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Pay as you throw

Pay as you throw (PAYT) [1] is a usage pricing model for disposing of municipal solid waste. PAYT is sometimes referred to as unit pricing or variable rate pricing. Users pay a variable rate based on how much waste they present for collection by the local authority or municipality. Where this system is implemented, recyclable waste is usually collected free of charge.


Rationale for implementation

There are two separate rationales for using variable rate pricing:

  • Economic
  • Environmental


Variable rate pricing increases the incentive to generate less waste. In communities where the flat fee is insufficient to cover the costs of solid waste disposal, tax subsidies are frequently used. This creates two levels of subsidy which hide the true cost of waste disposal. The first subsidy is paid by the community through taxes; the second is paid by those who generate less waste to cover the costs of those who generate more.


Communities which have implemented PAYT systems have seen substantial decreases in the quantity of waste that they generate and substantial increases in the amount of recycling that occurs.[2] This therefore produces better results, as waste minimisation is higher on the waste hierarchy.

This benefits the natural environment by reducing energy usage for collection and treatment. It reduces pollution from disposal methods such landfills and incinerators. It also increases the supply of recycled materials that can be used instead of raw materials.

Implementation models

PAYT has been implemented by communities ranging from large cities to small towns. In communities with kerbside collection, PAYT is frequently implemented by charging a fee for a particular waste container, which is picked up weekly. In communities with a centralised spot for waste collection, such as a civic amenity site or transfer station), PAYT is frequently implemented by requiring waste to be placed in particular binbags which are sold at a higher than normal fee, with the excess price used to finance the disposal costs[3]. In some communities any trash bag can be used but a waste sticker must be affixed to each bag or container[1].


PAYT can potentially encourage fly-tipping and other detrimental forms of waste disposal, such as passing it to unlicensed or illegal waste disposal operatives. Europe applies a lifetime duty of care to waste to ensure that it cannot just be palmed off to an operator.

In order for PAYT to be effective at reducing waste, and to discourage illegal dumping, it should be accompanied by effective recycling and alternative disposal programs, such as yard waste collection and curbside recycling[4].

See also


  1. ^ a b PAYT - Frequently Asked Questions (HTML). United States Environmental Protection Agency (2006). Retrieved on 2006-11-26.
  2. ^ Mark Ruzzin. Pay-As-You-Throw - Let's Start. Retrieved on 2006-11-26.
  3. ^ Janice Canterbury (1999). Designing a Rate Structure for Pay-As-You-Throw (PDF). Retrieved on 2006-11-26.
  4. ^ Recycling and Other Complementary Programs (HTML). Retrieved on 2006-11-26.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Pay_as_you_throw". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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