Discussion Paper

The Determinants of Household Recycling: A Material Specific Analysis of Unit Pricing and Recycling Program Attributes

Oct 1, 1999 | Robin R. Jenkins, Salvador A. Martinez, Karen L. Palmer, Michael J. Podolsky


This paper examines the impact of two popular solid waste programs on the percent recycled of several different materials found in the residential solid waste stream. We examine a unique, national, household-level data set containing information on the percent recycled of five different materials: glass bottles, plastic bottles, aluminum, newspaper, and yard waste. We find that access to curbside recycling has a significant and substantial positive effect on the percentage recycled of all five materials and that the level of this effect varies across different materials. The length of the recycling program’s life has a significant and positive effect on two of the five materials and a mandatory recycling requirement does not affect any materials. The level of the unit price has an insignificant effect on all five materials.