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Environment and circular economy transition in China


Improving plastic management in agriculture in Lanzhou

Background and objectives

Mulch film is widely used in modern agriculture providing a number of benefits for crop growth and yields. At present, China is the world’s largest country in the amount of mulch film used with approx. 1.5 million tons annually. However, only 40% of the used mulch film are collected from fields. The residual film discarded in the farmland has caused serious “white pollution” in Chinese agriculture, which adversely affects the crop yields. The Sino-German Project for Upgrading Plastics Management in Agriculture seeks to improve the management of plastic mulch film in China by enhancing the recycling efficiency of PE mulch film and promoting the utilization of biodegradable mulch film.
Dingxi city is located in the typical semi-arid and arid farming area. Hence, mulch film plays an indispensable role of moisture conservation for agriculture activities, the majority of which being PE (Polyethylene) mulch film. The project aims at application of digital tracking system for PE mulch film for corn production in Dingxi city, with a demonstration area of 500 mu (ca. 33 ha), in order to not only achieve a data-based monitoring and closed-loop management of mulch film along the whole value chain, but also improve the recycling efficiency of PE mulch film.

Project approach & progress

  • At Nov. 18th, 2020 the Sino-German Project for Upgrading Plastics Management in Agriculture was officially launched at its kick-off workshop in Beijing.
  • A digital tracking system will be developed to collect and record the production information, sales route of the film (information about producer, retailer and user) as well as the recycling-friendly recipe of PE mulch film.
  • The application of the tracked PE mulch film will be piloted from March 2021, where the PE mulch film will be monitored, collected and recycled. Additionally, an EPR scheme is to be explored and the policy recommendations will be submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.
  • The compositions of the collected PE mulch film will be analyzed. Various technological solutions will be provided in order to enhance the recycling outputs. A technical roadmap for PE mulch film recycling will be developed for the whole sector.
  • The influencing parameters for the recyclability of PE mulch film, as well as the economic balance of the recycling will also be investigated.
  • Awareness raising and capacity building activities will be organized geared towards policy makers, enterprises producing and/or recycling of mulch film as well as farmers, with the topics of mulch film collection mechanisms, management and recycling.

Contact person


Ms. HOU Jingyue
Project Manager

Sino-German Project for Upgrading Plastics Management in Agriculture

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Implemented by

In Cooperation with