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The main factors in home recycling


This paper analyzes the effects of two well-known program for solid waste on amount recycled of various materials that are found in the household garbage stream. We study a unique household-level dataset that represents middle and upper-middle income categories in twenty metropolitan statistical areas across the nation and providing details on the percentage recycled of five different substances: glass bottles aluminum, plastic bottles yard waste, and newspaper. We discover that the availability of curbside recycling has a positive impact on the amount recycled for the five materials, and the degree of this effect is different across different kinds of materials. The length of the program’s lifespan also has a positive impact on two substances. The requirement to recycle has a minimal impact on the five substances. The cost per unit is not a significant factor for our regressions, however the impact of unit pricing on recycling isn’t clear.


The last 15 years have seen an era of radical shifts in the way that solid waste management is handled. In the mid-1980s, with tighter EPA standards for landfill construction the landfill tipping fee were soaring and there was an overall perception that space for landfills was shrinking and there was a potential for a landfill “crisis” was inevitable. 1. Two distinct national trends in the solid waste management have emerged from local efforts to cut down on the amount of waste that was put in landfills. The most widespread was the advent of recycling curbside programs. As of 1988 there was about 1000 programs like this in the US In 1992, there were more than 5000; in 1999, the total was around 9000. Another less well-known, but nonetheless significant trend that occurred during this time is the introduction in this time of volume-based pricing also known as unit pricing, for solid waste disposal services, wherein residents pay for the collection of garbage based on the quantity of containers they place out. Prior to the mid-80s, there was perhaps a couple of dozen of these programs [25in the late 1980s]. In 1992, there was around 2000, and in 1999, it was barely over 4000 [1717.

While the specifics of the curbside recycling program differs from a unit-pricing program, both programs theoretically offer incentives to divert the waste from disposal sites to recycling facilities. A curbside program can reduce the cost for recycling to a household because it makes recycling easier and time-saving. A unit pricing program can increase the expense of disposing of more waste compared to the cost of recycling. i.e. the absence of recycling results in higher costs for garbage collection services. 2

Each program focuses on different methods of managing waste that could lead to variations in the results of both programs. For instance, in contrast to curbside recycling programs, unit pricing provides only the opportunity to recycle in an indirect way, whereas its primary motivation is to decrease waste volumes. The unit pricing program can also offer incentives for families to alter their buying habits in order to produce lesser solid waste. Therefore, both programs could very well impact the household recycling efforts.

Economic principles suggest that both plans will differ in their impact on recycling and the use of recyclable materials in different forms [1111. One possibility is that unit pricing based on volume gives households a reason to recycle large items which take up a lot of trash containers–such as milk jugs made of plastic. However the unit pricing may help households avoid producing massive waste at all. Families could alter the structure of their consumption plans to ensure that there is less waste to dispose of.

The curbside program for recycling can have an impact on specific materials. In lieu of recycling that is dropped off the curbside collection program mainly decreases the costs for transporting recyclable materials. In comparison to a home without any recycling program in the local area that has the option of curbside collection will have a kinder to recycle materials that are difficult to move, such as glass containers, that can be heavy and prone to breaking.

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Jane S. King

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