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Pesticide Packaging Disposal and Reclamation (2013)

JIN Shuqin, Research Center for Rural Economy (Small Grant 2013)

Throughout rural China, farmers often discard empty pesticide packaging in fields or nearby bodies of water, a practice that can cause serious environmental pollution and health problems. And although China is the largest consumer of pesticides in the world, research on the management of and policies regarding pesticide packaging waste is sorely lacking.

This project had two aims: to summarize the international experience regarding the recycling of pesticide packaging, and to conduct an investigation of the actual practices in Shanghai and Guangxi. In both the developed (Shanghai) and underdeveloped (Guangxi) sites, the local governments’ support was one crucial factor in the success of recycling programs. Because of the disparities in development level and economic vitality, the actual methods of recycling also differed dramatically between research areas. In Shanghai, the government directly participated in and funded recycling programs. In Guangxi, industry played the main role while the government provided support and encouragement through official documents and planning. Each of these two different modes of operation has its own significance to developed and underdeveloped regions of China.
The researchers also conducted interviews with the relevant government departments and industries in both Shanghai and Guangxi. Farmers in Guangxi completed a questionnaire regarding pesticide packing waste, which provided firsthand data for the study. In areas where pesticide packaging was recycled after use, it was found that farmers’ households had a greater concern for, awareness of, and knowledge about environmental problems. The study also proposed a number of suggestions based on an analysis of current handling practices of pesticide packaging waste: strengthening pesticide manufacturers’ social responsibility, through measures such as implementing public recycling programs for pesticide surplus and packaging; improving oversight of packaging standards; establishing a cooperative of specialists for environmental protection and a company to facilitate recycling among farmers; and reforming the standard practice of incinerating pesticide packaging after use.

For more information regarding the project, or to obtain a complete version of the final report, please contact JIN Shuqin at