The cost of reducing municipal solid waste

Karen Palmer, Hilary Sigman, Margaret Walls

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

132 Scopus citations


This paper studies three price-based policies for solid waste reduction: (i) deposit/refunds; (ii) advance disposal fees; and (iii) recycling subsidies. We parameterize a simple model of waste disposal using supply and demand elasticities from previous literature and 1990 prices and quantities of aluminum, glass, paper, plastic, and steel. We explore opportunities to reduce these wastes through both recycling and source reduction. The results indicate that the deposit/refund is the least costly of the policies and that a 7.5% reduction of the wastes in the model would have been efficient in 1990.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)128-150
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Environmental Economics and Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1997
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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