The Causes of the Municipal Solid Waste and the Greenhouse Gas Emissions from the Waste Sector in the United States

Seungtaek Lee, Jonghoon Kim, Oswald Chong

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The United State generates the most waste among OECD countries, and there are adverse effects of the waste generation. One of the most serious adverse effects is greenhouse gas, especially CH4, which causes global warming. However, the amount of waste generation is not decreasing, and the United State recycling rate, which could reduce waste generation, is only 26%, which is lower than other OECD countries. Thus, waste generation and greenhouse gas emission should decrease, and in order for that to happen, identifying the causes should be made a priority. The research objective is to verify whether the Environmental Kuznets Curve relationship is supported for waste generation and GDP across the U.S. Moreover, it also confirmed that total waste generation and recycling waste influences carbon dioxide emissions from the waste sector. The annual-based U.S. data from 1990 to 2012 were used. The data were collected from various data sources, and the Granger causality test was applied for identifying the causal relationships. The results showed that there is no causality between GDP and waste generation, but total waste and recycling generation significantly cause positive and negative greenhouse gas emissions from the waste sector, respectively. This implies that the waste generation will not decrease even if GDP increases. And, if waste generation decreases or recycling rate increases, the greenhouse gas emission will decrease. Based on these results, it is expected that the waste generation and carbon dioxide emission from the waste sector can decrease more efficiently.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1074-1079
Number of pages6
JournalProcedia Engineering
StatePublished - 2016
EventInternational Conference on Sustainable Design, Engineering and Construction, ICSDEC 2016 - Tempe, United States
Duration: May 18 2016May 20 2016


  • Environmental Kuznets Curve
  • Granger causality
  • Greenhouse gas
  • Municipal solid waste
  • Recycling
  • Waste sector

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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