Municipal waste management as a polycentric system –the example of Poland


municipal waste
common goods

How to Cite

Ciechelska, A., Kusterka-Jefmańska, M., & Zaremba-Warnke, S. (2023). Municipal waste management as a polycentric system –the example of Poland. Economics and Environment, 83(4), 76–90.


In developed countries, the main burden of waste management rests on the organised (formalised) and massive municipal waste management system. The functioning of these systems is regulated by legislation at the local, national, and international levels. At the same time, some waste fractions are entirely or partially excluded from this system (e.g. bulky waste, second-hand clothing, food, green waste, or metals). As in developing countries, they are partially managed through informal undertakings, the organisation of which, including the mode of operation, scale, or spatial coverage, are diversified. The formal system is organised hierarchically and strictly regulated by law. On the other hand, informal activities are governed by terms and conditions or sets of everyday rules. Thus, municipal waste management in developed countries forms a complex mosaic of activities, organisations and institutions that contribute to reducing waste and its nuisance.

The paper aims to determine whether waste management systems in developed countries have the characteristics facilitating the achievement of the benefits resulting from a polycentric management system. The analysis was conducted using the Polish waste management system as an example. For this purpose, a Theoretical Model for the Commons (Carlisle & Gruby, 2019) was used.


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