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Relationship between recycling rate and air pollution: Waste management in the state of Massachusetts

Giovanis, Eleftherios (2015) Relationship between recycling rate and air pollution: Waste management in the state of Massachusetts. Waste Management, 40. pp. 192-203. ISSN 0956-053X

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Abstract

This study examines the relationship between recycling rate of solid waste and air pollution using data from a waste municipality survey in the state of Massachusetts during the period 2009-2012. Two econometric approaches are applied. The first approach is a fixed effects model, while the second is a Stochastic Frontier Analysis (SFA) with fixed effects model. The advantage of the first approach is the ability of controlling for stable time invariant characteristics of the municipalities, thereby eliminating potentially large sources of bias. The second approach is applied in order to estimate the technical efficiency and rank of each municipality accordingly. The regressions control for various demographic, economic and recycling services, such as income per capita, population density, unemployment, trash services, Pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) program and meteorological data. The findings support that a negative relationship between particulate particles in the air 2.5μm or less in size (PM<inf>2.5</inf>) and recycling rate is presented. In addition, the pollution is increased with increases on income per capita up to $23,000-$26,000, while after this point income contributes positively on air quality. Finally, based on the efficiency derived by the Stochastic Frontier Analysis (SFA) model, the municipalities which provide both drop off and curbside services for trash, food and yard waste and the PAYT program present better performance regarding the air quality.

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