Episode 20 – Treating rubbish as a resource

May 10, 2024In Podcasts3 Minutes

Waste takes many different forms onfarm, such as plastic packaging and chemical drums, and there are some great initiatives out there with an aim to give these resources another life – sometimes even back on the same farm!

So when it comes to the circular economy of recycling onfarm waste, it is about viewing it as a resource, rather than rubbish.

Guests include:

  1. Evan Maehl, Managing Director, WM New Zealand
  2. Greg Coppell, Founder, Repost
  3. Tony Wilson, Chief Executive, Agrecovery


  1. Rebecca Greaves, Editor, Country-Wide
  2. Sarah Perriam-Lampp, Managing Director, CountryWide Media


Managing Director of WM (formerly Waste Management) Evan Maehl says we need to think about what type of products are being produced, and how well they can be reused, to have a circular lifecycle. 

He says it’s important to look at what products we’re using onfarm, such as cardboard and certain types of plastic, which can be recycled; otherwise we are just creating more waste for future generations to deal with. 

Repost is an innovative business that recycles waste posts from the viticulture industry destined for landfill into low-cost, sustainable fence posts for farms. Farmer, and founder of Repost, Greg Coppell puts it down to his typical New Zealand farmer mentality of hating to see anything go to waste. He says the options for reusing onfarm waste are endless. 

Greg gives Rebecca an update on what’s next for Repost, including two nominations for the 2024 WasteMINZ Awards for Excellence, for their work with the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council following Cyclone Gabrielle last year. 

Tony Wilson, Chief Executive of Agrecovery, says in order to have a circular economy with waste, we need to improve what plastic can become. Agrecovery is a rural recycling programme and product stewardship scheme. With over 160 sites over New Zealand, they are a sustainable solution for recycling common plastics found on farms, such as containers, drums, and small seed, feed and fertiliser bags.

He explains the difference between product stewardship and recycling, and how most linear systems would just turn waste back into a single-life plastic bag. He asks what the point is of doing that when it only has one more use out of it, when for example, that same plastic could be turned into car parts, which would last at least a decade, and go on to be recycled again after that.


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