Examining solid waste management issues in the City of Bryan

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Texas A&M University

Economic aspects of household recycling behavior and attitudes in City of Bryan are examined to improve solid waste management policies in the city. Using survey data collected by mail and personal interviews, residents?? attitudes towards solid waste management are analyzed, in general, and specifically, the factors influencing recycling behavior examined using logistic regression. In addition, three alternative policies are presented to respondents. First, support for an additional drop-off recycling center (Policy I) is examined. Second, WTP for two different recycling programs, curbside recycling service (Policy II), and curbside recycling with a drop-off recycling center (Policy III), as a function of socio-economic factors thought to influence WTP are computed using contingent valuation method, an indirect valuation tool. Finally, preference for a particular policy among the three alternatives presented to the residents of Bryan is explored. Because of the different data collection modes and assumptions on the bid prices two logit models are estimated to examine recycling behavior, and Policy I and two multinomial logit models for the most preferred policy, whereas four logit models are estimated for Policy II and III.
The estimated models are similar both within the Policies and between the Policies in terms of the affects of variables, significance of coefficients, and consistency with previous studies indicating a potential set of factors that can be used to explain WTP for recycling services. Bryan residents that are female, white, employed, have higher incomes, have children, own a house, and are self-perceived environmentalists tend to recycle more. Similarly, males, nonwhites, older respondents, students, non-environmentalists and non-recyclers are more likely to support an additional drop-off center. WTP for Policy II is positively influenced by males, whites, respondents who are employed, low-income respondents, environmentalists, non-recyclers, and those who support Policy I. In comparison, WTP for Policy III is positively influenced by females, whites, respondents who are employed, younger respondents, environmentalists, non-recyclers, and those who support Policy I. In the case of both Policies I and II, the bid price negatively influences WTP as expected. While the WTP for Policy II is slightly higher than the estimated cost of a curbside recycling service ($2.50), the WTP for Policy III is lower than the estimated cost. No consistent pattern emerges across most of the coefficients and the four possible alternatives, three proposed policies and the current situation. However, probabilities computed using the multinomial logit results is the highest for Policy II, followed by either Policy III or no change to the existing solid waste management policy.