Future waste management in the UK will have to address the problem of rising costs of waste disposal. The current financial costs of landfill disposal represent an under pricing of the waste assimilative capacity of the environment. Economic, social and political pressures over the coming decade will serve to force up disposal costs closer to the “true” economic cost to society. The cost rise will have important positive ramifications for waste minimisation and waste recycling. It is argued that rational decision making in the waste management context has been made more difficult in the UK because of a series of failures: information failure; lack of “systems” thinking; institutional failure; lack of economic cost‐benefit thinking.
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