ABSTRACT

For the most part, Americans pay nothing for their trash collection and dis-posal in the marginal private cost (MPC) sense. In the vast majority of citiesand towns where some kind of collection is provided, its cost is covered either from general fund revenues or from a flat charge on residents, where by flat charge is meant a charge for the service that is not related to the amount of trash that is put out for pickup (Jenkins 1993). It makes no difference with respect to household trash-generation incentives whether the general fund or a special time-based trash charge is used; the end result is the same-the MPC of putting out an additional unit of waste is zero (Kemper and Quigley 1976). And if a special time-based trash charge is used, it makes no difference whether the total revenue collected from households covers the total cost of household trash collection; the end result is still the same-the MPC of putting out an additional unit of waste is zero.