Using data sets from Italian provinces that include rich northern and poorer southern regions, this article examines to what extent income and municipal waste generation are linked and at what level of income they become delinked. The analysis shows that the turning point occurs at very high levels of value added per capita (in the range of €€22,586 to €€31,611), exemplified by a very limited number of wealthy (northern) Italian provinces. The authors also find that some recently adopted waste policy and waste management instruments have influenced waste generation at source, independent of socioeconomic characteristics. This supports the argument that more effective waste management instruments that target waste prevention at the source need to be implemented in line with the stated priorities of the EU and member countries. The findings also imply that developing countries in particular should not wait to implement waste reduction policies until household incomes and consumption levels increase.
- Municipal waste generation
- socio-economic drivers