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Title: Is bigger better? An empirical analysis of waste management in New South Wales

Highlights: • We search for the most efficient cost structure for NSW household waste services. • We found that larger services are no longer efficient. • We found an optimal size for the range 12,000–20,000 inhabitants. • We found significant economies of output density for household waste collection. • We found economies of scope in joint provision of unsorted and recycling services. - Abstract: Across the world, rising demand for municipal solid waste services has seen an ongoing increase in the costs of providing these services. Moreover, municipal waste services have typically been provided through natural or legal monopolies, where few incentives exist to reduce costs. It is thus vital to examine empirically the cost structure of these services in order to develop effective public policies which can make these services more cost efficient. Accordingly, this paper considers economies of size and economies of output density in the municipal waste collection sector in the New South Wales (NSW) local government system in an effort to identify the optimal size of utilities from the perspective of cost efficiency. Our results show that – as presently constituted – NSW municipal waste services are not efficient in terms of costs, thereby demonstrating thatmore » ‘bigger is not better.’ The optimal size of waste utilities is estimated to fall in the range 12,000–20,000 inhabitants. However, significant economies of output density for unsorted (residual) municipal waste collection and recycling waste collection were found, which means it is advantageous to increase the amount of waste collected, but maintaining constant the number of customers and the intervention area.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5]
  1. LAMEMO Laboratory, Department of Civil Engineering, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, COPPE/UFRJ, Av. Pedro Calmon – Ilha do Fundão, 21941-596 Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
  2. (Portugal)
  3. CESUR – Center for Urban and Regional Systems, Instituto Superior Técnico, University of Lisboa, Av. Rovisco Pais, 1049-001 Lisbon (Portugal)
  4. CLG – Centre for Local Government, University of New England, Armidale, NSW (Australia)
  5. (Japan)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22470245
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Waste Management; Journal Volume: 39; Other Information: Copyright (c) 2015 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:
29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY AND ECONOMY; 12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE WASTES, AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURES; COST; COST EFFECTIVENESS ANALYSIS; FINANCIAL INCENTIVES; HOUSEHOLDS; LEGAL ASPECTS; LOCAL GOVERNMENT; MONOPOLIES; MUNICIPAL WASTES; NEW SOUTH WALES; PUBLIC POLICY; RECYCLING; SOLID WASTES; WASTE MANAGEMENT