The Costs of Disposal and Recycling. An Application to Italian Municipal Solid Waste Services
The paper investigates the costs of waste disposal and recycling services by using a well-behaved Composite cost function model. Our estimates on a unique sample of more than 500 Italian municipalities highlight that the refuse collection technology exhibits constant returns to scale as well as scope economies between disposal and recycling. As far as the size of the municipality increases, scope economies rise up to 14%, but they are accompanied with overall diseconomies of scale. Our findings suggest that, on the one hand, joint management of disposal and recycling should be encouraged, and, on the other hand, that strategies aimed at increasing the share of waste sent for recycling would not imply a considerable increase in total costs.
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