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Abstract

The cost of disposing domestic food waste (DFW) in open landfills is a significant financial expenditure for most Councils in regional Australia. However, there is little information about the extent that householders value the environmental goods and services that are impacted by DFW disposal. This paper presents non-market valuations for a hypothetical kerbside domestic food waste collection service from a household survey in two local government areas in the Central Queensland region. Choice modelling (CM) and contingent valuation method (CVM) were employed to elicit and estimate willingness to pay (WTP) of the community for a DFW collection service. In the CM exercise, latent class analysis results for the sub-groups supporting an improvement option revealed that the respondents’ utility increased by $4.13 for lifespan expansion of the local landfill. On the contrary, the group had $3.05 and $0.28 utility declines for a fortnightly DFW collection service and an increase in the rate of methane emission from DFW disposal, respectively. For the status quo group, utility increased by $5.05 for a landfill lifespan extension but decreased by $16.26 for potential odour from the collection bins. Under the CVM exercise, a Multilogit estimator model for the overall sample population showed a WTP of $30.42 for the service, with 58% participation rate in the improvement option. This valuation study provides policy insights on the importance of full-cost accounting of environmental goods and services attributes, which is useful information for future implementation of voluntary or mandatory DFW diversion schemes.

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