Title

The Socially Optimal Recycling Rate: Evidence from Japan

Publication Date

2014

Journal

Journal of Environmental Economics and Management

Volume

68

Issue

1

First Page

54

Last Page

70

Abstract

This paper estimates the average social cost of municipal waste management as a function of the recycling rate. Social costs include all municipal costs and revenues, costs to recycling households to prepare materials estimated with an original method, external disposal costs, and external recycling benefits. Results suggest average social costs are minimized with recycling rates well below observed and mandated levels in Japan. Cost-minimizing municipalities are estimated to recycle less than the optimal rate. These results are robust to changes in the components of social costs, indicating that Japan and perhaps other developed countries may be setting inefficiently high recycling goals. (C) 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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