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A Comparison of Public Policies for Lead Recycling

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  • Hilary A. Sigman

Abstract

Policies that encourage recycling may be used to reduce environmental costs from waste disposal because direct restrictions on disposal are difficult to enforce. Four recycling policies have been advanced: (i) taxes on the use of virgin materials, (ii) deposit/refund programs, (iii) subsidies to recycled material production, and (iv) recycled content standards. In this article, I analyze the structure of these policies and their cost-effectiveness in achieving reductions in disposal. I then examine the policies in the empirical context of the recycling of lead from automobile batteries. In order to calculate the effects of recycling programs, I estimate the elasticities for primary and secondary lead supply and demand. My results suggest that price-based policy mechanisms can be successful in increasing lead recovery and that the difference in efficiency between the four approaches is similar.

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  • Hilary A. Sigman, 1995. "A Comparison of Public Policies for Lead Recycling," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(3), pages 452-478, Autumn.
  • Handle: RePEc:rje:randje:v:26:y:1995:i:autumn:p:452-478
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