Title: Same material different recycling standards: comparing the municipal solid waste standards of the European Union, South Korea and the USA

Authors: Seejeen Park; T.J. Lah

Addresses: Department of Public Administration, KwangWoon University, Seoul, South Korea ' Department of Public Administration, Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea

Abstract: Extant comparative research in municipal solid waste (MSW) management has conducted analyses across multiple countries and regions in an attempt to identify successful MSW management practices and increase MSW recycling. Furthermore, international organisations such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) have published annual reports discussing the status quo of MSW management and recycling practices in their member countries. As the characterisation of waste and recyclables varies across nations, comparability problems can occur. Nonetheless, extant research has not yet conducted a national-level comparison of MSW characterisation and calculation methods across multiple countries. The current study attempts to fill this gap by investigating the variations in MSW definitions and calculation standards in the European Union (EU), South Korea and the USA The findings indicate that recycling performance fluctuates significantly depending on which standard is adopted. South Korea is found to use the most conservative standards, yet its recycling rate is the highest regardless of which standard is applied. Future directions and implications for both research and practice are discussed.

Keywords: municipal solid waste; MSW; recycling performance; waste characterisation; waste standards; European Union; South Korea; USA.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEWM.2018.091326

International Journal of Environment and Waste Management, 2018 Vol.21 No.1, pp.80 - 93

Available online: 20 Apr 2018 *

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