Pay-as-You-Throw and the “Power of Now”

“We can cut trash in half J Campbell nowacross America,” WasteZero Chairman John Campbell told a packed room at the Catawba College Center for the Environment on Feb. 23, “and we can do it now.”

The “power of now,” as Campbell put it, was central to his talk. Every day that cities go without adopting a utility pricing model for trash, or “pay-as-you-throw,” is a day they’re choosing to spend money needlessly on waste disposal, pollute the environment, and waste energy. But, Campbell added, going pay-as-you-throw is simple to do, popular, and very effective for the environment and municipal finances.

Campbell pointed to successes such as Worcester, Mass., which cut its trash by 55% after it began pay-as-you-throw in 1993–and has seen a $95 million positive financial impact. He then told the crowd what pay-as-you-throw could mean for the city of Salisbury, N.C., Catawba College’s home: a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions equal to the effect of taking 1,300 cars off the road annually, energy savings similar to what it takes to power 490 houses for a year, and $830,000 in annual positive financial impact.

And best of all, Campbell concluded, cities can start taking advantage of all those benefits now.

Campbell’s presentation is available here:


An article on the event from the Salisbury Post is available here:

WasteZero’s Campbell talks trash at Center for the Environment 

And here is a Q&A on waste reduction from the Center for Environment’s website:

Q&A: A Solution to the Increasing Volume of Trash

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