Pay-As-You-Throw 101What Is Pay-As-You-Throw?
A pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) program, also known as unit-based or variable-rate pricing program, empowers people to take charge of their trash bill.
Today, most cities and towns charge a flat fee for trash service or include it within the property tax. But with PAYT, people pay for trash collection based on how much they throw away, like any other utility.
Communities with PAYT programs:
- Cut waste
- Increase recycling
- Reduce trash disposal costs
- Protect the environment
- Provide a better service to residents
By cutting the amount of trash sent to the landfill or incinerator, PAYT programs generate financial savings that can be used for more productive uses, such as schools, parks, roads, public safety, or a host of other needs a community may identify.
A recent study by AMERIPEN (The American Institute for Packaging and the Environment) finds PAYT to be extremely effective and recommends it as one of the three best approaches to reduce solid waste and increase recycling.
Not All PAYT Programs Are Created Equal
Some PAYT programs work better than others. Here is an overview of the different types:
|PAYT Type||How It Works||Pros||Cons|
|Cash||Residents pay a set fee in cash for each bag they dispose of at a drop-off location.||
|Variable Rate Carts||Residents choose from different sizes of carts, paying more for the larger carts and less for the smaller ones.||
|Overflow||Residents pay a flat fee that covers everything they can fit into a certain size cart, and then pay extra (usually by the bag) to dispose of anything that does not fit into that cart.||
|Tags||Residents pay by the bag by affixing a pre-paid tag or sticker to each bag of trash.||
|Bags||Residents dispose of their waste in specialized bags approved by the municipality and clearly marked with the municipal seal or other unique instructions or information.||
Bags Are Usually the Best PAYT Option
Bag-based programs are the most effective and most liked by residents. They can be used in nearly any situation and do not require changes to a community’s collection method.
For example, they work in communities that have
- Automated curbside collection
- Manual curbside collection
- Drop-off or convenience centers
Public Policy Polling (PPP) surveyed nearly 1,000 residents in towns with bag-based PAYT programs.
This is what they learned:
- 79% of residents approved of the program
- A solid majority of residents across all income levels said
- The program was a fair way to pay for trash service.
- The bags were an affordable part of their budget.
Our flagship PAYT program is bag-based, full-service, and achieves an average waste reduction of 44%—and often doubles recycling rates.