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Market incentives to encourage household waste recycling: Paying for what you throw away


  • James D. Reschovsky

    (Research Fellow at the Center for General Health Services Intramural Research, Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

  • Sarah E. Stone

    (Research Associate with The Futures Group, a consulting firm based in Glastonbury, CT)


This article investigates the use of market incentives to encourage household waste recycling by pricing waste-disposal services according to the quantity of waste generated. We use a natural experiment from an upstate New York county to examine how quantity-based pricing of waste disposal affects reported household recycling behavior, when used by itself or in conjunction with curbside pickup of recyclables or mandatory recycling laws. Curbside pickup was found to have the greatest effect on reported recycling behavior, although higher waste-disposal prices might alter these conclusions. Other concerns about quantity-based pricing of solid waste-distributional effects, public acceptance, and adverse incentives-are also examined.

Suggested Citation

  • James D. Reschovsky & Sarah E. Stone, 1994. "Market incentives to encourage household waste recycling: Paying for what you throw away," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(1), pages 120-139.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:13:y:1994:i:1:p:120-139
    DOI: 10.2307/3325093

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Miedema, Allen K., 1983. "Fundamental economic comparisons of solid waste policy options," Resources and Energy, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 21-43, March.
    2. Robin R. Jenkins, 1993. "The Economics Of Solid Waste Reduction," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 248.
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