Environmental Economics

Unit Pricing of Residential Solid Waste: A Preliminary Analysis of 212 U.S. Communities

This report and preliminary analysis summarizes a database of 212 unit pricing programs representing communities in thirty states. Included in the database is information on each community's unit-based pricing program, recycling program, yard waste collection program, solid waste educational efforts, illegal diversion, and waste disposal and recycling outcomes. Previous statistical analyses of the performance of unit pricing programs include household studies within a single community, across communities with small sample sizes, or within a single region, state or set of case studies. While these have produced insights on household waste disposal and recycling behavior, several remaining questions may best be answered by comparing outcomes among different programs in communities with varying geographic and demographic characteristics. The 212 unit pricing programs for which comprehensive data have been composed represent a subset of a
larger database that lists unit pricing communities across the U.S. through June 1998 including their population, program type, and date of implementation. Other materials shown are a listing of the twenty-five largest unit pricing communities in the U.S. and the container preference by state.
This report is part of a series of reports listed above that have been developed to systematically analyze the performance of unit pricing. As with the other reports in this series, this report has neither been reviewed nor approved by U.S. EPA for publication as an EPA report. The contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of U.S. EPA, nor does the mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation for use. These reports are made available only for their scientific use. The other reports in this series, which can be accessed through the links above, are:

    Unit Pricing Programs for Residential Municipal Solid Waste: An Assessment of the Literature
    This report analyzes the most significant literature on unit pricing programs to determine the degree to which unit pricing programs meet their stated goals. In doing so, the report highlights those areas where analysts generally agree on the outcomes associated with unit pricing, as well as those areas where substantial controversy remains. After a brief discussion of the economics that underlies unit pricing, this report presents an analysis of unit pricing in three broad categories: program features, the outcomes associated with unit pricing, and issues involved with designing and implementing the system.
    Unit Pricing of Residential Municipal Solid Waste: Lessons from Nine Case Study Communities
    This report provides an overview of case studies of nine municipalities that have implemented unit pricing for residential waste collection. This overview analyzes the various characteristics of the nine unit pricing programs, assesses program outcomes, and compares the results with findings from an in-depth literature review. The nine communities are: Downers Grove, Illinois; Glendale, California; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Hoffman Estates, Illinois; Lansing, Michigan; Pasadena, California; San Jose, California; Santa Monica, California; and Woodstock, Illinois. The detailed case studies for the nine communities are appended to this report.
    The Urban Performance of Unit Pricing: An Analysis of Variable Rates for Residential Garbage Collection in Urban Areas
    This report focuses on the question: how does unit pricing for residential waste collection perform in large, urban areas? This study examines the existing unit pricing literature to highlight key areas of agreement and disagreement among solid waste professionals regarding the performance of variable rate pricing. Outcomes in three urban unit pricing cities - Grand Rapids, MI; Lansing, MI and San Jose, CA - and their materials collection programs are analyzed, supplemented whenever possible with information from 10 other urban variable rate pricing communities. Finally, this report offers recommendations for the successful implementation of an urban unit pricing system.

    4. Economic Incentives and Other Innovative Approaches
    4. Economic Incentives and Other Innovative Approaches - Pollution Fees/Charges/Taxes
    Environmental Media:
    c. Land
    c. Land - Solid Waste/RCRA
    Miranda, Marie Lynn
    LaPalme, Sharon
    EPA Project Officer/ Manager:
    Podolsky, Michael
    Geographic Area:
    United States
    Study Purpose:
    Data Development
    Report Series:
    Unit Pricing Programs for Residential Municipal Solid Waste
    Inventory Record #: EE-0350
    List of all reports in the Series:
  • Participating Organizations

    Research Organization:

    Duke University, Nicholas School of the EnvironmentAddress: Box 90328
    City: Durham State: NC ZIP: 27708
    Phone: 919-613-8023 Fax:
    E-mail: mmiranda@duke.edu
    Funding Organization:
    Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Policy, Planning and Evaluation, Economy and Environment DivisionAddress:
    City: Washington State: DC ZIP: 20460
    Phone: Fax:
  • Report Details
    Number of Pages:
    Grant/Contract #:
  • How to Obtain Report

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    Date Linked: 05/28/2009