Publication Date

September 2010


Resources, Conservation, and Recycling

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This paper estimates cost functions for both municipal solid waste collection and disposal services and curbside recycling programs. Cost data are obtained from a national survey of randomly selected municipalities. Results suggest, perhaps unsurprisingly, that both marginal and average costs of recycling systems exceed those of waste collection and disposal systems. Economies of scale are estimated for all observed quantities of waste collection and disposal. Economies of scale for recycling disappear at high levels of recycling - marginal and average cost curves for recycling take on the usual U-shape. Waste and recycling costs are also estimated as functions of factor costs and program attributes.

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