For several decades damaged vineyard posts have been stockpiling on headlands around the country. The cost of collecting and disposing of them in the prescribed manner has been prohibitive. Volunteers have initiated programs from time to time to collect and sort them into bundles of similar size and arrange transport to farmers outside the region who can use them, most often to replace fences following fire damage. There has been no meaningful programme developed to encourage producers or recyclers to grapple with the problem; so the posts have continued to accrue soon after harvest each year.
More recently, particularly following the SARMS program, additional large piles of homeless dripper tubes have been accumulating on the same headlands, alongside the discarded posts. The tubes are generally considered to have a useful life of 10 to 15 years so these piles will grow much larger if an affordable solution cannot be discovered. It is estimated there would already be tens of thousands of kilometres of tubes that have with the oldies being left under vine or dragged out and left as a home for millipedes, spiders, snakes, rats and lizards. Some growers have taken the trouble to recoil the tubes and donate them to recycling depots but the majority can’t afford the time and cost; so they just sit there and grow!
But wait…an enterprising small business entrepreneur; Uma Preston has established a recycling business that will rebate the grower for tubes returned, against the cost of new tubes. Sustaining Endeavour is the name of her business. She recently contacted Riverland Wine to explore opportunities. One of the major impediments has been the scarcity of ‘recoiling machines’ to make the job more cost effective and affordable. Riverland Wine has offered to work with Uma to secure funding to acquire several recoiling machines that members will be able to use so watch this space and consider the possibilities. In the meantime, visit the Sustaining Endeavour website and read how growers in other regions are already using the service.