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Burn or Bury? A Social Cost Comparison of Final Waste Disposal Methods

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Author Info

  • Elbert Dijkgraaf

    (Erasmus University Rotterdam and OCFEB, Rotterdam)

  • Herman R.J. Vollebergh

    (Erasmus University Rotterdam and OCFEB, Rotterdam)

Abstract

This paper uses private and environmental cost data for the Netherlands to evaluate the social cost of two final waste disposal methods, landfilling versus incineration using waste-to-energy (WTE) plants. The data only provide some support for the widespread policy preference for incineration over landfilling if the analysis is restricted to environmental costs alone. Private costs, however, are so much higher for incineration, that landfilling is the social cost minimizing option at the margin even in a densely populated country such as the Netherlands. Implications for waste policy are discussed as well. Proper treatment of and energy recovery from landfills seem to be the most important targets for waste policy. WTE plants are a very expensive way to save on climate change emissions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in its series Working Papers with number 2003.46.

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Date of creation: Apr 2003
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Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2003.46

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Keywords: Waste policy; Project evaluation; Incineration; Landfilling; Climate change;

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References

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  1. World Bank, 2002. "World Development Indicators 2002," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 13921.
  2. Miranda, Marie Lynn & Hale, Brack, 1997. "Waste not, want not: the private and social costs of waste-to-energy production," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 587-600, May.
  3. Vollebergh, Herman, 1997. "Environmental externalities and social optimality in biomass markets: waste-to-energy in The Netherlands and biofuels in France," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 605-621, May.
  4. Keeler Andrew G. & Renkow Mitch, 1994. "Haul Trash or Haul Ash: Energy Recovery as a Component of Local Solid Waste Management," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 205-217, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Valentina Iafolla & Massimiliano Mazzanti & Francesco Nicolli, 2010. "Are You SURE You Want to Waste Policy Chances? Waste Generation, Landfill Diversion and Environmental Policy Effectiveness in the EU15," Working Papers 2010.77, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  2. Valentina Iafolla & Massimiliano Mazzanti & Francesco Nicolli, 2010. "Rifiuti generati, rifiuti in discarica ed efficacia delle politiche ambientali in Europa," ECONOMICS AND POLICY OF ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 0(2), pages 103-135.
  3. Massimiliano Mazzanti & Anna Montini & Francesco Nicolli, 2011. "Embedding landfill diversion in economic, geographical and policy settings," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(24), pages 3299-3311.
  4. Rob F.T. Aalbers & Herman R.J. Vollebergh, 2005. "An Economic Analysis of Mixing Wastes," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 05-094/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  5. Massimiliano Mazzanti & Roberto Zoboli, 2008. "Waste Generation, Incineration and Landfill Diversion. De-coupling Trends, Socio-Economic Drivers and Policy Effectiveness in the EU," Working Papers 2008.94, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  6. Maarten A. Allers & Corine Hoeben, 2010. "Effects of Unit-Based Garbage Pricing: A Differences-in-Differences Approach," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 45(3), pages 405-428, March.
  7. Massimiliano Mazzanti & Anna Montini & Francesco Nicolli, 2008. "Embedding Landfill Diversion in Economic, Geographical and Policy Settings Panel based evidence from Italy," Working Papers 2008.71, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  8. Erik O'Donovan & Micheál L. Collins, 2011. "An Economic Evaluation of Incineration as a Residual Municipal Solid Waste Management Option in Ireland," Trinity Economics Papers tep1811, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
  9. Massimiliano Mazzanti & Roberto Zoboli, 2009. "Municipal Waste Kuznets Curves: Evidence on Socio-Economic Drivers and Policy Effectiveness from the EU," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 44(2), pages 203-230, October.
  10. Wagner, Jeffrey, 2011. "Incentivizing sustainable waste management," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(4), pages 585-594, February.
  11. Holmgren, Kristina & Amiri, Shahnaz, 2007. "Internalising external costs of electricity and heat production in a municipal energy system," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(10), pages 5242-5253, October.
  12. Massimiliano Mazzanti & Anna Montini & Francesco Nicolli, 2010. "Waste Generation and Landfill Diversion Dynamics: Decentralised Management and Spatial Effects," Working Papers 2010.27, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  13. Bonney, Maurice & Jaber, Mohamad Y., 2011. "Environmentally responsible inventory models: Non-classical models for a non-classical era," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 133(1), pages 43-53, September.

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