The Economic Feasibility of Recycling: A Case Study of Plastic Wastes

The Economic Feasibility of Recycling: A Case Study of Plastic Wastes

The Economic Feasibility of Recycling: A Case Study of Plastic Wastes

The Economic Feasibility of Recycling: A Case Study of Plastic Wastes

Synopsis

The Economic Feasibility of Recycling: A Case Study of Plastic Waste s is the first book to provide a general overview of the major issues at the heart of the recycle/disposal question. Analyzing in nontechnical language the incentives for and barriers to recycling, this new work examines a broad range of topics, including: the various recycle processes, how the various disposal methods affect the environment, what role the public and private sectors play in the decision-making process.

Excerpt

A significant amount of work has been done in recent years to address the problems, as well as opportunities, posed by the production and accumulation of plastic wastes. However, the vast majority of work has focused on technological questions and has largely neglected the economic and institutional incentives and barriers that may have a pronounced impact on the degree to which recycling technologies are ultimately adopted in the marketplace. This book addresses the problems and opportunities associated with plastics recycling from an economic perspective, and reviews numerous economic and institutional factors that have not heretofore been studied -- factors that may largely determine whether future plastic wastes will be disposed of or recycled.

The increased interest in plastics recycling has arguably resulted from three important trends. First, the production and use of plastic resins in the United States has more than quadrupled during the past two decades. Plastics now compose approximately six percent of the typical municipal waste stream and projections indicate that this percentage will increase during the coming decade. Virtually every market segment now uses plastics in some form as technological innovations result in new plastic resins and composites with widely varying physical and chemical properties. Furthermore, it is generally agreed that most markets will increase their usage of plastic resins in coming years as the properties and cost competitiveness of more conventionally used materials are surpassed by those of existing and forthcoming plastics.

Second, while the relative price of plastic resins and materials has decreased in relation to the prices of metals and paper products during recent years, resin prices have increased dramatically in absolute terms. The price . . .

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