An economic analysis of the Packaging waste Recovery Note System in the UK
In order to cope with the increasing scarcity of final dump sites for household wastes, the UK recently introduced an environmental policy targeted at the firms that produce and sell products that generate packaging wastes. This policy requires such businesses to hold predetermined numbers of tradable credits called “Packaging waste Recovery Notes” (PRNs). This article provides insights into the economic implications of such a policy through a simple analytical model of a recyclable product and the PRN markets. Our analysis yields two particularly interesting results. First, an increase in the required recycling rate dampens the output and landfill waste levels, while the effect on the level of recycling activities is ambiguous. Second, an increase in the landfill tax always leads to an increase in the landfill waste. We also discuss how the socially optimal landfill tax in the presence of the PRN market should be chosen.
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