In recent years reducing the amount of waste generated by households has become an important policy issue in industrialised economies. It is no longer acceptable to discard waste without concern for environmental and natural resource issues. In an effort to reduce household waste various policy instruments such as kerbside charges, deposit‐refund schemes, integrated sales tax exemptions and virgin material taxes, have been proposed and/or implemented. This article reviews the economics literature that has addressed household waste management. It is argued that a comprehensive modelling framework is necessary if the complex policy environment is to be accurately described.