Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 20 No. 4 (Fall 2006)


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Policy Watch: Examining the Justification for Residential Recycling

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Kinnaman, Thomas C. 2006. "Policy Watch: Examining the Justification for Residential Recycling." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 20(4): 219-232.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.20.4.219


There are 8,875 municipalities in the United States that have initiated curbside recycling programs over the past two decades to help reduce residential solid waste. Four thousand of these municipalities encourage recycling by requiring households to pay a fee for each unit of garbage presented at the curb for collection. How beneficial have the various recycling policies been in practice? This article examines the empirical lessons gained from twenty years of solid waste policy in the United States and argues for the replacement of several state recycling mandates with a moderate landfill tax.

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Kinnaman, Thomas C.


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