Sustainable trash disposal: Dublin’s pay-as-you-THROW (PAYT) model


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Dublin’s Waste Reduction and Recycling Committee (WRRC) team is propelling a fresh approach to handling waste; Pay-as-you-throw (PAYT). They hope this could ease the pressures of escalating expenses linked with waste disposal and managing waste stations on the town’s financial plan.

The pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) system means that locals get charged according to how much trash they dispose of. It could be either by the weight of the garbage or by the number of trash bags used. At present, waste disposal fees are included in the property taxes people pay.

PAYT incentivizes less waste, more recycling

As committee member Al Lyons highlighted, homeowners who produce less waste are currently covering the costs of those who produce more. The proposed PAYT system is geared to create a more balanced approach to waste disposal costs across all of the town’s residents.

With this new model, those who generate more waste will, logically, pay more, while those who are more environmentally conscious, recycling and composting and thereby producing less waste, will be incentivized with lower costs. The committee wants this system to motivate more residents to turn to composting and recycling.

Using less landfill space is excellent for the environment. It cuts down on harmful gases and saves our natural resources. PAYT programs like this help us recycle and compost more, sending less trash to landfills. It means existing landfills last longer, so there’s no need to build new ones – which saves land and reduces pollution.

PAYT reduces waste and increases recycling success

According to the Waste Reduction and Recycling Committee, PAYT waste systems have proven to be quite effective in nearby towns. One such success story is seen in Peterborough. They started their PAYT program in 1999. In this system, trash is only accepted if it’s put in unique bags.

The money from these bag sales helps to keep the program running. Based on what the town’s website reports, this PAYT approach has led to less waste and more recycling, which has lowered the cost of waste disposal.

Dublin’s WRRC says that towns using the PAYT program could see an impressive 25% to 45% decrease in waste creation. This leads to similar savings in terms of managing waste facilities. Plus, selling trash bags can generate extra income. For Dublin, it could mean a chance to boost their recycling program.

At present, only types one and two plastics are recycled. The committee hopes the town can begin recycling all seven common types of plastic, making their trash management even more environmentally friendly.

According to the WRRC, the price of throwing away a pound of trash has shot up by nearly 34% since 2021, and it’s set to grow by another 13% by 2026. Currently, Dublin turns to Monadnock Disposal Service for its trash removal, and they’re charging $2.25 for every 30 pounds.

The WRRC predicts that by 2025, the price will bump to $2.40 and then to $2.55 the next year – along with the costs to keep the transfer station staffed and running.

Perceptions, costs, and solutions

Starting a pay-as-you-throw garbage system might shake things up a bit. People are usually accustomed to paying for this through their rent or taxes.

So, when this cost is highlighted separately, it can seem like a fresh tax. Some people also fear these programs might promote unlawful trash dumping. However, no evidence of this has been seen in reality.

If not handled carefully, it could add an extra expense burden on low-income households. To prevent this, many communities provide cost deductions or free bags, particularly for the elderly and low-income residents.

The charges for recycling are usually kept lower than that for regular trash disposal. This strategy generally keeps the costs manageable and affordable.

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