Addressing the Economics of Waste by Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development

By Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development

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But even though many countries rely heavily on incineration, Brisson (1997) finds that the private and external costs of incineration exceed those of landfill disposal in most European countries. 6. See Jenkins (1993) and Kinnaman and Fullerton (2000b). 42 Figure 2. Per Capita Municipal Waste Mid-1990’s Austria Belgium Canada Czech Republic Denmark Finland France Germany Greece Hungary Iceland Ireland Italy Japan Korea Luxembourg Mexico Netherlands Norway Poland Portugal Spain Sweden Turkey UK USA Landfilled waste Incinerated waste Recycled waste 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 Source: OECD.

It reached something of a peak in 1991 when 170 incinerators operated nationally, but then the number of incinerators in operation began gradually to decline. In 2001, incineration accounted for only 7% of total household solid waste. Incineration was once considered a dual solution to the solid waste and energy crises, but that assessment changed with some complicated technological considerations. Fixed costs are high, and so average costs can be reduced by greater garbage throughput. Yet incinerators could not lower their tipping fees to levels necessary to attract more business without incurring financial losses.

The traditional bag or tag program requires households to pay for each additional bag of garbage presented at the curb for collection. The second program type requires households to pre-commit or “subscribe” to the collection of a specific number of containers each week. The household pays for the subscribed number whether these containers are filled with garbage or not. Many towns in California and Oregon have used subscription programs since early in the century. One advantage of subscription programs is that their direct billing systems may reduce administrative costs.

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