Gabriel Webber (ENT fellow) will attend the European Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption and Production (ERSCP). The event will take place at Skiathos Island (Greece) on 1-5th October 2017. Gabriel Webber will present the paper “Free-rider behaviour in unit-pricing systems in waste management”. The authors of this paper are Gabriel Webber, Ignasi Puig (ENT), Maria Calaf (ENT) and Ignazio Cabras.
Unit-pricing schemes in waste management can lead to free-rider behaviour, such as illegal and improper disposal practices. Building on qualitative/quantitative case studies in Spanish municipalities, this paper explores the impacts of unit pricing on local communities. The findings suggest that unit pricing is an efficient instrument to reduce municipal solid waste and to increase recycling. However, the analysis conducted provide evidence of free-riding behaviours associated with unit-pricing, such as waste tourism directed into neighbouring municipalities, or inappropriate refuse waste disposal using bags for recycling waste. These negative impacts can be reduced with smart-designing of unit-pricing schemes, and by increasing participation of local communities into the designing process. Conclusions gathered from this study provide recommendations for practitioners and policy makers on how to overcome free riding.