Farm Waste

Waste is any material that is unwanted and unvalued and discarded by its owner. Common waste materials found on farms include: plastic wrap, baling twine, plastic chemical containers, feed and fertiliser bags, paper and cardboard, machinery, motors, electrical parts, fencing, railing, corrugated iron, vehicle batteries, household rubbish (furniture, appliances, food waste), paints, glass, rubber, piping and fittings, timber, concrete, engine and hydraulic oil, dead livestock and animal medicines.

Waste disposal on Farms

Typically farmers will use more than one method to dispose of their waste. Common waste disposal options on farms include burning, burying, skip, wheelie bin or dumping into a gully.   How farmers get rid of their rubbish depends on a number of factors – proximity of off-farm options (collection, transfer station), waste material to be disposed, farm size, age and attitude of farmer and farming and farm management type.


What is the impact of on-farm waste disposal?

Burning rubbish is common waste disposal method for both domestic rubbish and farm rubbish.  What you burn, how you burn and when you burn are all likely to have effects on the environment as burning waste releases hazardous and toxic substances into the air and leaves a concentrated ashy residue that requires further treatment and disposal.   The smoke can affect people’s health and can also be a nuisance affecting roof water supplies, soiling surfaces and washing and blemishing crops.    On-farm rubbish dumps cause environmental problems through leachate and poor siting.

Burying waste produces leachate when percolating water and other liquids pick up heavy metals and decomposing organic waste.  Uncollected leachate can contaminate our water and soil.  

Contact Environment Southland to check how and what you can (and can’t) burn and/or bury in the region.  


What are the benefits to a farm of reducing waste?

Waste does not have to be wasted.  Waste minimisation is about efficiently using your resources to prevent waste from being created.  By reusing, recycling and especially reducing the amount of rubbish made, we can make a difference and protect our environment, reduce pollution and use less energy. 

  • Reduced costs through efficient processes and purchasing
  • Reduced pollution by no longer burying or burning rubbish
  • Environmental benefits – reduced energy consumption, conservation of natural resources, extension of landfill capacity
  • Demonstrate social responsibility and environmental awareness
  • Protecting the environment for present and future generations

Further Information