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Household waste recycling: national survey evidence from Italy

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The paper analyses the determinants of household recycling in Italy, with particular emphasis on social behaviours. The econometric analysis is based on two waves – 1998 and 2000 – of the Multipurpose Household Survey conducted annually by the Italian Central Statistics Office. In Italy, household recycling was substantially voluntary in the years from 1998 to 2000-with no monetary incentives or pecuniary sanctions. Five different materials are investigated: paper, glass, plastic, aluminium and food waste. The results of the probit regressions suggest that membership in non-profit associations, church attendance, the habit of talking politics and reading newspapers are significantly correlated with household recycling behaviour; while gender, age, education and household income play the biggest role. The findings also show that the presence of recycling bins for waste improves household recycling behaviour for all materials, whereas the difficulty of reaching recycling bins adversely affects household recycling outcomes. Household judgements on waste disposal charges have no effect on the recycling effort. Residency in southern Italy is associated with the lowest probability of recycling all materials.
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Keywords: flat fee; household recycling; recycling bins; social behaviour; social capital; statistical matching

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Economic Studies ‘Salvatore Vinci’, University of Napoli ‘Parthenope’, Via Medina 40 Napoli, 80133, Italy

Publication date: October 1, 2013

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