and useful things again like plastic cable covers, wheelie bins and pipes.
Photo 1: drumMUSTER Northern NSW Consultant Phil Tucker, Moree Plains Shire Council Group Manager Waste and Water David Wolfenden, Moree Plains Shire Council drumMUSTER Coordinator Trevor Annis-Brown, Moree Plains Shire Council Waste Officer Tahra Sayers and AgStewardship Australia CEO Stephen Richards.
Photo 2: Moree Plains Shire Council Group Manager Waste and Water David Wolfenden and Moree Plains Shire Council Waste Officer Tahra Sayers.
Photo 3: AgStewardship Australia CEO Stephen Richards and Gurley Farmer Patrick Downes.