Waste Management Policy

Consider a policy to cover household garbage collection, wastewater treatment, hazardous waste containment, landfill accumulation, and community cleanup services run by the state. Seems like there are a few policies adjacent to this, including recycling, green electronics initiative, and pollution controls, all of which might be connected to such a policy. But this idea is to represent a country’s waste management industry which handles all the waste that isn’t sorted out by these other services.

Some possible connections:

  • Cost to run increases exponentially with GDP to represent additional waste generated
  • Higher investment improves the environment exponentially
  • Low investment decreases Environmentalist happiness, and high investment increases it
  • Increases State Employee membership
  • Low investment decreases State Employee happiness, and high investment levels out to 0 influence
  • Low investment increases probability of Garbage Scam event, and high investment decreases it
  • Recycling and Green Electronics Initiative policies reduce the cost of running, to represent recyclable and e-waste items being sorted out of general garbage

Could also have a “Garbage” crisis similar to Pollution, to represent material waste littering the streets or accumulating in natural spaces like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Such a crisis might have a few different causes and effects:

  • GDP increases crisis exponentially
  • Car, Bus, Air, and Rail usage all increase crisis slightly (Car Usage probably weighted more)
  • Higher investment in Waste Management lowers crisis exponentially
  • Keep The Country Tidy Campaign slightly lowers crisis, to represent reduction in littering behavior
  • Plant Based Diets slightly lowers crisis, to represent less trash generated
  • Compulsory Work For The Unemployed slightly lowers crisis, to represent trash pickup efforts
  • Garbage crisis degrades the environment greatly
  • Garbage crisis lowers health slightly
  • Garbage crisis lowers tourism moderately
  • Garbage crisis decreases Environmentalist happiness

Thoughts on the core idea, and on other possible influences it could have?


This is a old post. However, I like the idea.


Terrific idea, yes. And another state division to chip away at Unemployment


Bumping this because I have not forgotten and adore it


I suppose we will wait for the game dev to answer this idea.


Yes, it recalls an article I read about how Norway’s waste management infrastructure was so strong, other countries were paying them to handle their waste, creating a modestly lucrative sector that produced a solvent industry creating a modicum of raw materials and energy.

This may well be a dramatic case, but it is increasingly true that recycling and energy generation through biomass has a certain ROI when heavily supported. I think it’d take lots of intertia to get there though.


I have to admit. This is also a nice touch as the Garbage Crisis is very topical in nations such as Brazil, Lebanon, India, and some parts of China, Philippines and the continent of Africa.


Interesting suggestion, TBH I have only just found this thread! That might sound crazy, but we also have reddit, facebook and the steam forums to keep an eye on (plus email), so we often miss some good ideas sadly…
The only concern I have for stuff like this is it could clutter the game and make it feel too complicated for casual players, so may work better as a mod.

The emphasis I have, as a game designer, is finding connections between things that are not represented in any other way in the game, so they add new novel problems and strategies to the game.

I think its possible to suggest that the recycling policy encompasses a lot of this, if you see it as symbolic of a whole policy area, rather than simply a recycling policy. I think there is a good argument for having some negative consequence of high economic growth combined with zero recycling, as a negative situation. That could be good :smiley:


Quite a long time has passed since the publication of that article, and now they have achieved quite significant success in the field of waste recycling.

The City of Oslo’s waste management is based on the philosophy of ‘cycle-based waste management’, where all household waste that cannot be recycled is energy-recovered.

Food waste is recovered and transformed into bio-fertilizer for the agricultural industry and into biogas used as fuel. Plastic waste is recovered into new plastic products, and the residual waste is incinerated and used in production of environmentally-friendly district heating and electricity. This philosophy enables the City of Oslo to efficiently utilize all its waste resources, while simultaneously reducing the use of fossil fuels.

Efficient and safe waste-to-energy plant with recycling capacity of 310,000 tons annually, Klemetsrud is a significant contributor to City of Oslo’s goal to cut GHG emissions in half by 2030.


That’s amazing. I love learning about that stuff. Would you recommend any hand further reading materials on that? I can’t get enough.

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Not just that, recycling should increase everyone’s income, boost gdp, reduce unemployment, reduce pollution, reduce military expenditure (due to reusing and fixing, for ex. a $500 body armour plate can be fixed for $16).

Welcome to America’s Military Graveyard - YouTube

How The World’s Largest Airplane Boneyard Stores 3,100 Aircraft | Big Business - YouTube

It may not be that simple. If you save the US govt $484 by recycling some body armor, then yup, that’s a reduction in military expenditure, but you just caused some unemployment in a body armour factory. That’s a hit to employment and GDP, and massive hit to the income of people who own shares in body armour companies!

I’m not saying recycling is bad, its clearly good, but the impacts in the short term are not all positive for everyone, which is probably why we sadly do not do enough of it.


Hmm, so what would be our benefits in maximizing recycling in game, besides pleasing environmentalists and improving the environment? Shouldn’t we atleast see some additional benefits like in real life? Or maybe a waste-burning energy plant boosting the energy industry, some other ideas?

Cliff touches on an absolutely vital discussion of economic efficiency being defined by the measure of profit/utilitarian benefit. While of course high shares and safe jobs are good, an economic system that ignores profit margins in favour of delivering the best product/service or the happiest worker or the most sustainable industry delivers more for the greatest sum of individuals.

It’s where the logic of state services like rail and similar systems creating Productivity comes from. Because getting the job done, cost be damned, is the kind of economics that puts a man on the Moon.

To disrupt supply and demand with socialist nonsense like “make do and mend” only serves the consumer, and the goals that organised forces aim to achieve in this world, with no heed for a profit margin.

Ultimately a goal-orientated economy is difficult to imagine in the profit-orientated one we’re in. It makes sense, and would probably be cool, but the mind boggles with the work it would take to faithfully model it.

So yes, proper recycling would hypothetically pull more weight, but it’s one of those threads that if you pull it too long, you’ll unravel too much.

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Is that really so? I mean is it really socialist to fix things? It’s not like capitalism has disappeared in countries with a culture of fixing things?

If that were the case irl, then there wouldn’t be anymore body armour companies, but there certainly still are, so reality must be doing something else, right?

Repair markets are a demand of their own, but modern technology is far flimsier than it used to be precisely because manufactured obsolescence is good for business. There was that whole Apple thing.

There’s a reason why people don’t know how to put up a shelf or fix their car anymore. Hell, they used to teach it in schools.

Capitalism requires demand to expand. Late-stage capitalism happens when its economy becomes so advanced, it needs to create it’s own demand to stay alive. That means destruction of stock, that means manufactured obsalesence, that means ancient infrastructure waiting to fall apart leaving people without basic amenity. It’s a dramatic conversation, but it’s real thing that shows up in the news every week.

If tax money were spent simply fixing or recycling products that were carefully designed to fall apart in a year, it’d hurt business. A pessimist would argue that’s why they don’t do it. An effective economy is not a profitable one.


People can fix things, that’s why we have carpenters, plumbers, etc. Not every country is in the thrall of Apple, atleast in the smartphone market.

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