Inter-American Development Bank Regional Policy DialogueWashington, DC, USAFebruary 2003
Economic Instruments for the Solid Waste Sector
Economic Instruments for Solid Waste Management –A Global Framework Paper
This is the summary of a document prepared for the Regional Policy Dialogue of Latin Americancountries in February 2003 in Washington D.C. The report contains an overview of the availableinternational literature and information on the application of economic instruments in solid wastemanagement. Examples from a wide range of high-income and developing countries are includedin the report with numerous references, most of which are accessible through the internet citationprovided.
The Case for Economic Instruments
Economic instruments are being individually applied on an ad hoc basis to the solid waste sector.No reference was found in the global literature indicating that any country had made acomprehensive effort to develop the full range of viable economic instruments in solid wastemanagement. When viewed collectively, as done by the document summarized herein, theseinstruments show tremendous promise to improve solid waste management. Their applicationrequires site-specific study in each country to determine whether the capacity exists forimplementation and whether related prices would be affordable. Given that economicinstruments incorporate the polluter-pays principle, product pricing and solid waste service costswill be increased. Therefore, national policies and international agreements are desired tominimize impacts on trade competitiveness and also to reduce interstate disposal traffic andclandestine dumping.There are dozens of instruments available. Typically, they would complement existing regulatoryrequirements for the sector, and should not be seen as a replacement for a competent appropriateregulatory framework. As with regulations, they also involve administration, baselineinformation, public outreach, and performance monitoring. While each instrument addressesdifferent sector needs, collectively they have the following objectives: reduced waste generation,increased recyclables content, reduced hazardous materials content, increased recyclability afteruse, stimulation of market demand for products that are more recyclable and result in reduceddisposal impact on the environment, stimulation of private sector investment and participation inthe solid waste sector, lessening of pollutant loadings associated with solid waste management,
This paper was written to provide a basis for the policy dialogue among environmental ministries at theInter-American Development Bank’s annual regional summit, held in February 2003.
The paper was written by Eng. Sandra Cointreau, solid waste specialist, with input from Atty. ConstanceHornig on matters of solid waste regulatory controls, financial instruments, and service contracting. Eng.Nancy Cunningham developed case example material on Philadelphia, Pa. Ms. Maya Cointreau conductedliterature search and provided final editing. Mr. David Wilk, Ms. Silvia Ortiz and Mr. Michael Toman of the Inter-American Development Bank provided guidance and coordinated the review and comment efforts.