Farm waste

Running a farm can produce lots of different kinds of waste. Some of the most common types can cause headaches for farmers wanting to dispose of them properly.

There are now some product stewardship schemes available to help you recycle bale wrap, safely dispose of agrichemicals and recover agrichemical containers. These programmes provide a better way to deal with common farm wastes than burying or burning them.

General factsheets

Below is a list of common types of farm wastes and ways to deal with them, so they will have minimal impact on the environment.

​Waste materialDisposal options​
Baleage wrap

Plasback provides a programme to recycle baleage wrap and other farm plastics. Agpac's Bin and Liner system is designed to cut down on the contamination, keep your farm tidy and to make the collection easier and more efficient. To find out more information visit their website, or freephone Plasback Ltd on 0508 338 240.

Southland DisAbility Enterprises at 28 Ettrick Street, Invercargill takes all plastics for free, including baleage wrap. Wrap needs to be reasonably clean and dropped off to the centre during business hours. Phone 03 214 6188 for more information.

NOTE: Southland DisAbility Enterprises has put a temporary hold on accepting any baleage wrap for recycling, while overseas markets are unavailable. Baleage wrap can be recycled  through Plasback or stored clean in bulk on site until further options are available. Burning baleage wrap is prohibited.​

AgrichemicalsAgrecovery Chemicals now offers a safe, effective and accessible national collection and disposal system for unwanted chemicals in agriculture. For more information on how it works visit their website to find out more.
Chemical containers

The Agrecovery Container Recycling Programme recovers agrichemical and animal health plastic containers. Farmers, growers and contractors can take eligible, triple-rinsed containers from 1 to 60 litres to Agrecovery collection sites that are located throughout New Zealand. Agrecovery then collects the plastic containers and delivers them to a New Zealand plastics recycling company. For more information visit their website

Southland DisAbility Enterprises at 28 Ettrick Street, Invercargill will take agrichemical containers for recycling, including blue drums. Containers should be triple-rinsed and dropped off to the centre during business hours or call 03 214 6188 to arrange a time.

OtherFor any other types of waste, check out the Orange Pages to see where you can take your waste or how to recycle it -

Current rules

Environment Southland has some rules relating to the on-farm disposal of wastes derived from production land. View the Regional Water Plan to find out what rules apply. It is important to remember that farm landfills may not contain any hazardous substances, sludge, oil, chemical containers with chemical residues or any offal. This plan is under review and it is likely these rules might change, so check back soon for more updates.

Dust on roads

Dust from gravel roads pollutes the air, reduces visibility and road safety; aggravates respiratory conditions; and is a general nuisance on private property. To help keep the air clean, many Southlanders use a dust suppressant and plant trees (on their property) to screen their homes from the road.

To find out more about current regulations for applying dust suppressants, please call us on 0800 76 88 45.

Petrol and diesel

Petrol and diesel are hazardous substances that can cause harm to the environment, stock and the health of your family if not stored and used appropriately.  If not maintained and checked, storage tanks can leak fuel into the ground, groundwater or waterways.  If that happens, drinking water, stock water and water for irrigation is at risk from poisoning.  

You must be compliant with the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act 1996.  If you have more than 50 litres of petrol (not including what is in you car) or have an underground storage tank of any size or an above ground tank greater than 5000 litres then you will need find out whether you comply with the HSNO Act requirements for petrol and diesel storage on farms.  Visit the EPA website.

You probably don't need to be an Approved Handler for farm fuel storage and use.  However, you must be properly trained on the hazards of petrol, its safe use and handling, and how to manage a spill or other emergency.

​Storing petrol, diesel and oil on farms 

Petrol, diesel and oil are the most common hazardous substances we encounter.  These substances fuel our vehicles, homes and businesses.  If these substances are stored, handled or disposed of inappropriately, it can be a hazard to our health and environment. 

Unlabelled or badly stored fuels and oil could be mistaken for drinks or toys by small children and pets. Badly stored and disposed fuels and oil can contaminate our soils, air and water. In Southland, large quantities of water are taken from rivers and groundwater for use as drinking water or for irrigation. Contamination can make the water unfit for these purposes.


Oil is one of the most common causes of water pollution. Because of the way it spreads in water even a small quantity can cause a lot of harm. One litre of oil can cover 100 m2 of water.

Oil forms a film on the surface of rivers and lakes. This can reduce the level of oxygen in the water, making it difficult for fish to breathe. It can also coat plants and animals that come into contact with it.

Most farms will have small quantities of engine oil stored in sheds.  It is important that oil used or stored is managed carefully as mismanagement can cause harm to the environment and human health.

Tips on preventing oil pollution on the farm

  • When you drain your engine oil put a drip pan beneath the vehicle or machine's oil pan.
  • Make sure any oil stored around your farm is labelled correctly.
  • Store oil on an impermeable surface such as concrete, and store away from drains.
  • Check containers regularly to ensure they aren't leaking.
  • If you spill oil, stop it from entering drains by absorbing it with sand or sawdust. Never hose it down a drain.
  • Clean up spills immediately.
  • If you have oil-fired heating, ensure that your oil tank and pipes are properly installed and regularly checked for leaks. 
Page reviewed: 08 Mar 2019 11:17am