This paper analyzes the effect of price uncertainty and irreversible investment on the decision of municipalities to switch from landfill waste disposal to recycling by developing a model to predict recycling adoption behavior and applying it to empirical data. It is shown that uncertainty regarding the price of recycled materials may induce a risk neutral municipality to prefer landfill disposal, even when recycling is less expensive. A model is developed to describe the switching process and estimate its parameters using empirical data from 79 municipalities in Israel. The model is then used to predict municipalities' recycling adoption decisions under various assumptions regarding price uncertainty. The results support the hypothesis that price uncertainty is a major obstacle for recycling. Finally, several options for price stabilization are sketched and it is argued that these policies may be effective in establishing viable recycling markets.
- Irreversible investment
- Municipal solid waste
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Engineering
- Waste Management and Disposal
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law