Australia’s longest running agricultural waste management program recently celebrated a significant milestone. The 5 millionth agvet chemical container was collected for recycling by community groups through their local collections.
Agsafe’s drumMUSTER program, which began in 1999, is an end-of-life product stewardship program that has already saved councils an impressive $35 million in landfill costs, by diverting eligible, empty containers to recycling schemes.
It is only through collaborative efforts that Australia’s oldest product stewardship program continues its success, with over 800 collection sites operated by 360 councils and 144 community groups nationwide. To date over 36 million containers have been collected. This equates to over 42,000 tonnes of plastic that has been diverted from landfill or saved from being buried or burnt on farms.
The community groups that are part of the program range from local sports clubs, through to school groups and other groups such as the local Lions clubs. By participating in the drumMUSTER program, community groups raise funds for their local organisations and clubs by inspecting the containers before they are collected by a processor for recycling. Since the program begun, over $1.2 million has been raised by community groups through their local drum collections.
Clare State School Principal, Troy Patti says the program has been a great success for their school. “The Clare State School P&C Association has been involved with the DrumMUSTER for a number of years now. During this time, the funds raised by the DrumMUSTER have helped our P&C keep our schools’ IT resources up to date by purchasing iPads, laptops, desktops and a 3D printer. This resourcing now means that all of our students have their own laptop. The DrumMUSTER is now our most consistent and biggest yearly fundraiser”.
Andrew Maddern of the Kaniva Cricket Club in Victoria runs the program for their area. “People understand that by working with drumMUSTER we help farmers keep their farms clean and seeing what we’ve achieved, the club wants to keep collecting.”
Agsafe General Manager, Dominique Doyle praised the milestone. “Community groups that participate in drumMUSTER are integral to the success of the program in regional communities. They know the local community and understand the importance of a safe disposal container scheme for the farmers in their area. This significant milestone is a testament to not only the environmental credentials of the farming community in Australia, but to the advocacy of the community groups that run the program”.