Introduction</h5> Recycling municipal solid waste has become increasingly common over the past 25 years. This trend can be attributable largely to government initiatives. Many individual states within the United States, for example, either mandate curbside recycling or set recycling targets. In the European Union, the Packaging Directive of 1994 (amended in 2004 and 2005) has made recycling a national priority in many member countries. The Law for the Promotion of Sorted Collection and Recycling of Containers and Packaging (1997) has had a similar impact in Japan. Such policy measures have directly or indirectly resulted in recycling rates of 34.1% in the United States ( US EPA, 2010 ), 19.44% in Japan ( Table 2 ), and 34% in the EU27 ( EEA, 2013 ).</P>Are these recycling rates socially desirable? Is more recycling always preferred to less recycling? Or might some countries have gone too far in terms of promoting municipal recycling? Using data from Japan and external cost and benefit estimates available in the literature, this paper first calculates the social cost of managing municipal waste and then estimates the average social cost as a function of the recycling rate. Social total costs are defined as (1) the
Journal of Environmental Economics and Management – Elsevier
Published: Jul 1, 2014
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