Valuation of externalities of selected waste management alternatives: A comparative review and analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Accessible and transparent data on the social costs of externalities is crucial to waste management researchers, decision-makers, and managers, if waste management strategies are to be successfully analyzed and implemented. The primary objective of this study, which is based on a thorough review of existing literature and research, was to assist the abovementioned in their decision-making with reliable recent data, by mapping, gathering, analyzing, and comparing different valuation results of external costs associated with various types of pollution and disamenities related to landfilling and incineration of solid waste. The second objective was to assess the suitability and reliability of various valuation methods and techniques that were implemented in the reviewed valuation studies, as well as the transferability of valuations across sites. The paper focuses on studies conducted since 1990, because in dynamic fields such as the waste sector, externalities, and valuation, it is essential to stay current with the most recent information and valuations. We discuss the issues and the limits of the valuation techniques and analyze the estimates of all the studies, presenting the results in the form of intervals and averages of damage costs. In spite of the inconsistencies evident in the variability in the results we reviewed, the outcome of this first comprehensive critical analysis is significant and the valuations obtained in this study provide estimates of orders of magnitude of external costs that can be used by decision makers in the waste sector to address important policy questions associated with social welfare.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-364
Number of pages30
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
An earlier version of this paper was presented at the ISWA congress, Rome 2004 ( Eshet et al., 2004 ). Financial support from Sapir Foundation of Mifal Hapayis, Israel, is gratefully acknowledged. The authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers of RCR for their useful comments.


  • Disamenities
  • Externalities
  • Incinerator
  • Landfill
  • Valuation
  • Waste management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Economics and Econometrics


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