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Title: Voluntary recycling despite financial disincentives
Authors: Briguglio, Marie
Delaney, Liam
Wood, Alex
Keywords: Recycling (Waste, etc.) -- Case studies -- Malta
Refuse and refuse disposal -- Management -- Malta
Environmental policy -- Malta
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Citation: Briguglio, M., Delaney, L., & Wood, A. (2016). Voluntary recycling despite financial disincentives. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 59(10), 1751-1774.
Abstract: This paper assesses the determinants of take-up of a voluntary waste separation scheme, in a scenario where residents sorted, stored and paid for collection of recycling waste even though mixed waste was collected at the kerbside more conveniently, free of charge and without any quantity limits. Uptake of the scheme was positive, persistent and diverse across localities, offering an opportunity to assess the factors determining voluntary participation in the presence of disincentives. We employ a unique panel data set (n = 4,644) from Malta, including data on recyclable waste kilogrammes collected over the first 86 weeks of the scheme’s operation. Drawing on insights from environmental economics and psychology, a model is empirically estimated. Results indicate that uptake is suppressed by the initial constraints households may face and stimulated by collection frequency. Political vote is an important determinant of participation and this interacts with scheme promotion to create diverse uptake rates.
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