Compliance With the EU Waste Hierarchy: It Is a Matter of Stringency, Enforcement … and Time!
39 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2020
Date Written: April 26, 2020
This paper assesses whether and to what extent income and the stringency and enforcement (S&E) of environmental regulation influence compliance with the EU Waste Hierarchy (EWH), i.e., how EU member states treat waste. The EWH prioritizes waste prevention and re-use over recycling, which is ranked above waste to energy (WtE), while incineration and landfilling are the least preferred options. Biennial panel data for the period 2010–2016 is used to create a compliance index based on the waste treatment alternatives in the EWH. Waste (excluding major mineral waste) of 26 European Union countries is examined. This study is the first of its kind to regress an EWH compliance index on income, stringency and enforcement of environmental regulation, and other variables that are also expected to affect the relative benefits and costs of waste treatment like population density, heating demand, and electricity prices. In conjunction, the shares of landfilling, incineration, WtE, and recycling are also modeled to capture the effect of these variables in the waste treatment mix. Stringency and enforcement of environmental regulation have a positive effect on compliance with the EWH, which has increased over time.
Keywords: EU waste hierarchy, waste treatment ladders, income, policy stringency, policy enforcement
JEL Classification: Q53, O44, R11
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation