Behavioral Changes in Waste Generation Behavior When Households Pay-As-They-Throw

Speaker:  Marica Valente - DIW Berlin
  Wednesday, February 28, 2018 at 12:30 PM Polo Santa Marta, Via Cantarane 24, Sala Vaona
Many municipalities in Europe are introducing waste Pigouvian fees in the form of Unit Pricing Systems (UPSs), aka Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) programs, in response to EU targets on municipal solid waste prevention and recycling. This paper analyzes the effectiveness of a bag-based UPS for household unsorted waste implemented in 2013, Trento, Italy. Based on a unique monthly dataset of Italian municipalities for 2002 through 2016, the causal effects of this reform on household waste generation are estimated. A synthetic control approach is applied to overcome limitations of traditional regression methods in such a policy scenario. Our results show a substantial decrease in unsorted waste in response to the policy, but no statistically significant impacts on recycling habits are found. Total waste decreases by a small but significant extent, especially starting one year after the policy when households slowly adjust their behavior towards waste minimization. Thus, UPS does not cause households to substitute unsorted waste generation with recycling, but to operate waste prevention, likely as a long-term consequence of pro-environmental changes in waste generation behavior.

Programme Director
Angelo Zago

Publication date
February 9, 2018