A study into charges to incentivize separate collection and recycling of commercial waste

This research report investigates four possible charge variants that might be used to promote separate collection and recycling of commercial waste in Flanders. The study was commissioned by the Flanders Public Waste Agency, OVAM.

Based on the analysis results for the respective variants, and factoring in experiences with the current charge on incineration of commercial waste as well as earlier variants, the steering group decided that variant 1a should be elaborated in more detail: a charge on the supply of mixed commercial waste paid by those generating the waste. 

A charge of this nature can be readily implemented in Flanders and has the potential to induce a further change in behaviour. For the amount of residual waste produced by businesses the study assumed a price elasticity of 0.4. On this assumption the proposed charge would lead to a reduction in residual waste of between 4.4 and 8.8%. The upper bound could be raised further by setting out and announcing a future “escalator” for the charge, which would create a permanent incentive to reduce the amount of residual waste generated. The study also provides a comprehensive review of the legal aspects of implementation.