Journal of Pollution Effects & Control

Journal of Pollution Effects & Control
Open Access

ISSN: 2375-4397

+44 1223 790975


Recycling on Semi-subsistence Farms: Household vs. Farm Factors

Qian Bi, Zandi Chen and Steven Buccola

As with food production, waste management on semi-subsistent farms is a joint outcome of household-specific and farm-specific resources. It is useful therefore to analyze waste-disposal decisions with this jointness in mind. We do so here with a sample of Chinese farms. Attention is given to five distinct types of waste: packaging materials, manure, wastewater, plastic mulch, and straw. We find farm recycling to intensify as household cash income, farm manager’s age and education, and farm workforce size expand. Recycling declines however as the number of dependents and farm cultivable area enlarge. Put differently, waste management improves as the family’s labor and capital resources grow, but deteriorate if landholdings expand while capital and labor resources do not. The small family farm’s recycling behavior, in short, appears to be entirely rational. Specifically household and specifically farm factors are each important to the capital and labor mix that promotes recycling. In the aggregate, a one-percent variation in the principal household factors induces an average 0.35 percent change in recycling activity, while a one-percent variation in the principal farm factors induces an average 0.18 percent change. Assuming continued economic development, we find reason to be moderately optimistic about the future of small-farm waste disposal.