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The regional heterogeneity of household recycling: a spatial-econometric analysis of Swedish plastic packing waste

Olle Hage, Krister Sandberg, Patrik Söderholm () and Christer Berglund
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Olle Hage: Luleå University of Technology
Krister Sandberg: Transport Analysis
Christer Berglund: Vattenfall Distribution AB

Letters in Spatial and Resource Sciences, 2018, vol. 11, issue 3, No 2, 245-267

Abstract: Abstract Environmental policy is often formulated at the national level, but the primary responsibilities for policy implementation, monitoring and compliance are often assigned to local actors (e.g., municipalities). This paper investigates the regional heterogeneity of household plastic waste collection among Swedish municipalities, and how collection rates have been influenced by local waste management policies, geographical conditions and socio-economic characteristics. This is achieved by employing spatial econometric methods and cross-sectional data for 282 Swedish municipalities. The results confirm the presence of spatial correlation. Furthermore, municipalities that employ weight-based waste management fees generally experience higher collection rates. The presence of curbside recycling and a high intensity of recycling drop-off stations, i.e., policy measures that help improve the infrastructural conditions for household recycling, also help explain why some municipalities perform better than others. However, the correlations between packaging waste collection and a number of important regional cost variables, such as the distance to the recycling industry, urbanization rate and population density, turn out both statistically and economically insignificant. An important explanation for this could be that the Swedish producer responsibility scheme has offered regionally differentiated (and fixed) monetary compensations to local collection entrepreneurs, and these have typically been higher in high-cost regions. This implies that plastic packaging waste collection in Sweden has been performed in a spatially cost-ineffective manner.

Keywords: Household recycling; Regional heterogeneity; Plastic packaging waste; Waste management; Cost effectiveness; Spatial econometrics (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C21 Q58 R11 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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DOI: 10.1007/s12076-017-0200-3

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