Environment and recycling

Yara is committed to environmental sustainability and endeavour to promote industry leading standards. Yara Australia is a partner of Farm Waste Recovery program and drumMuster, the leading industry recycling programs to reduce farm waste.

Fertilisers do not harm the environment when they are applied correctly, but wrong application may cause runoff into waterways that increases uncontrolled growth of algae and contributes to eutrophication.

Wherever possible, fertilisers should be stored at least 10 meters away from a watercourse or field drain and well away (e.g. 50 meters) from a borehole, well etc. The correct use of spreading machines and proper disposal of spillage and bags will prevent run-off. Yara recommendations include advice on when to apply the fertiliser to maximize the plants uptake, thus reducing losses to the environment.


Farm Waste Recovery program

Farm Waste Recovery logo

Since 2015, Farm Waste Recovery program has been facilitating the collection and processing of plastic waste generated on farms in Australia each year.

It is estimated that more than 80,000 tonnes of polypropylene and polyethylene bags are delivered to Australian farms each year. These include 10 million bulk bags and 200 million sacks used in the fertiliser and stockfeed sectors.  The vast majority of these bags are illegally burned on-farm or ends up in landfill.

Working in partnership with manufacturers, industry associations and local councils, Farm Waste Recovery aims to recover as much of this waste as possible.

Since the program was established, 3,463,621kg of plastic was recovered.  (Source: Farm Waste Recovery, November 2020)

Yara Australia is a partner of Farm Waste Recovery program.  Recycling is simple, easy and free. 

Supply your Yara fertiliser bags rolled, stacked, strapped or stuffed inside each other.  Drop your bags off at your local council depots or resellers.  Please check with your local councils or resellers if they are participating in the program.  If you have significant volumes (upwards of 200 bags), Farm Waste Recovery will collect directly from the farm.

Further information: https://farmwasterecovery.com/



drumMuster logo

drumMuster is the national program for the collection and recycling of eligible non-returnable crop production and animal health product chemical containers from manufacturers participating in the Industry Waste Reduction Scheme (IWRS).

drumMuster is the only responsible way for disposal of farm chemical containers. By using the program, chemical users are limiting farm risk and environmental risk.

Since the program began in Gunnedah in May 1999, drumMuster has:

  • Held 66,493 collections nationwide
  • Resulting in the collection of 36,2630.37 chemical containers
  • Equating to 40,622 tons of material diverted from landfill
  • At 837 collection sites nationwide 

(Source: drumMuster 30 October 2020)

Yara Australia is a partner of drumMuster.  All YaraVita 10 litre drums are accepted at drumMuster collection sites. 

Further information: http://www.drummuster.org.au/


Fertiliser bag quality

The bags protect against humidity and mechanical stresses. They are made of polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), paper or combinations of these materials are available (valve bags, fully “open” bags for melt sealing and stitching). Bags are made after given specifications: 

  • Weight of paper, layers of paper 
  • Thickness of plastic foil (PE) 
  • Fabric weight (woven PP) 
  • Strength and elongation 
  • Dimension 
  • Additives like UV-stabilizers


Recycling of fertiliser packaging

Bags should be emptied by shaking to remove as much of the content as possible. Empty bags may be disposed of as non-hazardous material or returned for recycling. In tests, bags emptied in this manner show only traces of residues and are considered non-hazardous. There are national guidelines that need to be followed regarding the recycling of packaging materials. Typical points to consider are:

  • Minimize the amount of waste packaging by using a pack size appropriate to the quantity of product required. 
  • Do not reuse empty packaging (bags) for refilling with fertiliser. 
  • Empty, triple rinse and drain all liquid product containers; dispose of rinse water safely, preferably into the spray tank at the time of use. 
  • Fully empty out powder packaging. 
  • Segregate the emptied packaging material according to its type.

Recycling of Fertilizer PackagingLook for the appropriate symbols when recycling: 

2: HDPE: High-Density Polyethylene 
HDPE is slightly waxy and semi-rigid. It does not crack. It floats in water. 

4: LDPE: Low-Density Polyethylene 
LDPE is used in flexible bags. Recycled LDPE is often used to make grocery bags. 

5: PP: Polypropylene 
PP stretches into filaments and emits a chemical smell when burned.

Defective fertiliser must be disposed in a secure matter as well. Even if it cannot be suitable for distribution with fertiliser application, it still contains valuable nutrients. Therefore, make sure that it is collected and used in the recommended way. If it cannot be used it should be treated as hazardous waste.