Roadmap to reducing agricultural waste

RD&A News | November 2021
12 Nov 2021
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A new ‘roadmap’ to establish sustainable methods for reducing and managing waste in Australia’s rural industries – including the wine sector – is underway.

The Pre-Farm Gate Waste Program aims to provide a collection of initiatives to prevent, eliminate, reduce or reuse waste generated from primary production.

Zero waste by 2050 is a target for the Australia wine sector and is supported in Wine Australia’s Strategic Plan. This new program will provide an important step in aligning waste metrics across the nation’s agricultural industries.

Led by research and development corporation AgriFutures Australia – and aligned with Australia’s agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors under the National Waste Program – projects under the program are being delivered by RMCG, Murrang Earth Sciences and UTS. Wine Australia is directly involved through the industry reference group for the program.

“Like all members of Australian agriculture, the wine sector needs to be responsible for effectively managing end-of-life products and re-thinking the design, reuse, recycling and disposal of current waste materials, with the ultimate goal of avoiding waste generation altogether,” said RMCG Principal Dr Anne-Maree Boland.

Dr Boland said the sector was already very proactive in waste management and was considered to be an industry leader in this space. 

There are clear examples of how the wine sector, is at the forefront of waste management. This includes working with compost and recycling drip line or tape after use.

Dr Boland’s top tips on how growers can ‘do their bit’ for waste management

 

Dr Boland said it is important for grape growers to take stock of the key areas of waste generation on their properties, including:

  • What products are being used and collected as waste at the moment?
  • Where are they stored and how are they collected?
  • Are there opportunities to reduce the amount and type of waste that is currently being generated?

“Think about how to make the best and most efficient use of your current resources and products. It might change the way you run your business or property, but it will be far more viable to invest in a product that can last for the long-term rather than replace it and send it to landfill in the short-term.  

“It is also worth partnering with a business that can recycle or reuse your current waste products, and working with them to ensure the material can be effectively processed,” Dr Boland said. 

The Pre-Farm Gate Waste Program encompasses five projects that will run until September 2022.

The program covers waste that occurs through the production and harvest process, prior to a product leaving the farm or being collected from its first producer point. This includes:

Hard and soft plastics

  • piping, irrigation and drainage
  • storage, trays and labels
  • nets and mesh
  • protective films, and
  • bagging, twine and ropes.

Workshop waste

  • hazardous (e.g. batteries), and
  • inert (e.g. scrap metal, rubber).

Organic waste

  • sludges
  • wood and timber
  • green waste
  • product loss
  • other by-products.

Want to get involved?

RMCG would like to hear from anyone who is invested in eliminating, reducing or repurposing waste in the wine sector. You can contribute by filling out this simple online expression of interest form.


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This content is restricted to wine exporters and levy-payers. Some reports are available for purchase to non-levy payers/exporters.