Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

Senator the Hon Don Farrell

Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water

Senator the Hon Joe Ludwig

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

20 million chemical drums collected by drumMuster

Media release
21 September 2012

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, and Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, Senator Don Farrell, have congratulated the drumMuster program on the collection of 20 million agvet chemical drums for recycling purposes.

Minister Ludwig said the program has seen more than 25,000 tonnes of waste avoiding landfill sites and instead recycled for other uses.

"The drumMuster program has become one of the most successful farm recycling programs in Australia's agricultural history," Minister Ludwig said.

"By collecting and recycling agvet chemical containers from our farmers, the program has provided a safe and smart way to dispose of such chemicals.

"A lot of farmers have already adopted drumMuster as part of their current work routines and I look forward to seeing the program continue to grow into the future."

Established in 1998, drumMuster now has 762 sites across Australia collecting and recycling clean, eligible, non-returnable crop production and on-farm animal health chemical containers. The chemicals are usually baled, mulched and made into new items like plastic garden stakes, cable covers or new wheelie bins.

The program also provides support for families with children suffering from cancer or other life threatening diseases in the Riverina region, with the children's charity Country Hope in Wagga receiving 25 cents for each drum inspected through their work with the program.

Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, Senator Don Farrell, said the milestone is reflective of the efforts of thousands of people working in councils, community groups, charities and other stakeholder groups.

"drumMuster is the single biggest environmental program ever undertaken jointly by farmers, end chemical users, local government and the crop production and animal health industries," Senator Farrell said.

"drumMuster's action embodies the ideals of the Australian Government's Product Stewardship Act 2011, which provides a framework to help ensure we all share responsibility for the products we consume. Through this, we have seen drumMuster grow from an idea into an effective program for farmers to appropriately dispose of their chemicals while contributing to a safer and healthier environment."

Voluntary product stewardship activities can be accredited to provide recognition and encouragement, and to give certainty to the community about "green" claims made by industry. Implementation of a voluntary accreditation framework under the Act is scheduled for early 2013.

Further information is available on the drumMuster website