A landfill tax might not be the best solution, by Greg Vogt

The question posed by Mr. Andrew Kouskouris returns to the issue of using special taxes to achieve certain policy goals. Some do not support taxes of any kind, while some support special taxes directed for special costs, purposes, or society benefits. Certainly if one significantly increases a special tax on a certain item, say a pair of shoes, less people will buy shoes. If you support total diversion of waste away from landfills, then raise the special tax to the level you require to meet your goal. This may not be the most efficient way to shift society's resources, but you will have accomplished your goal.

The arguments against a harmonized landfill tax might include:
- expensive, time consuming to execute
- there may be no 'fair' number or method to harmonize
- other, better tools might be well suited to accomplish the same 'landfill diversion' goal (e.g., market forces, permits, etc.)
- often times creative tax credits work better than direct taxes
- we do not want passage of taxes on waste disposal/treatment facilities methods to become too popular government authorities.

Best regards,

Greg Vogt
Managing Director
International Solid Waste Association
Vienna, Austria

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