STIMBR – Stakeholders in methyl bromide reduction

The STIMBR programme aimed to reduce the use of methyl bromide as a fumigant for the treatment of exported forest and horticultural products.

Key facts

machine picking up logs

Programme start: September 2011 
Programme end: June 2014
Total programme cost: $2.65 million
Crown funding paid out: $1.18 million
Commercial partners: Stakeholders in Methyl Bromide Reduction Inc.


Programme outcomes

STIMBR programme outcomes included:

  • a nationwide monitoring protocol and reporting system to report annual methyl bromide use
  • a possible methyl bromide recapture/recycling technology that is a candidate for commercial development
  • proof of concept for Joule heating technology as a possible treatment method for high-value logs
  • industry momentum in seeking alternative treatments to methyl bromide, and the development of technology to reduce emissions.

STIMBR found there was no single alternative to methyl bromide. They continue to research cost-effective alternatives.   

Final programme reports

Background to the programme

Methyl bromide is a fumigant used for quarantine and phytosanitary treatment (treatment of plant products for pests).

In New Zealand, it's used to treat logs and other plant products being exported or imported.

Because it's an ozone-depleting substance, in 2010 the New Zealand Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) decided that by 2020 no methyl bromide would be released to the atmosphere. At the time, methyl bromide users predicted that if New Zealand didn't find alternative treatments, this requirement would:

  • negatively affect our exports
  • increase the risk of pests on imported products.

The STIMBR solution

The STIMBR programme aimed to:

  • find alternatives to methyl bromide treatment
  • improve fumigation safety
  • reduce methyl bromide emissions.

Audit and progress reports

Last reviewed: