Is Recycling Effective? Evidence from California between 2004 and 2017

Christos A. Makridis


Using county data from California between 2004 and 2017, this article exploits changes in households’ exposure to hazardous waste recycling to identify the effects on potential environmental and economic outcomes. While a 10% rise in recycling per household is associated with a 0.28% and 0.94% improvement in air quality and a decline in the number of unhealthy days in a year, recycling is associated with a rise in net energy generation and fuel consumption and not associated with economic activity. There is some evidence that households in zip codes with higher housing values and population density value reductions in hazardous waste.


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