Spray-pack pressure as Burning Ban Looms:By Mike Abram

FARM WASTE legislation will see growers urging suppliers to change pesticide packaging, a closed-transfer system maker claims.

“Pesticides are not being supplied in the right mode to help growers,” says Richard Garnett of Wisdom Systems.

Burning pesticide containers could be banned as soon as next April and growers are reacting by wanting returnables, Mr Garnett suggests.

 “It is time for change. Already in Germany, where more products are available, growers are voting with their cheque books.”

Farmcare’s resource manager David Watson confirms the desire for change. “We are keen to get more chemicals in returnable packs, as well as using more WDG formulations. It is all part of our target to reduce packaging waste by 20% year on year.”

Glyphosate, Panther (diflufenican + isoproturon), and some potato products have all been supplied in multi-trip containers, but distributors are not keen on collecting them, and manufacturers must get their act together a bit more, he says.

“This is their problem, even if they don”t think so. We have probably got from now until some time in 2006 [assuming there is a 12 month derogation on burning] to get something sorted on the waste issue.”

No Single Solution

 But there is no single solution to the problem. “Returnables are not a great option for growers in remote areas,” Mr Watson admits.

Multi-trip containers are best suited for bulky, high volume active ingredients, agrees Mr Garnett.

“They will never fit all products. But it is time to change. Not only do they reduce packaging waste, but they are easier to use, and reduce operator exposure.”

His view is backed by CSL research.

In limited field studies the average hand contamination from pouring 3 or 5-litre containers into an induction hopper is 0.44ml, compared with just 0.15ml from a 25-litre closed-transfer system, notes Richard Glass.

A closed-transfer system is quicker because there is no rinsing time, adds Mr Garnett.

“Growers could do at least two spray loads more a day using 200-litre refillable containers, which could be worth an extra 380-500 a day to a contractor.”

Returnable Containers

  • Waste legislation prompt
  • More grower demand
  • Cleaner and faster
  • Distributor reluctance