8 August 2023
Representatives from Australia’s leading agricultural input industries have today gathered in Gatton, QLD to launch the pilot of bagMUSTER®, an initiative of CropLife Australia in partnership with the Australian Seed Federation. bagMUSTER® is Australia’s first industry-led collection and recycling pathway for plastic agricultural input bags, like those farmers use for seed and pelletised pesticide. The bagMUSTER® program plays a critical role in enabling Australia’s transition to a more circular economy.
“Today represents a significant step forward in addressing the critical issue of soft plastic waste for Australia’s farming sector. With our combined commitment to responsible stewardship of plastic agricultural input bags and support for achieving sustainable farming, bagMUSTER® is specifically developed by industry for industry,” said Chief Executive Officer of CropLife Australia, the national peak industry organisation for the plant science sector, Mr Matthew Cossey.
“We’ve taken our time to get it right and Australian agriculture can trust that we know what we’re doing. From over 25 years of experience in delivering drumMUSTER®, CropLife, our members and our stewardship organisation Agsafe know how to ensure that bagMUSTER® isa long-term viable solution for Australian ag.
“By providing farmers and growers with accessible collection points and ensuring bags are recycled and repurposed responsibly here in Australia by Australian processors, we’re making further significant inroads towards a genuine circular economy for our products packaging and containers. These initiatives are crucial to ensuring Australian farming continues to lead the way in sustainable agriculture practices,” said Mr Cossey.
The strategic partnership between CropLife and the Australian Seed Federation was established in November 2021 to establish genuine and environmentally friendly collection and recycling pathways for their industry’s product packaging.
“The seed industry shares this deep commitment to making a positive environmental impact,” said Katherine Delbridge, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Seed Federation.
“Our partnership with CropLife in delivering bagMUSTER® allows our members to not only fulfill their commitments under the Australian Packaging Covenant, but also demonstrate their leadership and action in supporting Australia’s efforts to addressing the Recycling and Waste Reduction Act 2020.”
Developed as a refined hybrid program of CropLife’s existing industry stewardship initiatives drumMUSTER® and ChemClear®, bagMUSTER® has the potential to establish over 800 collection points across Australia over the coming years. CropLife and Agsafe have already invested significant resources to get the program to this stage.
Today’s trial was operated by the bagMUSTER® service provider Agsafe.
“The pilot trial will help us test and refine logistics, collection infrastructure, industry engagement and collective partnerships to ensure bagMUSTER® is fit-for-purpose prior to national expansion,” said Dominique Doyle, General Manager of Agsafe.
“With our experience delivering CropLife’s existing stewardship programs, Agsafe are well placed and are proud to continue the plant science sector’s legacy in delivering sustainable whole-of-lifecycle stewardship initiatives.”
Mr Cossey concluded, “Critical to futureproofing the program, once fully implemented, bagMUSTER® will be an industry-funded model enabled through collaboration with agriculture retail stores, bag suppliers, brand owners, farming associations and local governments. bagMUSTER® will not be funded through a farmer levy and so costs to the agricultural sector will be minimised.”
bagMUSTER® is part of CropLife’s StewardshipFirst suite of industry-led product stewardship initiatives.
For more information about the bagMUSTER program and how to get involved, visit www.bagmuster.org.au
Full set of images from the bagMUSTER® pilot launch can be found here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ny6ggz5ktkgiiwy/AADdytzJb4HTkl9LwmZGmji4a?dl=0