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Private household recycling is a significant aspect of consumerism in economically developed countries and the inevitable question of household waste management has gained more importance among municipalities in recent years. The present study examined the effect of regulation on household solid waste management. Within a comparative, qualitative framework, the study explored and evaluated the pro-regulatory effects in Germany and the anti-regulatory policies in the United States by means of comparing two similar communities, Lincoln, Nebraska and Augsburg, Germany. By examining the present legislations, official documents, legal and operational procedures, and other relevant artifacts, laws, regulations and the degree of their success are analyzed. The second major element of the study is consumerism, as a phenomenon inherent to industrialized societies. After examining the relationship between regulations and consumption, the results show that a pro-regulatory policy, in the case of Germany, is more sustainable. The results of this study may be valuable for future research, municipal policy makers, recycling program managers, and other interested stakeholders.