Household Responses to Pricing Garbage by the Bag
This chapter uses original data gathered from individual households to estimate responses to the implementation of a price per bag of garbage. It describes the steps taken to gather the data from individual households in Charlottesville, including steps to control for seasonal or other variations. The chapter provides two indirect measures of the increase in illegal dumping. It then discusses the pros and cons of collecting revenue from unit pricing, calculates the effect of introducing a minimum of one bag per week, and conducts a simple cost-benefit comparison. Beginning in November of 1991, Charlottesville implemented a voluntary curbside recycling program. The city provided each household with a free plastic recycling container in which to place any glass, tin, newspaper, aluminum, and certain plastics. The biggest concern to policy makers considering unit pricing in their communities is the possibility of increases in illegal forms of garbage disposal.