Date of Original Version
Abstract or Table of Contents
Abstract: "Municipal solid waste recycling is alleged to save precious landfill capacity and lower the use of raw materials. The Environmental Protection Agency and 42 states have set msw recycling goals of 25-70 percent. We examine the volume and composition of household waste, the cost of landfilling and incinerating the waste, and the cost of collection and sorting recyclable materials. The additional cost of collection and cost of sorting are far greater than the revenue from selling recyclable materials or landfilling the waste. None of the examined changes in collection, including drop-off collection, make recycling costs attractive. For Pittsburgh and other cities, recycling significant fractions of municipal solid waste obtained from households harms the environment compared to placing it in a modern landfill."