Publication Date

July 2000


Journal of Public Works Management and Policy

First Page


Last Page



The implementation of thousands of municipal recycling programs in the United States has increased recycling’s portion of solid waste from 10% to 30% over the past decade. But the lack of accurate data has spurred a debate over whether the growth in recycling can be attributed to market or nonmarket factors. To address this issue, this article conducts a benefit-cost analysis of a municipal recycling program. Results suggest recycling is costly. So why, then, does it remain popular? This article suggests that local governments could be responding to households that perceive a benefit from recycling services. These benefits are estimated with a contingent valuation survey.

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