Once the Cinderella of public utilities, waste disposal has become one of the most pressing issues of our times. Today the idea of waste evokes poison and destruction of the environment. An increasing but still insufficient amount of waste gets recycled, but another notable quantity disappears in suspicious ways. Managing waste in a proper and sustainable way is nonetheless possible. It requires a complex strategy, designed to reduce the amount of refuse that must be disposed of and its potential for harm; and this entails the production system's involvement and citizens' responsibility. But it also requires efficient technologies for managing all the waste that cannot be recycled.
Antonio Massarutto teaches Economic Policy and Public Economics at the University of Udine and is a research director at the Bocconi University's Centre for Research on Energy and Environmental Economics and Policy (IEFE).