What makes recycling work? We study the factors driving household waste disposal and recycling in 18 cities in Taiwan and Japan in order to understand the impact of alternative waste management incentives. We show that this depends on the effect of distinct policies on the relative costs of the main alternative disposal methods: recycling, disposal to landfill and illegal dumping. The willingness both to recycle and to dispose to landfill depends on the relative costs of the waste collection regime, and these are dominated by the time cost of alternative disposal methods. The higher the frequency of waste collection, the less recycling and the more disposal to landfill there will be. This is because frequent collection reduces the marginal time-cost of disposal to landfill. Curbside collection of recyclable material, and the frequency of that collection, has a similar effect on the recycling rate. Although direct incentives, such as unit pricing are important in the waste disposal decision, recycling depends primarily on management of the time-costs it involves.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Economics and Econometrics
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law