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Landfilling Versus ``Backstop'' Recycling When Income Is Growing

  • Jannett Highfill


  • Michael McAsey


The paper considers a dynamic model in which an income stream,growing over time, is optimally divided into consumption andexpenditures on waste disposal, the latter being optimally dividedbetween ``recycling''and ``landfilling.'' Recycling is thoughtof as a ``backstop'' waste disposal technology – it does notrequire landfill space but is a relatively expensive method ofwaste disposal. Landfilling uses up scarce landfill capacity. While conserving landfill space is the major reason themunicipality recycles, another motive for recycling might be thatrecycling itself generates utility. Our analysis suggests thatthe optimal recycling program varies considerably with bothlandfill capacity and initial income. For example, richermunicipalities are likely to introduce recycling much earlier inthe planning period than poorer municipalities. Thus whenlegislating recycling, national or regional governments must besensitive to the differences between municipalities. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

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Article provided by European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists in its journal Environmental and Resource Economics.

Volume (Year): 19 (2001)
Issue (Month): 1 (May)
Pages: 37-52

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Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:19:y:2001:i:1:p:37-52
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  1. Deborah Vaughn Nestor & Michael J. Podolsky, 1998. "Assessing Incentive-Based Environmental Policies For Reducing Household Waste Disposal," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 16(4), pages 401-411, October.
  2. Choe, Chongwoo & Fraser, Iain, 1998. "The economics of household waste management: a review," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 42(3), September.
  3. 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.
  4. Anni Huhtala, 1997. "A Post-Consumer Waste Management Model for Determining Optimal Levels of Recycling and Landfilling," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 10(3), pages 301-314, October.
  5. Highfill, Jannett & McAsey, Michael, 1997. "Municipal Waste Management: Recycling and Landfill Space Constraints," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 118-136, January.
  6. Prell, Mark A., 1996. "Backstop Technology and Growth: Doomsday or Steady State?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 254-264, March.
  7. Klaus Conrad, 1999. "Resource and Waste Taxation in the Theory of the Firm with Recycling Activities," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 14(2), pages 217-242, September.
  8. Lee Endress & James A. Roumasset, 1993. "Golden Rules For Sustainable Resource Management," Working Papers 199319, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
  9. Huhtala, Anni, 1999. "Optimizing production technology choices: conventional production vs. recycling," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 1-18, January.
  10. Stephan Slingerland & Paulien De Jong, 1998. "Reduction of Waste and Electricity Demand in The Netherlands: A Hypothetical Intervention," Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(2), pages 195-208.
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