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On the value of households' recycling efforts

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Do households' recycling efforts represent a social cost, which should be taken into account in cost-benefit analyses of alternative waste treatment systems? Some argue that it should not, since recycling efforts are to a large extent voluntary. We demonstrate that if the government can indirectly increase voluntary recycling efforts through appeals to the public or through similar means, then the use of these means does impose a cost on households. This cost can be higher or lower than the environmental gain resulting from the increased recycling. Norwegian data indicates a willingness to pay to let others take over the individual's sorting of household waste corresponding to a cost of about USD 87 per tonne, which is significant compared to the total treatment costs.

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  • Annegrete Bruvoll & Karine Nyborg, 2002. "On the value of households' recycling efforts," Discussion Papers 316, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:316
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    5. Hollander, Heinz, 1990. "A Social Exchange Approach to Voluntary Cooperation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(5), pages 1157-1167, December.
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    1. Sophie Clot & Gilles Grolleau & Lisette Ibanez, 2016. "Do good deeds make bad people?," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 42(3), pages 491-513, December.
    2. Mikołaj Czajkowski & Nick Hanley & Karine Nyborg, 2014. "Social norms, morals and self-interest as determinants of pro-environment behaviour," Working Papers 2014-17, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.
    3. Nicola Laurieri & Andrea Lucchese & Antonella Marino & Salvatore Digiesi, 2020. "A Door-to-Door Waste Collection System Case Study: A Survey on its Sustainability and Effectiveness," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(14), pages 1-23, July.
    4. Czajkowski, Mikołaj & Zagórska, Katarzyna & Hanley, Nick, 2019. "Social norm nudging and preferences for household recycling," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(C).
    5. FIORILLO, Damiano & SENATORE, Luigi, 2016. "Self Image and Environmental Attitude and Behavior," CELPE Discussion Papers 140, CELPE - Centre of Labour Economics and Economic Policy, University of Salerno, Italy.
    6. Hua Zhang & Zong-Guo Wen, 2014. "Residents’ Household Solid Waste (HSW) Source Separation Activity: A Case Study of Suzhou, China," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(9), pages 1-21, September.
    7. 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.
    8. Persson, Urban & Münster, Marie, 2016. "Current and future prospects for heat recovery from waste in European district heating systems: A literature and data review," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 116-128.
    9. Mikołaj Czajkowski & Katarzyna Zagórska & Nick Hanley, 2018. "Social norms and pro-environment behaviours: heterogeneous response to signals," Working Papers 2018-13, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.
    10. Lee, Misuk & Choi, Hyunhong & Koo, Yoonmo, 2017. "Inconvenience cost of waste disposal behavior in South Korea," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 140(C), pages 58-65.
    11. Ayoubi, Charles & Thurm, Boris, 2020. "Pro-environmental behavior and morality: An economic model with heterogeneous preferences," OSF Preprints w8afg, Center for Open Science.
    12. Fu Chen & Xiaoxiao Li & Jing Ma & Yongjun Yang & Gang-Jun Liu, 2018. "An Exploration of the Impacts of Compulsory Source-Separated Policy in Improving Household Solid Waste-Sorting in Pilot Megacities, China: A Case Study of Nanjing," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(5), pages 1-14, April.
    13. Ek, Claes, 2018. "Prosocial behavior and policy spillovers: A multi-activity approach," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 149(C), pages 356-371.
    14. Heller, Marit H. & Vatn, Arild, 2017. "The divisive and disruptive effect of a weight-based waste fee," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 275-285.
    15. Berglund, Christer, 2006. "The assessment of households' recycling costs: The role of personal motives," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 560-569, April.
    16. repec:sss:wpaper:201403 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Ayoubi, Charles & Thurm, Boris, 2020. "Knowledge Diffusion and Morality: Why do we Freely Share Valuable Information with Strangers?," OSF Preprints 78mua, Center for Open Science.
    18. Nainggolan, Doan & Pedersen, Anders Branth & Smed, Sinne & Zemo, Kahsay Haile & Hasler, Berit & Termansen, Mette, 2019. "Consumers in a Circular Economy: Economic Analysis of Household Waste Sorting Behaviour," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 166(C), pages 1-1.
    19. Massimiliano Cerciello & Massimiliano Agovino & Antonio Garofalo, 2019. "Estimating food waste under the FUSIONS definition: What are the driving factors of food waste in the Italian provinces?," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 21(3), pages 1139-1152, June.
    20. Annegrete Bruvoll & Karine Nyborg, 2004. "The Cold Shiver of Not Giving Enough: On the Social Cost of Recycling Campaigns," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 80(4).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Cost-benefit analysis; norms; recycling; time use;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • D69 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Other
    • Q38 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy (includes OPEC Policy)

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