Should you pay extra to get rid of your trash? User pay is based on the idea that what gets measured, gets managed. It has been found that when we measure what we use or discard, whether water, energy or waste, and have to pay for it directly, we choose to reduce use and cut waste.The more you throw away, the more you pay.
I Just Gotta Tell Ya
- In the U.S., 4.39 pounds of trash per day and up to 56 tons of trash per year are created by the average person.
- Only about one-tenth of all solid garbage in the United States gets recycled.
- Almost 1/3 of the waste generated the U.S. is packaging.
- America is home to 5% of the world’s population, yet it consumes 1/3 of the Earth’s timber and paper; making paper the largest part of the waste stream at 37.5% of the total waste stream
When I read the article in Parade Magazine about Pay As You Throw, I was elated. Currently I pay $17.00 per month for weekly pickup, recycle and landscape debris. Quite honestly, I get rather peeved, because I am the only one who doesn’t have to put out the Trash every Monday. (Recycle Bin, yes)
Why I was elated? It just seems to me, that with all the info about reuse, recycle and reduce, nobody, as least nobody in my neighborhood is doing anything. Trash cans are still over- filled, people still throw away perfectly good stuff while I would probably only use 1 trash can filled in a year.
See -we haven’t really made the connection about our consumption and the huge amount of trash we produce. We go to the stores, don’t look at the amount of packaging, buy stuff on impulse, throw away billions of pounds of disposable goods, never thinking about waste, landfills, our taxpayer dollars, toxic substances, energy and pollution.
Why should I as a conscientious consumer pay for those who waste? Why should I increasingly cut back, recycle everything, compost- pay for those who frankly don’t give a S%*&^! Why should I pay for my neighbors 3x week pizza deliveries? Disposable Diapers? Boogie Boards? Golf Clubs? Ironing Boards? (yes, these are all in my neighbors trash) Garbage Disposal should be the same as our water and utility bill. Pay As You Throw (PAYT) is the way to go. Make the cost of garbage disposal visible and make it depend on how much garbage you actually put at the end of the driveway on Sunday evening. In other words, make the user pay the real costs. We have no incentive to cut back on producing the stuff since the effort doesn’t save us a dime.
Many People do not realize the full cost of trash. They know they have to have pickup- which may or not be in their taxes. They take it as their right and a necessary evil.
Pros and Cons of Pay As You Throw:
- Drop in Trash would result in Roadside Dumping: Reality- Roadside Dumping is already there! Studies have shown that there might be an initial increase but will drop off
- Poor Not able to Afford: Is that a valid arguement? We already help them with subsidies in other areas.
- Not fair to large Families: No one objects to user pay groceries. No one objects to user pay utilities. No one objects to user pay toys and other luxuries. No one objects to user pay water. And please, if they can’t afford large families, then don’t have them.
- Open Garbage to Free Market- Business could find new markets with recycling plans and technologies.
- Recycling and Reducing can reduce the waste in landfills by up to 17%
- In the long term, with less trash, business will start to think of trash as a valuable commodity, (raw material) to be sold- THEY MIGHT EVEN PAY YOU TO PICK UP YOUR TRASH
- PAYT helps slow the buildup of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere which leads to global climate change.
- It’s fair to consumers
- You could save Money- not only in your Waste Bill, but in overall taxes
- Many Business opportunities available (see below)
- The municipality of Georgina, north of Toronto, brought in buck a bag garbage in 1997 and immediately cut the average number of household trash bags left at curbside each week from 1.8 to .76 per family 40 per cent lower than in neighbouring towns. Garbage went down because recycling went up: Recyclable materials collected shot up 42 per cent. Garbage output was also cut with easy steps like buying things that minimize trash and putting organic waste into backyard composting. The roses are surely redder in Georgina.
Urban Mining – Successful Garbage Collectors
lchemy Goods – Eli Reich is the founder of this Seattle business where old bicycle innertubes are stitched together into messenger bags. He made his first bike inner tube bag after his messenger bag was stolen. The mechanical engineer soon received requests for his sturdy innertube bag and launched Alchemy Goods. Now he has a few employees and a whole line of products made out of old innertubes, seatbelts, and outdoor ad banners.
TerraCycle – story of Tom Szaky and Jon Beyer. Two young men built a multi-million dollar company out of garbage through a lot of hard work and crazy experiments with barf inducing worms and solid waste. Their main product is a plant food made out of earthworm poop packaged in used soda bottles collected by kids all over North America. Their website still lists their main product as “worm poop fertilizer” and states that “TerraCycle Plant Food is the first mass-produced consumer product to have a negative environmental footprint”.
Energy from garbage – Turning garbage into energy is not a new concept. Hundreds of garbage dumps across the country already capture the natural methane gas generated by the mountainous piles of solid waste. The City of San Francisco actually has a program that collects dog poop and turns it into energy through a anaerobic digester. Some cities sell the methane gas they produce from their garbage to energy companies and some others use the energy to power buildings, and many private companies are getting in on the garbage energy business. One company named Solena Group actually plans to build a plant in Gilroy, California to produce jet fuel from garbage . Plasma Process turning garbage into energy.
Nine Dragons Paper – Zhang Yin, Queen of Trash from China is probably richer than every other woman in the world. She has a personal wealth of more than $1.5 billion and she got it all through recycling and manufacturing paper. She moved to America from Hong Kong in the 1990s and she remembered that China does not have many trees for manufacturing paper. So she scoured the garbage dumps of America with her husband and exported all of the paper she could get to China. Eventually her company Nine Dragons Paper made deals with American scrap yards and shipped huge amounts of paper back to China. Her company went public in 2006 and it is still growing because China has a insatiable demand for paper products.
Junk On- Junk off- The story of a man, who hit bottom and has made a business in other peoples’ trash