Political economy offers arguments for determining which role each collective decision-making mechanism should play in implementing the industrial ecology vision. Solid waste management in the USA involves both economic and political actors, but its public service aspects are diminishing and its private industry aspects are increasing. During this transition, there has been minimal consideration of the characteristics that locate it on the continuum from public to private goods. Here the collection, processing and disposal components of the MSW sector are tested briefly against criteria from the theory of public goods. Table 44.2 summarizes the results: a 'Yes' answer indicates that there is a basis for government intervention.
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