Main content area

An institutional approach to manure recycling: Conduit brokerage in Sichuan Province, China

Bluemling, Bettina, Wang, Fang
Resources, conservation, and recycling 2018 v.139 pp. 396-406
animal manure management, animal manures, bioenergy, circular economy, farms, food waste, issues and policy, livestock, meat production, organic fertilizers, pollution, pollution control, recycling, China
With increases in living standards and dietary changes, the livestock sector has grown rapidly worldwide, which has led to considerable environmental pollution through livestock manure. Particularly in East Asia, meat production has increased fast. While part of the problem can be resolved by further processing manure into commercial organic fertilizer, technological solutions do face their limits in dealing with high pollution loads at farms. There is hence urgent need for policy instruments that could help mitigate environmental pollution. However, not much is known about related policy initiatives. This paper introduces a cooperative in Sichuan Province, China, which connects livestock farms to crop farms that are willing to use livestock breeders’ manure on their land. As no frameworks exist which could aid the analysis of such a cooperative, we develop a framework based on the concept of “brokerage”. Our analysis shows that for the case of Qionglai, structural conditions are favourable to the cooperative closing the nutrient cycle by means of brokerage. However, as our analysis shows, constraints to the cooperative’s effectiveness foremost come from its daily operations. Within the given institutional structure, further qualitative improvements should be undertaken in terms of manure processing and manure management. The application of the framework to manure recycling shows that the framework and brokerage in general are useful analytical concepts for the circular economy. We conclude that the framework could also be applied to other fields of the circular economy, like food waste or bioenergy.