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drumMUSTER appeals to South Australian farmers

Published: 22-07-2014

drumMUSTER has launched a new campaign calling on farmers across South Australia to do the right thing and bring in their drums for recycling.

The national stewardship program, drumMUSTER is launching a campaign across the state in an effort to help increase the number of drums being returned for recycling, whilst also changing the mindset of a minority of farmers not using the program.

The campaign is aimed at farmers and other agricultural and veterinary chemical users who are not properly disposing of their chemical containers in an environmentally friendly way.

drumMUSTER SA Consultant David Jesse said that he had hoped drum returns would have increased given that most of the drumMUSTER sites are now holding ongoing collections.

David said that in the past, farmers needed to look out for the drumMUSTER advert in their local paper or contact their local reseller to find out when the next collection would be in their area. This process has now changed in most regions of South Australia. He said, “Councils are making access to the drumMUSTER compound easier by opening for longer hours or providing an ongoing service by accepting drums when the site is open for usual business.” He continued, “At some sites it may be necessary to book before you come but this is usually a case of ringing the local council or site directly.”

He added, “Our campaigns usually coincide with the end of spraying season but with responsible chemical waste management now an essential element of most Quality Assurance programs, drumMUSTER is trying to make it as easy as possible for farmers to tick those boxes. You’re not only meeting the requirements of QA programs, but you’re also preventing waste from ending up in the wrong place”, he said.

David said he hopes this year’s campaign will raise the profile of responsible waste management and let farmers know that recycling empty chemical containers is easier than it ever was. He said, “All chemical users need to do, is locate their nearest site by visiting the drumMUSTER website which provides details for every site in SA.”

“Even though a high percentage of our drumMUSTER sites are open 5 days a week and have been for at least a year now, there are still no signs of an increase in returns” he said.

“The state’s growers can do a lot better. We’ve been working with the chemical resellers to work out where the problem areas are and we have received a lot of support from them.” he said.

David continued by saying, “Today, we still find that farmers continue with these bad habits that are detrimental to not only their business, but their environment too.”

drumMUSTER saw more than 280,000 drums collected and 1700 deliveries by users during its peak in 2011. Since then, the program has seen a continued decline of participation in SA with only 230,000 drums being returned in 2013, that’s 50,000 less than two years prior. A significant decline in the number of farmers is also worrying with 1900 in 2010 dropping to only 1600 last year. We are well aware that much of this decline is due to the increased usage of returnable containers, such as shuttles and envirodrums, but resellers advise us they are still selling a significant number of smaller, drumMUSTER eligible containers.

Under the drumMUSTER program, users are required to make sure containers are empty, rinsed clean and dried before returning them to one of the 93 drumMUSTER sites around South Australia.

Once collected, the containers are shredded and transformed into practical items such as plastic cable covers, wheelie bins and cement reinforcing bar chairs.

drumMUSTER has collected more than 23 million drums nationally since 1999. That’s more than 28,000 tonnes of material recycled into new products. South Australia has contributed to nearly 3.4 million of those 23 million drums collected.

For more information contact SA Regional Consultant David Jesse on 0409 834 113.