It makes sense. We produce too much trash in Maine. Not only should communities provide a convenient way for people to reduce, reuse, recycle and compost, but they should also create an incentive for people to do so by charging a fee for each bag of household trash. Charging a fee for each bag of trash follows the same logic as utilities that charge per gallon of water or per kWh of electricity.
It increases recycling. Studies demonstrate that recycling rates increase when there is an incentive to do so, even a small incentive like charging per bag of trash. When people have to pay for each bag of trash, they reduce, reuse, and recycle their waste to decrease their own disposal expenses. Not only do PAYT programs save money for towns by reducing the amount of material headed to landfills and incinerators, but they also have the potential to generate revenue through the increased sale of recyclable materials.
It creates equity among residents. Without PAYT, someone who generates one bag of trash per week pays the same amount as someone who generates three or five or ten. The inherent fairness of PAYT allows people to have greater control over their costs—just like with electricity and water bills, what you pay is based on how much you use. People who reduce their waste are rewarded with lower costs (fewer bags to pay for).
It saves your town money and reduces tax burden. It costs your town a lot to burn or bury municipal trash—and these “tipping fees” are going up all the time. Each ton of waste that is not sent the landfill results in avoided costs for your town. And all of the trash fees collected by the town go toward reducing the solid waste budget. Maine towns are saving hundreds of thousands of dollars annually through PAYT programs.
PAYT works. Nearly 140 Maine towns have already adopted a PAYT program. Here are a few examples of real PAYT success in a few New England communities:
|Town||Year PAYT Started||% Decrease in MSW||
Tax Payer Savings