To reduce waste, as well as promote recycling, many communities in Pennsylvania have implemented an incentive-based program known as Pay-As-You-Throw, or PAYT. With this program, a household's payment is based upon the amount of trash that they produce. Consequently, to avoid high fees many households practice sustainable behavior, such as composting, recycling, and buying products that generate less waste. The money that is collected pays for trash collection, as well as the community's recycling program. The fee that is charged varies from community to community. Some communities collect the money upfront, through the purchase of garbage bags, etc and others base the amount on the volume or weight of the garbage. This flexibility allows each community to choose the method that is best suited for them. The fee can be paid in a number of different ways, such as direct payment, or subscription.
Currently, the PAYT program has been implemented in over 211 different communities in Pennsylvania. Across these municipalities, wide ranges of results have been found. The reduction in landfill waste is between 6-50%, depending on the community. There has also been a 30-64% increase in recycling. Morevoer, there has been a fourfold increase in yard waste collection (grass clippings). Due to the success of this program, the Department of Environmental Production is hoping to expand to include all parts of Pennsylvania.
Prepared by: Julie Kozak and Jennifer Parker