Agricultural waste is defined as unwanted waste produced as a result of agricultural activities, which includes organic waste (e.g. manure, silage etc.), plastic waste (e.g. mulch film, pesticide bottle, etc.) and other wastes (e.g. hazardous waste from using fertilizers and pesticides)
The raising of crops and feeding of animals in agricultural activities generate organic wastes such as straw, livestock manures, etc… China, with its fast development of agricultural industry, highlighted the sound disposal and utilization of the intensive livestock manure, following an “eco-model”, where livestock feces are used for value-adding biogas production or remade to organic fertilizer which benefits both environmentally and economically.
Mulch film is used in agriculture for soil warming, improving moisture retention, suppressing weeding and shortening the growth cycle of crops. At present, China is the world’s largest country in the amount of mulch film used with approx. 1.5 million tons. Despite the positive economic effect, the used film also generates large amounts of plastic waste due to its short lifecycle. With the remained film on fields, destroying the soil structure, hindering the transmission of water and fertilizer, and affecting machinery operation. Moreover, the pollution with mulch film residues leads to a significant reduction of crop yields and endangers the health of livestock and humans. Besides the potential environmental risk generated by plastic mulch film, concerns on other plastic waste in agriculture such as rice-raising plate, pesticide bottle, etc., are also rising and calling for actions to diminish the environmental risk of plastic waste to the agriculture.