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Research article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

How have waste management policies impacted the flow of municipal waste? An empirical analysis of 14 European countries

Malek, Wasim; Mortazavi, Reza; Cialani, Catia; Nordstrom, Jonas


Waste management policies aim to divert waste from lower positions on the waste hierarchy such as landfill and incineration to higher positions in the hierarchy such as energy recovery and recycling. However, empirical evaluations of such policies are scarce. This study highlighted the effect of waste management policies on the amount of waste treated with landfill, incineration, energy recovery and recycling by analysing a panel dataset consisting of 14 European countries and the period 1996 to 2018. Findings from a seemingly unrelated regression model suggest that the landfill ban is associated with a decrease in landfill waste, but an increase in incineration, energy recovery and recycling waste. The landfill tax is also correlated with an increase in energy recovery waste but, in contrast, it is associated with a reduction in incineration and recycling waste. Meanwhile, the deposit refund scheme is associated with a decrease in the amount of landfill waste. Concerning the effects on total waste generated, regression results from a fixed effects model indicate that the landfill tax and the deposit refund scheme are both correlated with a reduction in the amount of waste generated. These findings contribute to the scarce academic literature evaluating waste management policies and may better inform policy makers on their longer-term implications.


Deposit refund scheme; Deposit return scheme; Incineration tax; Landfill ban; Landfill tax; Waste management

Published in

Waste Management
2023, Volume: 164, pages: 84-93

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG7 Affordable and clean energy
    SDG12 Responsible consumption and production

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Environmental Management

    Publication identifier


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