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Analysing future solid waste generation - Soft linking a model of waste management with a CGE-model for Sweden

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Author Info

  • Östblom, Göran

    (National Institute of Economic Research)

  • Ljunggren Söderman, Maria

    ()
    (Swedish Environmental Research Institute)

  • Sjöström, Magnus

    (National Institute of Economic Research)

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    Abstract

    Parallel to the efforts of the EU to achieve a significant and overall reduction of waste quantities within the EU, the Swedish parliament enacted an environmental quality objective stating that ‘the total quantity of waste must not increase …’ i.e. an eventual absolute decoupling of waste generation from GDP. The decoupling issue is ad-dressed, in the present paper, by assessing future waste quantities, for a number of economic scenarios of the Swedish economy to 2030 with alternative assumptions about key factors affecting waste generation and waste management costs. We use an integrated top-down/bottom-up approach by linking a CGE-model of the Swedish economy with a systems engineering model of the Swedish waste management system. In this way, we can in more detail consider the interaction between waste generation and waste management costs (waste disposal prices) when assessing future waste quantities. A relative decoupling of waste generation takes place in all scenarios, i.e. total waste quantities increase at a lower rate than GDP. Absolute decoupling, which re-quire total waste quantities to stabilize or to reduce, does not take place in any of the scenarios. This means that the present Swedish Environmental quality objective of stabilizing waste quantities is not met in any of the scenarios with total waste genera-tion levels of 110 per cent up to nearly 200 per cent of that in 2006. The overall impression from our analysis is that costs are high for reducing waste generation irrespective of the type of waste reduced. In other words, the waste treat-ment costs are low compared to the costs for reducing waste. This situation also means that the use of policy instruments, which induce substitution by increasing the price of waste disposal services, will have very small reducing effects on the generation of all types of waste unless the price increase brings about an introduction of waste preventing techniques and affect households in the direction of a less waste intensive behaviour. For example, the policy instruments used must affect the pattern of household consumption pattern more directly, as a differentiation of the value added tax, rather than to be directed towards the waste management sector. Economic policy instruments introduced in the waste management sector are more likely to affect the choice of waste management solutions than prevent waste generation. Linking a macroeconomic and a systems engineering model for waste manage-ment, gives us a tool useful also for capturing the macroeconomic effects, such as GDP growth and structural changes, when designing policy instruments intended to prevent waste generation or take waste management in a more sustainable direction.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Institute of Economic Research in its series Working Paper with number 118.

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    Length: 54 pages
    Date of creation: May 2010
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:hhs:nierwp:0118

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    Phone: 46-(0)8-453 59 00
    Fax: 46-(0)8-453 59 80
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    Related research

    Keywords: general equilibrium model; systems engineering; solid waste; waste management; waste generation; decoupling; EMEC; NatWaste; top-down/bottom-up; waste policy instruments;

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    References

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    1. Huhtala, Anni & Samakovlis, Eva, 2003. "Green Accounting, Air Pollution and Health," Working Paper 82, National Institute of Economic Research.
    2. Gren, Ing-Marie, 2003. "Monetary Green Accounting and Ecosystem Services," Working Paper 86, National Institute of Economic Research.
    3. Barot, Bharat & Yang, Zan, 2002. "House Prices and Housing Investment in Sweden and the United Kingdom: Econometric Analysis for the Period 1970-1998," Working Paper 80, National Institute of Economic Research.
    4. Holmgren, Kristina & Gebremedhin, Alemayehu, 2004. "Modelling a district heating system: Introduction of waste incineration, policy instruments and co-operation with an industry," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(16), pages 1807-1817, November.
    5. Öller, Lars-Erik & Barot, Bharat, 1999. "Comparing the Accuracy of European GDP Forecasts," Working Paper 64, National Institute of Economic Research.
    6. Ahlroth, Sofia & Bjorklund, Anders & Forslund, Anders, 1997. "The Output of the Swedish Education Sector," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 43(1), pages 89-104, March.
    7. Nick Johnstone & Julien Labonne, 2004. "Generation of Household Solid Waste in OECD Countries: An Empirical Analysis Using Macroeconomic Data," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 80(4).
    8. Eriksson, Kimmo & Karlander, Johan & Öller, Lars-Erik, 1997. "Hierarchical Assignments: Stability and Fairness," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 201, Stockholm School of Economics.
    9. Massimiliano Mazzanti, 2007. "Is waste generation de-linking from economic growth? Empirical evidence for Europe," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(4), pages 287-291.
    10. Arai, Mahmood & Heyman, Fredrik, 2000. "Permanent and Temporary Labour: Job and Worker Flows in Sweden, 1989-1998," Working Paper 71, National Institute of Economic Research.
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