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Externalities in solid waste management: Values, instruments and control

Brisson, Inger Edith; (1996) Externalities in solid waste management: Values, instruments and control. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis was stimulated by and completed against the backdrop of the unfolding 'waste crisis'. It critically examines whether the crisis is real or whether it merely reflects misperceptions. Three principal problems associated with the disposal of solid waste are identified. First, there is increasing concern over the environmental pollution of waste disposal, reflecting not just the increase in actual waste arisings, but also the increased public awareness of environmental pollution. Secondly, there is concern over the financial costs of waste collection and disposal, which can constitute a considerable drain on available on available public revenues. Lastly, there is the perceived scarcity of suitable land for siting disposal facilities. Although some low-lying, densely populated regions are inappropriate for the siting of landfills, the scarcity more often reflects political constraints rather than a genuine shortage. This thesis asserts that a non-optimal quantity of waste, together with the concomitant environmental pollution and financial costs of disposal, partly result from government failure. Current practice fails to ensure that the parties generating the waste face a price at the point of disposal and that such a price reflects the full social costs of disposal. A model is presented which argues that the socially optimal configuration of waste management is that where the marginal social costs of each waste treatment method equals those of the others. In an empirical section, the external costs of landfill, incineration, recycling and composting are estimated for the European Union, based on existing studies of damage costs for different pollutants. This is followed by estimations of the financial costs of municipal solid waste management. Combining financial and external cost estimates, a cost-benefit analysis of municipal solid waste management in the European Union is undertaken. The final section of the thesis discusses the use of economic instruments as a means of managing solid waste and uses national policies on packaging waste as an illustrative case.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Externalities in solid waste management: Values, instruments and control
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Social sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10099396
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