By Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development
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Additional info for Addressing the Economics of Waste
Thus, while the change in recycling cannot be explained by a change in disposal cost, some other factor may have increased recycling more in the region where disposal costs already were relatively high. Third, recycling might have increased due to changes in the market price of recycled materials. When accounting for increases in the general price level, however, the prices of recycled materials have remained rather constant (Ackerman, 1997). Interestingly, prices of recycled materials are highly variable over time.
Yet incinerators could not lower their tipping fees to levels necessary to attract more business without incurring financial losses. For this reason, and because incineration was thought to be a good environmental solution to the dual problem of waste and energy, many local governments passed laws requiring that all local garbage come to the incinerator, effectively giving the incinerator monopsony power over local garbage. S. Supreme Court struck down these laws, exposing the incineration industry to competition from cheaper landfills.
The capacity to treat certain types of hazardous waste, such as PCBs, is being commissioned or adjusted at national level with the aim of achieving self-sufficiency in order to comply with certain principles of a political nature, especially at European level. From the standpoint of economic efficiency, however, such policies are open to question since they imply repeat large-scale investment and run counter to the achievement of economies of scale. Systems are being set up to collect environmentally harmful waste produced in isolated and limited quantities, such as hazardous household waste, lead batteries, used oils, etc.