Steunpunt SuMMa 2012-2015

Cluster 3: socio-economische aspecten

In deze Cluster wordt de milieukundige analyse uitgebreid met economische aspecten.

Duurzaamheid behelst zowel een milieukundig als een economisch perspectief. In deze Cluster wordt de milieukundige analyse uitgebreid met economische aspecten. Hoe kunnen de milieubaten afgewogen tegenover de economische kosten? Om inzichten in Duurzaam Materialenbeheer om te zetten tot gedragsveranderingen zijn ook economische prikkels nodig. Cluster 3 onderzoekt en ontwikkelt economische instrumenten die stimulansen geven om de transitie verder te zetten. Naast de efficiëntie en de effectiviteit van beleidsinstrumenten focust de cluster ook op de interactie en de afstemming van verschillende instrumenten.

Onderzoekslijnen binnen deze cluster

  • RL6 - Techno-economic assessment
    Rob Hoogmartens, Prof. dr. Steven Van Passel, Prof. dr. Karel Van Acker
  • RL7 - Interaction of policy instruments
    Rob Hoogmartens, Prof. dr. Steven Van Passel, Prof. dr. Johan Eyckmans, Dr. Maarten Dubois

Publicaties binnen deze cluster

 Projecten binnen deze cluster




Extended Exporter Responsibility for waste management of durable goods

Conference paper presented at Ecological Economics and Institutional Dynamics, ESEE, 18-21 juni 2013, Lille

Dubois M.

Exportation of used durable goods from Europe such as vehicles and Electrical and Electronic Equipment brings developing countries both the blessing from cheap goods and the curse from uncontrolled waste management. Using a stylised economic model, this paper compares the interaction and incentives for exportation from policy instruments for waste management in Europe: Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), disposal taxes, export taxes and subsidies for recyclers in developing countries. The paper shows that a disposal tax weakens EPR effectiveness. In addition, if demand for new goods is inelastic and export is possible, a European disposal tax increases global disposal of waste. Extended Exporter’s Responsibility (EER) can improve global efficiency of waste management practices. EER is a combination of an export tax with a recycling subsidy in the developing world. Since EER would reduce the incentives for export of hazardous waste, the need for inspections on exported goods would decrease. As an equivalent alternative to EER, EPR targets can be implemented for exported goods. Producers would not only stimulate more sustainable recycling practices in the developing world but would also better internalise the external costs of waste management. In a more general way, the paper contributes to a better understanding of policy instruments such that resource efficiency in Europe can be improved without negative aspects for the rest of the world. 

Opportunities and drawbacks of tradable recycling certificates

Conference paper presented at 14th International Waste Management & Landfill Symposium, IWWG, 1-4 oktober 2013, Sardinia 

Dubois M., Hoogmartens R., Van Passel S. & Vanderreydt I.

In order to deal with the complexity of waste and materials management, policy makers are increasingly turning to economic instruments that create market incentives for sustainable waste management while allowing flexibility and room for innovation. The paper focuses on an economic instrument that currently attracts a lot of policy interest: Tradable Recycling Certificates (TRC). A literature review is combined with an analysis of existing tradable certificate schemes to investigate three research questions. For which policy challenges can TRC be used? What are the main barriers for implementation? How does it compare to other instruments such as disposal taxes, refunded taxes or Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)?

The assessment shows that TRC can be used for three policy ambitions: improving the recycling rates of waste treatment firms, raising the recycled content of new products and raising the End-of-Life Recycling Rate (EoL-RR) of products or materials. Although these three policy ambitions seem similar at first sight, TRC incentives would be different because the requirement to purchase certificates and the generation of certificates would be adjudicated to other actors.

In order to use TRC for waste and materials management, policy makers should overcome four important barriers. First, considering that the definition of waste has led to many legal disputes, the definition of recycling could also be controversial. End-of-Waste criteria may prove helpful in overcoming this barrier. Second, in order to limit transaction costs, TRC design should ensure liquidity and accessibility of the certificate market. Liquidity will be better if implemented at EU level than if implemented at Member State level. Third, stakeholder lobbying may significantly impact TRC effectiveness. Compromises on TRC design should not lead to weak, inflexible or static targets. Finally, TRC may interact with other policy instruments such as disposal taxes or direct regulation. TRC should only be introduced if they are a complement to existing policies.

The comparison of TRC with other policy instruments highlights that TRC are not always the most suitable instrument. Refunded taxes have similar effects but without the hassle of trading. Indeed compared to disposal taxes both instruments strengthen international competitiveness of domestic waste management companies. In addition, because both instruments create competitive advantages for firms with strong recycling performances, support for implementation could also be found within the targeted sector. If policy makers want to improve the EoL-RR, TRC can be used to implement EPR. This happens for example in the UK Packaging Recovery Notes system. However, more research is needed to assess whether EPR with TRC is more efficient than EPR with a producer responsibility organisation.