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Title: Cost effectiveness of recycling: A systems model

Highlights: • Curbside collection of recyclables reduces overall system costs over a range of conditions. • When avoided costs for recyclables are large, even high collection costs are supported. • When avoided costs for recyclables are not great, there are reduced opportunities for savings. • For common waste compositions, maximizing curbside recyclables collection always saves money. - Abstract: Financial analytical models of waste management systems have often found that recycling costs exceed direct benefits, and in order to economically justify recycling activities, externalities such as household expenses or environmental impacts must be invoked. Certain more empirically based studies have also found that recycling is more expensive than disposal. Other work, both through models and surveys, have found differently. Here we present an empirical systems model, largely drawn from a suburban Long Island municipality. The model accounts for changes in distribution of effort as recycling tonnages displace disposal tonnages, and the seven different cases examined all show that curbside collection programs that manage up to between 31% and 37% of the waste stream should result in overall system savings. These savings accrue partially because of assumed cost differences in tip fees for recyclables and disposed wastes, and also because recycling canmore » result in a more efficient, cost-effective collection program. These results imply that increases in recycling are justifiable due to cost-savings alone, not on more difficult to measure factors that may not impact program budgets.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [1]
  1. Department of Technology and Society, College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-3560 (United States)
  2. (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22300331
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Waste Management; Journal Volume: 33; Journal Issue: 11; Other Information: Copyright (c) 2013 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, All rights reserved.; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE WASTES, AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; ANALYTIC FUNCTIONS; BUDGETS; COST; ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS; FINANCIAL INCENTIVES; RECYCLING; WASTE DISPOSAL; WASTE MANAGEMENT