Officials: Pay-as-you-throw dumping is more equitable

You may find this piece from the US publication the New Hampshire News (Thursday, September 26) of interest.

The average house in Portland, Maine, had three trash bags at the kerb each week before the city started charging residents for each bag hauled away.

“Now, most people put out one bag,” said Troy Moon, Portland’s solid waste coordinator. “That’s 8,000 tons of trash we used to pay to get rid of that we are no longer paying to get rid of.” Or a savings of more than $700,000 for the city with a population two-thirds the size of Manchester, which is weighing the idea.

“What pay-as-you-throw does, it creates an economic incentive for people to stop and look at what they’re producing,” Ellis said. It also creates a more equitable system: people pay for only what trash they produce and don’t recycle.

The amount of material disposed in landfills or hauled away drops by 25 to 60 percent in communities nationwide after bag-and-tag is adopted, according to Ellis. The figures, he said, vary so widely because some places go from having no recyclable program to starting one.

Ellis said people want to recycle and help the environment. The cost for bags ranges from 75 cents to $2.25 depending on size and locale. Manchester is considering $1 a bag. In Sanbornton, residents approved the program in 1994, started it the following January and reaffirmed their decision at town meeting in March 1995.

“Every person said, ‘No way, we like how this is running. We don’t want to pay for their share,'” said Mary O’Brien, manager of the town transfer station. “It’s a user fee like your electricity and phone. The more careful you are, the less it’s going to cost you,” she said. The revenue from selling the bags covers the cost of hauling the trash away. “That’s not coming out of the (property) taxes anymore,” she said.

Dover, Ellis said, created an enterprise fund where trash costs and revenues are in an account separate from the general fund and doesn’t affect the tax rate. Portland’s Moon said city workers and leaders need to show residents the benefits of bag-and-tag. “I think any city that wants to start this program has to do the education upfront.”

Ano da Publicação: 2002
Fonte: Warmer Bulletin Enews #35-2002
Autor: Kit Strange - Editor, Warmer Bulletin
Email do Autor:

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