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Recycling: Cost Benefit Analysis

April 2007 Ref. CR14

In April 2007, the Ministry for the Environment commissioned Covec to examine the costs and benefits of recycling.

The study looked at the following questions:

  • What are the economic costs and benefits of diverting a number of waste streams from current disposal practices?
  • What is the net economic effect of given levels of recovery of each of these wastes, ie, how do the costs and benefits compare?
  • Are there opportunities for net economic benefits from increased levels of diversion of individual waste streams?

The study is not comprehensive of all waste streams but assesses the costs and benefits of recycling some of the more important materials by volume. These are: paper, plastics, glass, organic waste (kitchen waste and greenwaste), construction and demolition waste, tyres, used oil.

The report does not consider the costs and benefits of all waste management options. Rather, it compares the costs and benefits of recycling, and particularly household kerbside recycling, relative to landfill disposal.

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