to return the product. There is, however, some doubt as to whether a refund in itself would be sufficient to encourage consumers to return an infrequently discarded product like nickel-cadmium batteries. Our scheme instead relies on the profit motive of collection enterprises in searching for the best way to recover batteries. The refund to consumers might remain as one component of this system, to the extent that it contributes to increased returns. For the consumer who chooses not to return batteries, the tax passed on in higher battery prices acts to reduce use and shift demand toward less toxic substitutes. (Ideally, other harmful batteries would be covered by similar collection programs, with taxes set by product type.)
The final disposition of the batteries could be either controlled storage, disposal, or sale to recycling plants. With the sharply fluctuating and often low prices for cadmium, the environmental concerns associated with recycling plants, and the costs of separating nickel-cadmium batteries from other types of batteries, there seems to be little incentive for recycling. As a result, government efforts to promote recycling might face the frequent need to subsidize the industry during periods of low prices. The likelihood of these subsidies, the expected high costs of a collection system, and the potential exposure problems associated with recycling make it doubtful whether recycling is preferable to a program of controlled disposal or storage.
Anulf, T. 1989. "SAB NIFE Recycling Concept for Nickel-Cadmium Batteries: An Industrialized and Environmentally Safe Process." Pp. 161-163 in Sidney A. Hiscock and Rosalind A. Volpe, eds., Cadmium 89. Proceedings of the Sixth International Cadmium Conference, Paris, April 19- 21 ( London: Cadmium Association).
Bohm, Peter. 1981. Deposit-Refund Systems: Theory and Application to Environmental, Conservation, and Consumer Policy ( Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press for Resources for the Future).
-----, and Clifford S. Russell. 1985. "Comparative Analysis of Alternative Policy Instruments." Pp. 395-433 in Allen V. Kneese and James L. Sweeney , eds., Handbook of Natural Resources and Energy Economics ( New York: North-Holland).
Bromley, J., P. J. Young, P. Rushbrook, and J. Bentley. 1983. "Environmental Aspects of the Release and Fate of Cadmium in Municipal Landfills, with Reference to the Use and Disposal of Nickel-Cadmium Batteries and Pigmented Plastics."