The paper provides preliminary empirical evidence on delinking trends concerning waste indicators in Europe. First, methodological issues regarding the analysis of delinking are discussed, and the related Environmental Kuznets Curves literature is critically examined. Then, European-level data on municipal and packaging waste are investigated by panel data approaches, examining different EKC specifications. For packaging and municipal waste flows, decoupling seems to occur, at best, only on a relative basis. No significant evidence in favour of an inverted U-shape Kuznets curve is found. Europe as a whole seems to be still lagging behind in reaching the critical turning point of the relationship between waste and household consumption. Our results suggest some possible advantages and limitations of panel data for a set of relatively homogenous countries as well as the possible added value of further delinking analyses for specific waste materials and/or single countries. Although preliminary, depending on available data, results suggest that waste prevention, claimed as a priority by EU waste policy, has not been successfully pursued by European and national policies in practice.
- Kuznets Curve
- Waste economics