Distance and Incentives Matter: The Separation of Recyclable Municipal Waste


STRUK Michal

Year of publication 2016
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Economics and Administration

Description Municipal solid waste represents an increasing environmental issue in modern societies. One way of reducing this waste would be higher separation rate. Multiple studies identify the availability of infrastructure for waste separation facilities (resulting in higher convenience) as the most important factor affecting the willingness to separate. In this paper we compare the effects of two common systems of waste separation: dropoff sites collection and kerbside collection represented by the sack collection. We follow the idea that if reaching the separation site requires less effort, people are more likely to separate and our results prove this. We show that with drop-off sites the paper and plastics separation rate of total municipal solid waste is 7-8%; with kerbside collection system 9-10%. If we add an incentive program, the separated paper and plastics rate can reach more than 15%, which represents a significant increase of the separation rate. Additionally, higher density of drop-off sites can also increase separation rate, but the effect is relatively low, and this approach is often not economical.
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