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Unit Pricing of Residential Municipal Solid Waste: Lessons from Nine Case Study Communities (1996)

Paper Number: EE-0306

Document Date: 03/01/1996

Author(s):  Miranda, Marie Lynn, Aldy, Joseph E.

Subject Area(s):

Recycling, Unit-Pricing, Residential Waste Management, Cost-Effectiveness

Keywords: unit-pricing, residential waste management, recycling,

Abstract: 

This 1996 report from Duke University provides an overview of case studies of nine municipalities that have implemented pricing of municipal residential waste collection based on weight or volume. This overview analyzes the various characteristics of the nine programs, assesses program outcomes, and compares the results with findings from an in-depth literature review. The nine communities are: Downers Grove, IL, Glendale, CA, Grand Rapids, MI, Hoffman Estates, IL, Lansing, MI, Pasadena, CA, San Jose, CA, Santa Monica, CA, and Woodstock, IL. Detailed case studies of each are appended to the report.

This report is part of a series of reports listed above that have been developed to systematically analyze the performance of unit pricing. As with the other reports in this series, this report has neither been reviewed nor approved by U.S. EPA for publication as an EPA report. The contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of U.S. EPA, nor does the mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation for use. These reports are made available only for their scientific use. The other reports in this series, which can be accessed through the links above, are: 

Unit Pricing of Residential Solid Waste: A Preliminary Analysis of 212 U.S. Communities  (EE-0350)
This report and preliminary analysis summarizes a database of 212 unit pricing programs representing communities in thirty states. Included in the database is information on each community’s unit-based pricing program, recycling program, yard waste collection program, solid waste educational efforts, illegal diversion, and waste disposal and recycling outcomes. Previous statistical analyses of the performance of unit pricing programs include household studies within a single community, across communities with small sample sizes, or within a single region, state or set of case studies. While these have produced insights on household waste disposal and recycling behavior, several remaining questions may best be answered by comparing outcomes among different programs in communities with varying geographic and demographic characteristics.

The Urban Performance of Unit Pricing: An Analysis of Variable Rates for Residential Garbage Collection in Urban Areas (EE-0304)
This report focuses on the question: how does unit pricing for residential waste collection perform in large, urban areas? This study examines the existing unit pricing literature to highlight key areas of agreement and disagreement among solid waste professionals regarding the performance of variable rate pricing. Outcomes in three urban unit pricing cities - Grand Rapids, MI; Lansing, MI and San Jose, CA - and their materials collection programs are analyzed, supplemented whenever possible with information from 10 other urban variable rate pricing communities. Finally, this report offers recommendations for the successful implementation of an urban unit pricing system.


Unit Pricing Programs for Residential Municipal Solid Waste: An Assessment of the Literature (EE-0355)
This report analyzes the most significant literature on unit pricing programs to determine the degree to which unit pricing programs meet their stated goals. In doing so, the report highlights those areas where analysts generally agree on the outcomes associated with unit pricing, as well as those areas where substantial controversy remains. After a brief discussion of the economics that underlies unit pricing, this report presents an analysis of unit pricing in three broad categories: program features, the outcomes associated with unit pricing, and issues involved with designing and implementing the system.

This paper is part of the  Environmental Economics Research Inventory.

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  • Unit Pricing of Residential Municipal Solid Waste: Lessons from Nine Case Study Communities (PDF)(104 pp, 267 K, 03/01/1996, EE-0306)
    This report from Duke University provides an overview of case studies of nine municipalities that have implemented pricing of municipal residential waste collection based on weight or volume. This overview analyzes the various characteristics of the nine programs, assessses program outcomes, and compares the results with findings from an in-depth literature review.