The Economics of Waste  book cover
1st Edition

The Economics of Waste

ISBN 9781891853432
Published June 18, 2002 by Routledge
318 Pages

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Book Description

In this concise, engaging, and provocative work, Richard Porter introduces readers to the economic tools that can be applied to problems involved in handling a diverse range of waste products from business and households. Emphasizing the impossibility of achieving a zero-risk environment, Porter focuses on the choices that apply in real world decisions about waste. Acknowledging that effective waste policy integrates knowledge from several disciplines, Porter focuses on the use of economic analysis to reveal the costs of different policies and therefore how much can be done to meet goals to protect human health and the environment. With abundant examples, he considers subjects such as landfills, incineration, and illegal disposal. He discusses the international trade in waste, the costs and benefits of recycling, and special topics such as hazardous materials, Superfund, and nuclear waste. While making clear his belief that not every form of waste presents the same amount of risk, Porter stresses the need for open-minded approaches to developing new policies. For students, policymakers, and general readers, he provides insight and accessibility to a subject that others might leave out-of-sight, out-of-mind, or buried under an impenetrable prose of statistics and jargon.

Table of Contents

Preface Economics and Waste: An Introduction Part 1. Solid Waste Creation, Collection, and Disposal Business Waste Household Waste Collection Solid Waste Landfills Illegal Disposal and Litter Exporting and Importing Waste Part 2. Recycling Solid Waste Products Market Failure in Recycling Economics of Recycling Policies for Recycling Logistics of Recycling Markets for Recycling Yard Waste and Composting Part 3. Special Waste Categories Hazardous Waste Superfund Radioactive Waste Part 4. Final Thoughts What Have We Learned? References Index About the Author

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Richard C. Porter is professor emeritus in the Department of Economics at the University of Michigan. His previous books include Economics at the Wheel: The Costs of Cars and Drivers and Economics of Water and Waste: A Case Study of Jakarta, Indonesia.


'Informative and thoughtprovoking. Porter challenges the reader to think about the issues, making clear that the 'right' answer may not be set in stone.' Amy W. Ando, University of Illinois 'A comprehensive, careful, and interesting treatment.' Terry M. Dinan, Congressional Budget Office