Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date


Document Number



Amid changing attitudes about the environment and increasing sustainability concerns, many countries around the world aim to curb waste generation, especially the generation of hazardous wastes. Beginning in the late 1970’s and occurring increasingly since, governments and international bodies are passing legislation and treaties dealing with the reduction of hazardous waste generation and waste minimization in general. For future waste minimization policies to have an impact on hazardous waste generation, methods for determining where the ultimate responsibility for hazardous waste generation lies need to be explored. This paper examines hazardous waste generation in the United States at the industry level and uses two different specifications of the commodity by industry input-output framework to conduct attribution analyses. These analyses allow for the determination of direct and indirect responsibility of both industries and final consumers for hazardous waste generation. An industry level analysis shows that only a few industries are responsible for a majority of hazardous waste generated in the US. Both attribution analyses suggest that in general, household consumption is largely responsible for direct and indirect hazardous waste generation. Looking more closely, there are noticeable differences in final demand attribution across industries. These results can be used by policymakers to inform and fashion rational and effective laws according to more specific objectives aimed at minimizing hazardous waste generation in the United States.