Waste management capacity plays a prominent role in complying with circular economy goals, such as reducing municipal waste disposal by landfilling to 10%. We first analyze the imbalance in municipal solid waste management across Italy by estimating the quantities of waste to be treated using technologies different from those currently in use. Subsequently, we estimate the impact that a system compliant with circular economy goals would have on the cost of waste management. Our empirical analyses are based on an econometric method. The results suggest that Italy could reduce the use of landfill by 11.5%, resulting in a 13% reduction in mechanical-biological treatment. The waste-to-energy capacity would rise by 4.6% compared to the current situation, while the organic fraction treatment capacity would increase by 8.3%. Besides the positive impact on the environment, the potential annual savings on the cost of waste management could reach 0.07%, or 0.27% when the phase corresponding to treatment and disposal is considered. We provide insights into the design of more efficient national waste management plans using a novel approach based on best performers
Municipal solid waste collection and disposal service is a key element of the European strategy aimed at moving towards a circular economy. An efficient municipal solid waste collection and disposal is closely related to both lower waste tax and higher welfare of the interested population. In Italy, the lack of a centralized regulatory framework has determined heterogeneous performances of sector operators across the country. Firstly, we estimate the productive efficiency in different optimal territorial areas and secondly we forecast the economic benefits that would arise under a new regulatory regime. Our approach combines the well-known yardstick competition and the price-cap mechanisms. Results suggest that if all territorial areas converged to the most efficient ones, a potential saving between 12% and 19% emerges, i.e., up to €2bn savings out of €10.05bn total tax revenue in 2015, the reference year.