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Waste, Recycling, and "Design for Environment": Roles for Markets and Policy Instruments

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  • Walls, Margaret

    () (Resources for the Future)

  • Calcott, Paul

Abstract

Several studies that have solved for optimal solid waste policy instruments have suggested that transaction costs may often prevent the working of recycling markets. In this paper, we explicitly incorporate such costs into a general equilibrium model of production, consumption, recycling, and disposal. Specifically, we assume that consumers have access to both recycling without payment and recycling with payment but that the latter option comes with transaction costs. Producers choose material and nonmaterial inputs to produce a consumer product, and they also choose design attributes of that product—its weight and degree of recyclability. We find that the policy instruments that yield a social optimum in this setting need to vary with the degree of recyclability of products. Moreover, they need to be set to ensure that recycling markets do not operate—that is, that all recycling takes place without an exchange of money between recyclers and consumers. We argue that implementing such a policy would be difficult in practice. We then solve for a simpler set of instruments that implement a constrained (second-best) optimum. We find the results in this setting more encouraging: a modest disposal fee—less than the Pigouvian fee—combined with a common deposit-refund applied to all products will yield the constrained optimum. Moreover, this set of constrained optimal instruments is robust to the possibility that consumers imperfectly sort used products into trash and recyclables.

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  • Walls, Margaret & Calcott, Paul, 2002. "Waste, Recycling, and "Design for Environment": Roles for Markets and Policy Instruments," Discussion Papers dp-00-30-rev, Resources For the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-00-30-rev
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Czajkowski, Mikołaj & Kądziela, Tadeusz & Hanley, Nick, 2014. "We want to sort! Assessing households’ preferences for sorting waste," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 290-306.
    2. Joao Victor Rojas Luiz & Daniel Jugend & Charbel José Chiappeta Jabbour & Octaviano Rojas Luiz & Fernando Bernardi Souza, 2016. "Ecodesign field of research throughout the world: mapping the territory by using an evolutionary lens," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 109(1), pages 241-259, October.
    3. Göran Finnveden & Tomas Ekvall & Yevgeniya Arushanyan & Mattias Bisaillon & Greger Henriksson & Ulrika Gunnarsson Östling & Maria Ljunggren Söderman & Jenny Sahlin & Åsa Stenmarck & Johan Sundberg & J, 2013. "Policy Instruments towards a Sustainable Waste Management," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(3), pages 1-41, February.
    4. Matsueda, Norimichi & Nagase, Yoko, 2012. "An economic analysis of the Packaging waste Recovery Note System in the UK," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 669-679.
    5. M. Dubois & J. Eyckmans, 2015. "Efficient Waste Management Policies and Strategic Behavior with Open Borders," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 62(4), pages 907-923, December.
    6. Hammond, David & Beullens, Patrick, 2007. "Closed-loop supply chain network equilibrium under legislation," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 183(2), pages 895-908, December.
    7. Özdemir, Öznur & Denizel, Meltem & Guide, V. Daniel R., 2012. "Recovery decisions of a producer in a legislative disposal fee environment," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 216(2), pages 293-300.
    8. Massimiliano Mazzanti & Anna Montini & Francesco Nicolli, 2011. "Embedding landfill diversion in economic, geographical and policy settings," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(24), pages 3299-3311.
    9. Walls, Margaret, 2011. "Deposit-Refund Systems in Practice and Theory," Discussion Papers dp-11-47, Resources For the Future.
    10. Francesco Nicolli & Nick Johnstone & Patrik Söderholm, 2012. "Resolving failures in recycling markets: the role of technological innovation," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 14(3), pages 261-288, July.
    11. Dijkgraaf, Elbert & Gradus, Raymond, 2009. "Environmental activism and dynamics of unit-based pricing systems," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 13-23, January.
    12. Francisco J. André & Emilio Cerdá, 2005. "Gestión de residuos sólidos urbanos: Análisis económico y políticas públicas," Economic Working Papers at Centro de Estudios Andaluces E2005/23, Centro de Estudios Andaluces.
    13. Gunasekaran, Angappa & Spalanzani, Alain, 2012. "Sustainability of manufacturing and services: Investigations for research and applications," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 140(1), pages 35-47.
    14. Daisuke Numata, 2011. "Optimal design of deposit–refund systems considering allocation of unredeemed deposits," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 13(4), pages 303-321, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Dfe; deposit-refund; disposal fee; constrained optimum;

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • Q28 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy

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