The European Union advocates a plastic waste recycling rate of more than 55%. Even for the Netherlands, which has already invested heavily in recycling plastic waste of households, it will still be a challenge to meet this target. The preferred solution to fulfil this target in the Netherlands is implementing separate collection schemes at the curbside, although some municipalities invested in post-separation. We show, based on data for 2013–2014, that post-collection separation is an advisable alternative, with an increased separation of plastic waste compared with home separation. This is even slightly the case if home separation is combined with a unit-based pricing system for unsorted waste and with a frequent door-to-door collection of plastic waste. Moreover, there are indications that the cost effectiveness of recycling plastic waste increases if post separation is chosen. In addition, some claim that unit-based pricing of unsorted waste is important to create an awareness effect to buy less packaging material. However, based on the combination of post separation and unit-based pricing, we have no indication for such awareness effect as the price effect on the amount of plastic waste is insignificantly small.

Cost effectiveness, Home separation, Plastic waste, Post separation, Recycling,
Environmental and Resource Economics
Erasmus School of Economics

Dijkgraaf, E, & Gradus, R.H.J.M. (2020). Post-collection Separation of Plastic Waste: Better for the Environment and Lower Collection Costs?. Environmental and Resource Economics. doi:10.1007/s10640-020-00457-6