A critical review of economic valuation studies of externalities from incineration and landfilling

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The primary objective of this study was to assist waste management researchers, decision-makers and waste managers at national, regional and local levels, in their decision-making processes, with most recent valuations on the environmental and social costs of externalities associated with various pollutants and disamenities related to landfilling and incineration of municipal solid waste. The aim was achieved by mapping, gathering, analysing, comparing and synthesizing various valuation estimates, based on a thorough review of existing literature. This study provides the first comprehensive review and analysis focused on primary and secondary valuation studies, conducted since 1990. The second objective was to assess the appropriateness and reliability of the valuation methods and techniques that were performed in the reviewed studies. The results of the review are summarized in tables, organized by topics and units of measure and in addition a classified list that describes the profile of the reviewed studies is provided. The results are then analysed and compared, and recommended ranges of the values are presented. The study reveals inconsistency in part of the estimates across the reviewed studies and provides reasonable explanations for the variations. Given the nature of uncertainty, and the difficulties associated with transferring values among different places and cases, these values should be considered mostly as an indication for the order of magnitude of the externalities. Nevertheless, these essential estimates of the external costs can beneficially be used with proper adjustment for each individual case to address important policy questions regarding landfilling and incineration of waste.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)487-504
Number of pages18
JournalWaste Management and Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2005


  • Disamenities
  • Externalities
  • Incinerator
  • Landfill
  • Valuation
  • Waste management
  • Wmr 826-1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Environmental Engineering


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