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Recycling and Waste Generation: An Estimate of the Source Reduction Effect of Recycling Programs

Giacomo Degli Antoni and Giuseppe Vittucci Marzetti ()

Ecological Economics, 2019, vol. 161, issue C, 321-329

Abstract: Recent analyses maintain that recycling in developed countries, being mostly the result of costly policies, may be already above its socially optimal level. These analyses in fact underestimate such level if increasing recycling not only reduces residual waste, but also total waste. We find that this is the case: a 10% increase in recycling rate is associated with a 1.5–2% decrease of total urban waste. This effect is largely attributable to curbside collection programs, whose adoption increases recycling rates by 8–14% and reduces waste generation by about 4%. This paper contributes to the literature on the relations between waste and recycling by providing estimates of the source reduction effect of recycling policies and pointing out the important role played in it by curbside collection programs.

Keywords: Environmental Policy; Waste Management; Waste Reduction; Socially Optimal Recycling Rate; Curbside Collection (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C23 D61 R11 Q53 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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