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DrumMUSTER and ChemClear fulfil industry QA needs

Published: 02-09-2014

For the last 15 years, hundreds of Tasmanian horticulturalists, viticulturists and other chemical users have relied on drumMUSTER to regularly dispose of their empty chemical containers.

During this time, the program has recycled over 24 million drums and continues to be the most successful agricultural recycling program in Australia.

More than 30 drumMUSTER sites currently operate around Tasmania and are managed by councils and local contractors. A total of 355,826 containers have been collected statewide.

In addition to drumMUSTER, ChemClear provides Australian agricultural and veterinary chemical users with a collection and disposal pathway for their unwanted chemicals.

Since entering the agricultural waste sector in 2003, the program has collected more than 426,000 litres of hazardous chemicals. Of this, 20,000 litres has been collected in Tasmania.

Increasingly, consumers throughout Australia and around the world are demanding that all produce they purchase comes from quality producers who meet all the necessary food standard requirements.

The drumMUSTER and ChemClear programs are ideally set up to meet chemical user requirements for quality assurance (QA) programs such as Freshcare. By utilising the services of each initiative, chemical users are provided with documentation that demonstrates they are meeting their responsibilities for on-farm waste management of chemicals and used containers.

“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,” said Tasmanian regional consultant Andrew Winkler.

But drumMUSTER and ChemClear are more than just a tick in the box for QA. They represent a firm commitment from local businesses to doing the right thing for the safety and reputation of their customers, their community and their staff.

drumMUSTER National Program Manager Allan McGann said chemical users should take advantage of both programs to satisfy their QA auditors.

“Using programs like drumMUSTER and ChemClear not only show you’re meeting the requirements of QA programs, but you’re also preventing waste from ending up in the wrong place,” he said.

Under the drumMUSTER program, users are required to make sure containers are empty, rinsed clean and dried before returning them to a collection site. Once collected, the containers are shredded and transformed into practical items such as plastic cable covers, wheelie bins, road signs and bollards.

Chemicals collected are used as an alternative fuel source in the manufacturing of cement. Most of the material is destroyed in kilns which reach temperatures in excess of 1800°C.