Increasing Sustainability through the Management of Post Consumer Waste: A Study of Recycled Materials for Municipal Solid Waste Management

By Royce Burnett, Vaidyanathan Jayaraman, Mark Friedman and Jonathan West.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

During the past two decades there has been an increasing concern regarding the disposal of consumer products since many of these products contain large amounts of waste and substantial quantities of toxic heavy metals. This has given birth to an industrial ecology framework whose main goal for sustainability is to create a system in which discarded and returned products serve as a raw material input for the reprocessing, refurbishing and remanufacturing of new products. In this article, we explore the implications for the future of current trends, practices and policies in the generation and management of municipal solid waste (MSW) with a focus on recycling activities. To do so, we draw on the experience that the county governments in the state of Florida have had with recycling. Florida is used as a basis for our investigation because of the recent efforts adopted by its legislature to monitor recycling and to provide economic and environmental information. There are two major reasons why research on MSW is a fruitful area for exploration. First, huge quantities of municipal solid waste are being generated around the world. Second, evidence suggests that solid waste has value. We hypothesize that the environmental costs of entities that aggressively adopt and maintain a high level of recycling should be low relative to those entities that do not maintain an equally high level of recycling activity. We use data from the counties in the state of Florida to test our hypothesis. As a final step in our analysis, we present a cost-benefit model that identifies how to quantify all the costs and revenues that an organization can accrue from recycling efforts with a goal to make recycling a profitable venture. We perceive that current conditions offer a unique opportunity to assess the role of recycling in environmental cost management policy and development.

Keywords: Municipal Solid Waste Management, Sustainable Development, Recycling

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp.1-14. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 825.022KB).

Dr. Royce Burnett

Department of Accountancy, School of Business Administration, University of Miami, Florida, USA

Royce D. Burnett, PhD, CPA, CMA is an assistant professor of accounting at the University of Miami (Florida) where he teaches cost and management accounting at both the undergraduate and the graduate level. The work of Professor Burnett has been published in several academic journals.

Prof. Vaidyanathan Jayaraman

Professor, Management, School of Business, University of Miami, Coral Gables, USA

Vaidyanathan Jayaraman is an Associate Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Management at University of Miami, Florida where he teaches at the undergraduate, graduate and Executive MBA program. His PhD is from the Ohio State University, Ohio. He has won several teaching awards including the University Wide Teaching Excellence award in 2005 and the School of Business Administration’s Excellence in Teaching award in 2002 and 2006. He has published extensively in main stream journals as well as consulted for several Fortune 100 companies.

Mark Friedman

Department of Accountancy, School of Business Administration, University of Miami, USA

Mark Friedman, PhD, CPA, is an associate professor of accounting at the University of Miami (Florida) where he teaches cost, managerial, financial, and systems at the undergraduate, graduate and Executive MBA level. The work of Professor Friedman has been published in several tier one academic journals and he is currently senior editor of the Accounting Educator’s Journal.

Jonathan West

Department of Political Science, School of Business Administration, University of Miami, USA

Jonathan P. West, PhD is a professor of Political Science and director of the graduate public administration program at the University of Miami (Florida). He has published eight books and over 100 scholarly articles and book chapters. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in American politics, public management and public policy. He is managing editor of Public Integrity journal.

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