Waste Management Behaviour of Households: A Case Study of a Strike in Saskatchewan

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  • Canadians produced 1 tonne of solid waste per capita in 1988 (CCME 1989). This level of solid waste production places Canada among the largest producers of solid waste per capita in the world. Due to decreasing landfill capacity, and the increasing cost of solid waste disposal in landfills to 50% of 1988 levels by the year 2000. A variety of economic instruments may be used to reduce total amount of waste generated, and change the proportion of waste that is discarded, by encouraging recycling and composting as an alternative to dumping in landfills. While economic instruments are usually implemented by governments, in this paper we examine the impact of economic instruments that arose as a result of a strike by waste removal workers. Our analysis is based on a natural experiment that resulted when, from August 15 to October 19, 1994, there was no residential waste removal in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan because of such a strike. We first present a brief overview of some of the economic instruments that may be applied to solid waste collection. We then outline the research methods used in this study and describe the waste disposal system in Saskatoon, relating the effects of a strike to conventional economic instruments. This is followed by a discussion of the waste disposal/reduction systems available during the strike and the preliminary results. The results demonstrate that residents modified their behaviour in response to the strike and the at some of these behaviour modifications continued after the strike. The paper concludes with a discussion of these changes and suggestions for further research.

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    Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 International