Burn or Bury? A Social Cost Comparison of Final Waste Disposal Methods

30 Pages Posted: 20 Jul 2003

See all articles by Elbert Dijkgraaf

Elbert Dijkgraaf

Erasmus University Rotterdam, SEOR-ECRi; Tinbergen Institute

Herman R.J. Vollebergh

PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (Bilthoven); Tilburg Unversity ; CESifo Institute; Tilburg Sustainability Centre; Tilburg University - Center and Faculty of Economics and Business Administration

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 2003

Abstract

This paper uses private and environmental cost data for the Netherlands to evaluate the social cost of two final waste disposal methods, landfilling versus incineration using waste-to-energy (WTE) plants. The data only provide some support for the widespread policy preference for incineration over landfilling if the analysis is restricted to environmental costs alone. Private costs, however, are so much higher for incineration, that landfilling is the social cost minimizing option at the margin even in a densely populated country such as the Netherlands. Implications for waste policy are discussed as well. Proper treatment of and energy recovery from landfills seem to be the most important targets for waste policy. WTE plants are a very expensive way to save on climate change emissions.

Keywords: Waste Policy, Project Evaluation, Incineration, Landfilling, Climate Change

JEL Classification: H43, L99, Q42

Suggested Citation

Dijkgraaf, Elbert and Vollebergh, Herman R.J., Burn or Bury? A Social Cost Comparison of Final Waste Disposal Methods (June 2003). FEEM Working Paper No. 46.2003. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=425281 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.425281

Elbert Dijkgraaf

Erasmus University Rotterdam, SEOR-ECRi ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
H 7-34
Rotterdam, 3000 DR
Netherlands
+31 10 4082590 (Phone)
+31 10 4089650 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ecri.nl

Tinbergen Institute ( email )

Burg. Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, 3062 PA
Netherlands

Herman R.J. Vollebergh (Contact Author)

PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (Bilthoven) ( email )

Bezuidenhoutseweg 30
Den Haag, 2594 AV
Netherlands
+31655736920 (Phone)

Tilburg Unversity ( email )

Tilburg
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://www.tilburguniversity.edu/webwijs/show/h.r.j.vollebergh.htm

CESifo Institute ( email )

Munich
Germany

Tilburg Sustainability Centre ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, North Brabant 5000 LE
Netherlands

Tilburg University - Center and Faculty of Economics and Business Administration ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

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