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Policy Watch: Examining the Justification for Residential Recycling

  • Thomas C. Kinnaman
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    There are 8,875 municipalities in the United States that have initiated curbside recycling programs over the past two decades to help reduce residential solid waste. Four thousand of these municipalities encourage recycling by requiring households to pay a fee for each unit of garbage presented at the curb for collection. How beneficial have the various recycling policies been in practice? This article examines the empirical lessons gained from twenty years of solid waste policy in the United States and argues for the replacement of several state recycling mandates with a moderate landfill tax.

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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.20.4.219
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    Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

    Volume (Year): 20 (2006)
    Issue (Month): 4 (Fall)
    Pages: 219-232

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    Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:20:y:2006:i:4:p:219-232
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.20.4.219
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    1. Don Fullerton & Thomas C. Kinnaman, 1994. "Household Responses for Pricing Garbage by the Bag," NBER Working Papers 4670, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Elbert Dijkgraaf & Raymond Gradus, 2004. "Cost savings of unit-based pricing of household waste: The case of the Netherlands," Public Economics 0409001, EconWPA.
    3. Jakus, Paul M. & Tiller, Kelly & Park, William M., 1996. "Generation Of Recyclables By Rural Households," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 21(01), July.
    4. 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.
    5. Cynthia Morgan & Kelly B. Maguire & Robin R. Jenkins, 2002. "Host Community Compensation and Municipal Solid Waste Landfills," NCEE Working Paper Series 200204, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised Aug 2002.
    6. Linderhof, Vincent & Kooreman, Peter & Allers, Maarten & Wiersma, Doede, 2001. "Weight-based pricing in the collection of household waste: the Oostzaan case," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 359-371, October.
    7. Wayne Carroll, 1995. "The Organization and Efficiency of Residential Recycling Services," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 215-225, Spring.
    8. Seonghoon Hong & Richard M. Adams, 1999. "Household Responses to Price Incentives for Recycling: Some Further Evidence," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 75(4), pages 505-514.
    9. George L. Van Houtven & Glenn E. Morris, 1999. "Household Behavior under Alternative Pay-as-You-Throw Systems for Solid Waste Disposal," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 75(4), pages 515-537.
    10. Marie Lynn Miranda & Jess W. Everett & Daniel Blume & Barbeau A. Roy, 1994. "Market-based incentives and residential municipal solid waste," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(4), pages 681-698.
    11. Tiller, Kelly & Jakus, Paul M. & Park, William M., 1997. "Household Willingness To Pay For Dropoff Recycling," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 22(02), December.
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