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On the value of households' recycling efforts

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Abstract

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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    File URL: http://www.ssb.no/a/publikasjoner/pdf/DP/dp316.pdf
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    1. Hornik, Jacob & Cherian, Joseph & Madansky, Michelle & Narayana, Chem, 1995. "Determinants of recycling behavior: A synthesis of research results," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 105-127.
    2. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics and Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753.
    3. Brekke, Kjell Arne & Kverndokk, Snorre & Nyborg, Karine, 2003. "An economic model of moral motivation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(9-10), pages 1967-1983, September.
    4. Hollander, Heinz, 1990. "A Social Exchange Approach to Voluntary Cooperation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(5), pages 1157-1167, December.
    5. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-477, June.
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    Cited by:

    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. 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.
    3. Kågström, Jonas, 2011. "Today's perfect - tomorrow's standard," Department of Economics publications 8120, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Economics.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. Berglund, Christer, 2006. "The assessment of households' recycling costs: The role of personal motives," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 560-569, April.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. repec:sss:wpaper:201403 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. 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.
    11. repec:eee:ecolec:v:140:y:2017:i:c:p:58-65 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. 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).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Cost-benefit analysis; norms; recycling; time use;

    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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