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Wasted waste: An evolutionary perspective on industrial by-products

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  • Kronenberg, Jakub
  • Winkler, Ralph

Abstract

Every production process gives rise to unintended outputs. We argue that whether an output is desired or undesired, is not given per se, but depends on the economic circumstances which change over time. As a result, by-products of one industry, first perceived as non-marketable wastes, may become desired inputs into other production processes. By adopting an evolutionary perspective on economic dynamics, in particular by exploiting the concept of niche exclusion, we identify favorable circumstances for undesired outputs to become marketable. To cope with the pace and unpredictability of economic evolution, we argue for a flexible policy system which favors outcome- over process-oriented waste management policies and balances the responsibility between consumers and producers on the one side, and the society as a whole on the other side.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

Volume (Year): 68 (2009)
Issue (Month): 12 (October)
Pages: 3026-3033

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:68:y:2009:i:12:p:3026-3033

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

Related research

Keywords: Waste management By-products Pollution Niche Outcome-oriented policy Evolutionary perspective;

References

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  1. Rammel, Christian & van den Bergh, Jeroen C. J. M., 2003. "Evolutionary policies for sustainable development: adaptive flexibility and risk minimising," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2-3), pages 121-133, December.
  2. Jeroen C.J.M. van den Bergh, 2007. "Evolutionary Thinking in Environmental Economics," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 07-018/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  3. Baumgartner, Stefan & Winkler, Ralph, 2003. "Markets, technology and environmental regulation: price ambivalence of waste paper in Germany," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2-3), pages 183-195, December.
  4. Ayres, Robert U & Kneese, Allen V, 1969. "Production , Consumption, and Externalities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(3), pages 282-97, June.
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  6. Anonymous, 2006. "Editorial Information," Journal of Food Distribution Research, Food Distribution Research Society, vol. 37(01), March.
  7. Richard R. Nelson, 1995. "Recent Evolutionary Theorizing about Economic Change," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(1), pages 48-90, March.
  8. Anonymous, 2006. "Editorial Board," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 35(1), April.
  9. Smith, Vernon L, 1972. "Dynamics of Waste Accumulation: Disposal Versus Recycling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 86(4), pages 600-616, November.
  10. C. G. Plourde, 1972. "A Model of Waste Accumulation and Disposal," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 5(1), pages 119-25, February.
  11. Noel, Michael, 1978. "Resource extraction and recycling with environmental costs," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 220-235, September.
  12. Michael E. Porter & Claas van der Linde, 1995. "Toward a New Conception of the Environment-Competitiveness Relationship," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 97-118, Fall.
  13. Anonymous, 2006. "Editorial Board," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 35(2), October.
  14. Ayres, Robert U., 2004. "On the life cycle metaphor: where ecology and economics diverge," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 425-438, April.
  15. Anni Huhtala, 1997. "A Post-Consumer Waste Management Model for Determining Optimal Levels of Recycling and Landfilling," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 10(3), pages 301-314, October.
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