Decoupling municipal solid waste generation and economic growth in the canton of Vaud, Switzerland

Switzerland is one of the largest producers of municipal solid waste (MSW) per capita. The principle of decoupling attempts to evaluate the relationship between consumption and production, and to measure the relationship between an activity and its impact on the environment. This paper uses the Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) hypothesis to understand the impact of three socio-economic drivers on MSW generation in the canton of Vaud in Switzerland. Vaud is a French-speaking canton that recently implemented several measures to limit MSW generation. We used time series of indicators for income, urbanisation and policy implementation in ten of the canton’s districts, which were set as independent variables, between 1996 and 2015. A panel data analysis was performed using a generalized least squares procedure to test for an EKC. Evidence shows that urbanization was slightly negatively associated with MSW generation, but without statistical significance. However, a direct policy mechanism such as the waste bag tax was significantly correlated with a decrease in waste generation. Overall, the presence of an EKC cannot be confirmed in the canton of Vaud, as waste generation tends to stabilize as income increases. It would be useful to perform a similar assessment in other cantons to fully inform decision-makers.

Published in:
Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 130, 260-266

 Record created 2017-08-19, last modified 2020-10-24

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