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Pay-As-You-Throw

July 10, 2009

If you read the Journal Star this morning, you’ll see that the City of Peoria may move to a pay-as-you-throw waste model. Several statements are listed below supporting this model. I urge you to post any questions or concerns you have about this program as a comment and we will address them via this website. More information will be coming soon, so sign up for emails when we post new messages to stay in the loop.

You can also check out this presentation that was done for a another city, but it explains the process, pros and cons in a simple way.

There are over 7,000 communities nationwide using PAYT ranging from those with populations in the millions to just a few hundred and everything in between. There are 170 PAYT communities in Illinois.

  • “PAYT is fairer than tax-based systems – and after implementation more than 95-98% of households prefer the new system.” (Source)
  • “PAYT reduces residential trash disposal by one-sixth (about 17%). Analysis shows about one-third (6%) shows up as increased recycling, about one-third (5%) as increased composting, and one-third (6%) is “source reduced” or avoided generation (buying in bulk, etc.)”( Source)
  • “Given the resources available, the unwavering support for the program among state and local staff and elected officials, the available advice for overcoming common challenges and myths, and the success in addressing the same common solid waste challenges faced by everyone involved with MSW management, communities would be hard-pressed to find a reason for not implementing PAYT. ‘Few ideas jump out as something that makes eminent sense. To me, the pay-as-you-throw concept is one of those…The overwhelming logic of the idea should be…a no-brainer,’ wrote Allan Gerlat, editor of Waste News, in 2004.”( Source)“PAYT is not a feel-green kind of thing here; it’s a financial thing,” explains Tom Miragliuolo, a planner with the Maine State Planning Office.  (Source)
  • PAYT encourages not only recycling, but also composting, source reduction, reuse, and the host of responsible methods of dealing with waste. (Source)
  • “Ultimately, it is anticipated that using PAYT to reduce the burden on the disposal system will lead to more efficient use of services, reduced burden on the disposal system, improved environmental and resource use, and lower long-run solid waste system management costs.” (Source)

There are lots of publicly available success stories and reports including the following (more will be posted to this site soon)

  • Gainesville, FL (pop. 95,500), saved $200,000 in landfill tipping fees after implementing PAYT in 1994, reduced solid waste collection by 18%, and increased its recycling rate by about 25%.  (Source)
  • Wilmington, NC (pop. 75,800), saved $400,000 in the first year of PAYT (1992). (Source)
  • Worcester, MA (pop. 172,600), decreased its waste management costs by $1.2 million and increased its recycling rate from 3% to 36% immediately following the introduction of PAYT in 1993. (Source)
  • The recycling rate in San Jose, CA (pop. 895,000), rose from 28% to 43% in the first year of its program (1993), and rose again to 55% by 1998. (Source)
  • In Tacoma, WA (pop. 194,000), solid waste management costs fell by more than 50% in the PAYT program’s first year, and the recycling rate tripled. (Source)
  • Falmouth, ME (pop. 4,100), decreased its trash disposal volume by 35% and increased recycling by more than 50% after establishing PAYT in 1992. (Source)
  • In Mount Vernon, IA (pop. 3,400), PAYT helped the community reach a 50% recycling rate. (Source)
4 Comments leave one →
  1. Gwynn Guiliano permalink
    July 10, 2009 1:17 PM

    RE: Peorians paying per bag pick up.
    Would this be on top of the monthly charge? I live alone in Peoria County and already have to pay $19/month and don’t put out garbage but twice monthly – one can each time (I work full-time and participate in other functions so I am not home that much). That’s $9.50 per can, which I think is ridiculous! I have contacted the company by letter to see if I could go on a every other week pick up and received no answer from them. I know the school systems cut down on pick up during the summer, so it makes sense that I should be able, also. If I recycle what I can recycle, then I would be paying the same $19/month for them to pick up even less…so why recycle anything???? It’s a no-win situation for me.

  2. K. Sheets permalink*
    July 10, 2009 4:33 PM

    Morton has PAYT and has a recycling participation rate of over 60%!

    A friend of mine who lives there says they have a program that allows residents to haul landscape waste to a specified location (which I think they buy stickers for) but they have specific times of the year when the City will pick it up curbside for free.

    Those that live alone and only have one trash can every other week will end up paying less. Those that have a family of five and have several trash cans will pay more. Right now, everyone pays the same no matter what you throw away.

    Also, let’s not forget that you pay a garbage tax plus a $6.00 garbage fee. Peoria citizens end up paying over $10 for their garbage. If you subscribe to the current recycling program, you pay even more.

    The PAYT model turns garbage fees into a level playing field.

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