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Flexible waste management under uncertainty

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  • Di Corato, Luca
  • Montinari, Natalia

Abstract

In this paper, we use stochastic dynamic programming to model the choice of a municipality which has to design an optimal waste management program under uncertainty about the price of recyclables in the secondary market. The municipality can, by undertaking an irreversible investment, adopt a flexible program which integrates the existing landfill strategy with recycling, keeping the option to switch back to landfilling, if profitable. We determine the optimal share of waste to be recycled and the optimal timing for the investment in such a flexible program. We find that adopting a flexible program rather than a non-flexible one, the municipality: (i) invests in recycling capacity under circumstances where it would not do so otherwise; (ii) invests earlier; and (iii) benefits from a higher expected net present value.

Suggested Citation

  • Di Corato, Luca & Montinari, Natalia, 2014. "Flexible waste management under uncertainty," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 234(1), pages 174-185.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ejores:v:234:y:2014:i:1:p:174-185
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ejor.2013.09.026
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Di Corato, Luca & Moretto, Michele, 2011. "Investing in biogas: Timing, technological choice and the value of flexibility from input mix," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 1186-1193.
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    4. Li, Shanling & Wang, Letian, 2010. "Outsourcing and capacity planning in an uncertain global environment," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 207(1), pages 131-141, November.
    5. Jannett Highfill & Michael McAsey, 2001. "Landfilling Versus ``Backstop'' Recycling When Income Is Growing," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 19(1), pages 37-52, May.
    6. Nagurney, Anna & Toyasaki, Fuminori, 2005. "Reverse supply chain management and electronic waste recycling: a multitiered network equilibrium framework for e-cycling," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 1-28, January.
    7. He, Hua & Pindyck, Robert S., 1992. "Investments in flexible production capacity," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 16(3-4), pages 575-599.
    8. Benaroch, Michel & Webster, Scott & Kazaz, Burak, 2012. "Impact of sourcing flexibility on the outsourcing of services under demand uncertainty," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 219(2), pages 272-283.
    9. Anni Huhtala, 1997. "A Post-Consumer Waste Management Model for Determining Optimal Levels of Recycling and Landfilling," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 10(3), pages 301-314, October.
    10. Mason, Charles F., 2001. "Nonrenewable Resources with Switching Costs," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 65-81, July.
    11. Fontes, Dalila B.M.M., 2008. "Fixed versus flexible production systems: A real options analysis," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 188(1), pages 169-184, July.
    12. Dixit, Avinash K, 1989. "Entry and Exit Decisions under Uncertainty," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(3), pages 620-638, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tsekrekos, Andrianos E. & Yannacopoulos, Athanasios N., 2016. "Optimal switching decisions under stochastic volatility with fast mean reversion," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 251(1), pages 148-157.
    2. Carlo Reggiani & Francesco Silvestri, 2015. "Municipal Waste Collection: Market Competition and the EU Policy," Working Papers 2015.90, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Real options; Flexibility; Municipal waste; Recycling;

    JEL classification:

    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling

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