Waste generation, waste disposal and policy effectiveness: Evidence on decoupling from the European Union

Massimiliano Mazzanti, Roberto Zoboli

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivistapeer review

149 Citazioni (Scopus)


Waste generation andwaste disposal are issues that are becoming increasingly prominent in the environmental arena both from a policy perspective and in the context of delinking analysis.Waste generation is still increasing proportionally with income, and economic and environmental costs associated to landfilling are also increasing. Thus, the need of accelerating the eventual delinking process by the introduction of policies at all stages of waste production and disposal. This paper provides a comprehensive analysis of waste generation, incineration, recycling and landfill dynamics based on panel data for the EU25, to assess the effects of different drivers (economic, structural, policies) and the eventual heterogeneity on such evidence between western and eastern EU countries. We show that for waste generation there is still no absolute delinking trend, although elasticity to income drivers appears lower than in the past. Landfill and other policy effects do not seem to provide backward incentives forwaste prevention. Regarding landfill and incineration, the two trends, as expected, are respectively decreasing and increasing, with policy effects providing a strong driver. It demonstrates the effectiveness of policy even in this early stage of policy implementation. This is essential for an ex post evaluation of existing landfill and incineration directives. Nevertheless, it signals the risk of widening gaps between early adopters and countries which postpone ratification and implementation. It is also worth noting that EU15 and EU10 groups of countries show some different waste trends and driving forces of waste generation and landfill diversion hen analysed separately. We may conclude that although complete delinking is far from being achieved – especially for waste generation, there are some positive signals, and signs of a quite significant role of the EUwaste policies implemented in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)1221-1234
Numero di pagine14
RivistaResources, Conservation and Recycling
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2008


  • Municipal waste
  • Policy effectivenes


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