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Waste taxes at work: Evidence from the canton of Vaud in Switzerland
Ecological Economics  (IF5.389),  Pub Date : 2021-12-29, DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2021.107314
Naomi Pfister, Nicole A. Mathys

This paper estimates the impact of the introduction of a tax on unsorted waste increasing the 35-l bag price from 0.24 to 1.95 CHF in 2013 in the canton of Vaud. Using panel data for 22 districts over the period 2010–2017, we identify the effects over time of the waste tax on unsorted waste and recycling. The neighbouring cantons of Geneva and Valais form our control group. The waste tax decreases the amount of yearly unsorted household-waste by about 47 kg, corresponding to a reduction of about one fourth per inhabitant. The effect is strongest the year after the introduction of the tax and is persistent over time. We further find a robust increase in organic waste recycling. For recycling of paper and glass, the effect is not clear-cut. Interestingly, in terms of weight, the reduction in unsorted waste is not fully compensated by increased recycling. Given that there are no signs for illegal waste disposal, this means that consumers probably reduced their total packaging bought.