Archive for Thursday, November 17, 2011

Group eyes ‘pay as you throw’ system

John Harjo pushes a trash bin while members of the city's Solid Waste Task Force observe, Tuesday, May 17, 2011. The task force took a tour to learn more about of Lawrence trash and recycling operations.

John Harjo pushes a trash bin while members of the city's Solid Waste Task Force observe, Tuesday, May 17, 2011. The task force took a tour to learn more about of Lawrence trash and recycling operations.

November 17, 2011


If you regularly set out a lot of trash at the curb, you should be charged more for trash service than your neighbor who normally doesn’t set out much trash.

The city’s Solid Waste Task Force agreed Wednesday that the Lawrence City Commission ought to adopt that principle when it discusses overhauling the city’s trash service next year.

The city-appointed advisory board also agreed to study how Boise, Idaho, and Gainesville, Fla., have implemented such “pay as you throw” systems in order to give local leaders some ideas on what may work in Lawrence.

“I think this is something we really have to look at,” said Daniel Poull, a member of the task force. “We have seen a lot of evidence that we can increase our recycling rate by implementing variable rate pricing.”

The task force also drove home one other point on Wednesday: Residents who are eager to find out how much all of this will cost need to be patient. The task force isn’t going to try to guess on prices. Instead, the group is advocating that the city go out for bid — getting prices from private companies and the city’s own solid waste division — once the city knows exactly what type of trash and curbside recycling system it wants.

“Our recommendation should be for the City Commission to put it out for bid and see what the prices are,” said Mayor Aron Cromwell, who is chairman of the task force. “If it comes back that we have to increase rates by $8 a month or something like that, there is no way I could support that, and I don’t think any other commissioners would either.”

The city currently charges about $15 a month for its trash service, which does not include any type of curbside recycling service. Cromwell said Wednesday that he believes any new system that would include curbside recycling would be at or below $20 per month.

But with the idea of “variable rate pricing systems,” different residents could be charged different rates depending on what type of trash generator they are. The task force showed no interest in weighing the amount of trash people set out, but they were interested in how both Boise and Gainesville charge their residents.

In Boise, all residents receive a 96-gallon plastic trash cart and pay $13.80 a month for service that includes both regular trash service and curbside recycling service. If a household can get by with one of the city’s smaller carts, the monthly bill is reduced by $1. If a household chooses not to participate in the curbside recycling program, its monthly bill is increased by $4. Boise officials estimate about 96 percent of households use the curbside recycling program.

If a household occasionally has more trash than it can fit into a 96-gallon container, each household is given five stickers that can be placed on trash bags that can be set out at the curb. If a trash bag has a sticker, it will be picked up. If it doesn’t have a sticker, it won’t. Residents also can buy additional stickers.

The city also controls its costs by using trucks that are much more automated than the ones used in Lawrence. Most of Boise’s trucks use a one-person crew instead of the three-person crews often used in Lawrence.

In Gainesville, residents pay anywhere from about $15 per month to $30 per month depending on what size of cart a household chooses to use. If a household has more trash than it can fit into its cart, it can buy five specially-marked trash bags for $11.25. Gainesville’s system includes a curbside recycling program that is included in all household rates.

Gainesville also primarily operates with a fleet of trucks that operates with a one-person crew instead of a three-person crew.

The task force plans to discuss both systems in more detail at its Dec. 12 meeting. Not all task force members are on board with the idea of the variable pricing system. Two of the 10 members voted against the recommendation.

“I’m just not convinced that it is workable,” said Christine Tomlin, a task force member. “I’m not convinced that my neighbors aren’t going to have bags of garbage piled up in their backyards.”

City commissioners ultimately will make any final determination about changes to the city’s trash system. A date hasn’t been set for commissioners to begin their debate on the subject, but the task force is expected to work at least through January.

City reporter Chad Lawhorn can be reached at 832-6362. Follow him at


pace 6 years, 6 months ago

It is incorrect the current rate does not include any curbside recycling. there is weekly curbside collection of grass and leaf material for most of the year, and on the bulk pickup some of the heavy metal use to be recycled. I don't feel the need for grass and leaf recycling, but some people might find that important. I would recommend that curbside collection of paper and metals would be two materials that should be collected curbside. there is quite of bit of paper in every home and business. Glass and plastics drive the curbside collection cost up by a factor of at least ten. I hope that consideration is given to the current private collections but not at the exclusion of the city doing the curbside collection. I have watched the consideration of a variety of private collection services supersede the need for curbside collection on a city wide basis for over a decade. If a pay for throw is part of the consideration, all the better. I prefer drop off sites for glass and plastic..

Lee Eldridge 6 years, 6 months ago

My understanding is that grass and leaves are a significant issue for landfills because of the sheer amount of them. If people composted or mulched their grass and leaves the city wouldn't have to pick it up separately. But I like that service and think it's a great idea. I don't have a good area to compost, and I have too much grass to mulch every time.

I also like the separate recycling service. Been very pleased using Deffenbaugh's service.

DRsmith 6 years, 6 months ago

Curious as to how much illegal dumping increased in those cities.

conservative 6 years, 6 months ago

The city needs to stay out of curbside recycling. There are several private companies already doing that and doing it for less than the city believes it can. Go to a system where you pay more if you put out more trash and people will take care or recycling themselves either by subscribing to a curbside recycler or by taking the stuff to free recycling dropoffs.

irvan moore 6 years, 6 months ago

the trash system is one of the few things this city runs that isn't broken, quit tryuing to fix it

ljwhirled 6 years, 6 months ago

30 years without a single missed day of work? Check.

Low costs? Check.

Pickup after students when they move? Check.

Do you really think the students will get a flipping sticker to put on their trash when they move out in August? Or will they just move out and leave a big pile in the yard? Hmmmmm.

WTF is broken? Leave well enough alone.

sad_lawrencian 6 years, 6 months ago

Message to the City of Lawrence: stay out of my trash!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 6 months ago

If you want to take your own trash to the landfill, they'll never touch it.

Getaroom 6 years, 6 months ago

That statement makes absolutely no sense at all sad.... So I guess what you mean is you don't like any change - leave it the same as it has been. Time moves on and cost increase and so do needs.

sustainabilitysister 6 years, 6 months ago

I've lived in a California community that used the pay as you throw system and it was fabulous! We paid for special colored light blue trash bags and when you were ready for it to be picked up you'd place it out on the curb on your trash day. As for recycling services, we have to look at the long term goal. This is to get more people recycling, and less recycled material in our landfill. I know there are several great local companies doing this in town, as well as an out of town company that have undercut local companies. The city easily could hire these local individuals to manage/run the city's curbside recycling program. This does not have to be an idealistic thought. We could be creative with our thinking and make it happen.

Eric Neuteboom 6 years, 6 months ago

Fantastic post. I only wish the city were run by people smart enough to consider your plan.

The other issue that bugs me is, if the city ultimately wants to cut down on the amount of recycled material that is being thrown away, then why are they giving people enormous (i.e. 95 gallon) trash cans? That's easily twice as large as what I use currently. Seems a smaller option would be wise.

Armored_One 6 years, 6 months ago

Are you telling me that you paid for the privledge of using their services AND for the bags they took away?

What about people that choose to not buy those special trash bags. Will said comapny refuse to pick them up? If that is the only option, I will purposely buy Hefty bags and set them at the curb, just to watch it pile up.

Being told what you will and will not buy is akin to going into a Mickey D's, ordering a chicken sandwich and gettign a breakfast sandwich instead. Then being told to suffer and chow down after complaining about not getting what you paid for in the first place.

Leave the trash system alone. Let the recycling companies do their thing.

It's not broke, so stop stocking up on monkey wrenches and warming up your pitching shoulder.

Blessed4x 6 years, 6 months ago

What a great post! I definitely think that people that set out more trash or throw recyclables away should be publicly shamed and punished. Instead of stickers to put out extra bags, I say we give people that set out too much trash scarlet letters. Large facial tatoos or brands that show they are abusing the trash system. Abuse the system multiple times and maybe we could have their neighbors throw a block party and stone these irresponsible individuals. Now we're getting somewhere.

KS 6 years, 6 months ago

One man operated trucks? Here comes more unemployment.

infidel 6 years, 6 months ago

This is not a good idea, illegal dumping will increase especially in the rural areas of the county and in the business dumpsters. I don't see any issues in my neighborhood, once in a while someone cleans out their basement or garage and sets out a lot of trash (myself included). I will not be paying more for it to be picked up, I would just find and alternative solution for disposal.

I suppose we could burn it in our back yard barrels in town, that would be nice addition to town, lots of people burning trash in the back yard, (with free permits from the fire department of course), the smells could be amazing.

Mark Elzea 6 years, 6 months ago

As a business owner, I am worried about increased use of my trash dumpster by people circumventing the rules. If they are forced to pay more, and don't have the means - or don't like the idea - they're going to throw it in dumpsters such as mine. Just this week we found someone tossing paint cans in our dumpster. Who knows what else people will throw in!

Yes, we could secure it, but when we've done that, people just dump their trash on the ground next to the area, and then animals bust the bags open, and it gets real messy. At least if the dumpster is open, most people throw it in the container.

jafs 6 years, 6 months ago

You might post a security camera, and then prosecute people who do that.

pace 6 years, 6 months ago

I think your concern should be listened to. I admit I have taken a few things out of dumpsters in my time, There is an ordinance against that, but when I spoke to some one when they were dumping their stuff in a dumpster I was in charge of, they acted like they had a right. No they didn't . It turned out to be a near by business. They were almost threatening and tried to say I had no right to say anything because it was a commercial dumpster. Just ignorance. I wouldn't want to have the police spend a lot of time on it, but secure your dumpster and post signs. It would be a good reality show to post a camera. I wonder if there are any live web cams on dumpsters out there. I watch one live cam showing bears in Alaska.

lgreen17 6 years, 6 months ago

Every study of pay as you throw did NOT find that people illegally dumped trash. This is a myth. People dump trash now, or rather businesses illegally dump trash now.

chzypoof1 6 years, 6 months ago

I love me some social engineering. And forced "recycling" is a great idea! Forced health insurance is a great idea too, isn't it?

I'm sure there are a few other things the city can mandate while they are at it:

  • Library fees, even if you don't use the library
  • More taxes to subsidize Compton's projects
  • A Rec center that the rich people need on the west side

So much MORE of my $$$ can go to the city, forcibly. Man I love this town!!!


chzypoof1 6 years, 6 months ago

Pretty sure everyone uses the centers we have. You missed the point completely. We have no $$$, yet we are going to build a $15 million center.

And government demanding you have insurance is a joke. The system can be fixed without this type of intrusion into our lives. BOTH sides of the aisle just have to work together.

We wouldn't want to do that now, would we?

Brian Laird 6 years, 6 months ago

Exactly how would you propose to solve the problem of people who choose not to buy insurance, but then running up bills due to various emergencies that the rest of us have to pay for - without having some sort of mandate. Unless you want to get rid of the law that mandates that hospitals treat emergency situations without regard to ability to pay (that is, just let the people die outside the ER), then some sort of insurance mandate is necessary.

You say the system can be fixed without a mandate. What exactly is your plan then? And how does it address the problem of treating the uninsured? I'm not saying you are wrong, I would appreciate it if you could articulate your plan, so I can understand your point of view.

Armored_One 6 years, 6 months ago

Force hospitals to not charge 120 dollars for asprin.

That's a great start to lowering the cost of health insurance, although insurance itself is a severe joke.

What about people that never go to the hospital, but have it ganked out every payday. That almost constitutes theft, at least in my mind.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 6 months ago

1) Then hospitals will simply charge more for other things. They aren't in business to lose money and have to close their doors.

2) It's called INSURANCE for a reason.

Armored_One 6 years, 6 months ago

I have been paying insurance for years upon years for both health and my vehicle. I have never had a major medical condition nor have I ever been in an accident, but yet I still pay, on average, almost two thousand dollars a year for the 'luxury' of having those two things.

At what point does it actually constitute theft if you pay for something you never use?

Do you pay for a steak you never eat? Gas you never put in your car? Clothes you never take home from the store?

Brian Laird 6 years, 6 months ago

You don't really understand the concept of insurance, do you.

tomatogrower 6 years, 6 months ago

chzypoof1 When our landfill is full, can we bring them to your house, then?

tsmjcc 6 years, 6 months ago

landfill? the city recycles leafs brush etc.and resale as mulch the next year. and as far as health insurance we all were not born with the silver spoon in our mouths.everybody deservs good medical treatment poor or rich.ask two are big old cry babies.wha wha.gotta be husband and wife,or boyfriends.

chzypoof1 6 years, 6 months ago

This is NOT about full landfills. This is about charging more for less. Less trash, but pay more (per capita). Also they would fire a lot of people, saving money.

it just doesn't add up, just like everything else our commission decides in this town (library, rec center, etc)

Christine Pennewell Davis 6 years, 6 months ago

one man trash trucks means people laid off and work comp out the ying yang, has the city not paid attention to the way people drive? one guy jumping in and out of the truck plus grabing the can/bags of trash is just an accident in the making.

Chris Phillips 6 years, 6 months ago

...does that robotic arm pick up the extra bags with the special tags if that house has more than normal trash for that week?

Marcy McGuffie 6 years, 6 months ago

Ugh - here we go again. It would be nice if this city decided to leave well enough alone...for once.

tsmjcc 6 years, 6 months ago

As you can see in the picture that is a common sight to see that many city workers standing in one spot watching one man work.lay those lazy workers off leave trash issues alone we pay enough.and yes lawrence stop holding comptons hand this is lawrence ,not comptonville thank god!!

tsmjcc 6 years, 6 months ago

There still not doing crap and getting paid trash task force?ha ha whatever,you must be one of the guys standing there get to work!

tomatogrower 6 years, 6 months ago

The task force is completely voluntary. You could have volunteered to be on it too. Why didn't you?

tsmjcc 6 years, 6 months ago

why didnt you?and i should,but i do work two jobs how about you? let me guess your fiber has not kicked in yet and your grumpy like krichards.

tsmjcc 6 years, 6 months ago

by the way . i happen too know two of the men in the picture and they are not volunteers.paid city workers look closer before you talk.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 6 months ago

The exposure time for that photo was 1/30th of second or less. But you think that 1/30th of a second snapshot is all you need to assess that city sanitation workers spend all their time just standing around.

tsmjcc 6 years, 6 months ago

it was mot the sanatation workers i was talking about,it was those in the back ground the workers work hard.but yes i see city workers in many of fields doing this everyday. what i said was just my was not meant to upset any one and if i did i am sorry.its just something i have seen before.god bless!!

tomatogrower 6 years, 6 months ago

Yes, they were escorting the task force, so they were doing something.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 6 months ago

Well, at least people, particularly seniors, aren't complaining about having to wheel out those new large trash containers. I get soooo tired of that.

Why? Because I'm a "senior citizen" myself, and my husband and I rent one of those trash containers already from the city...and it is absolutely wonderful!!! Fellow seniors ought to try to roll one of the darned things before complaining about how hard it will be.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 6 months ago

And you seriously think that seniors in wheelchairs can move their own trash cans any easier??? Thanks for the laugh :-)

gatekeeper 6 years, 6 months ago

My mom is in KC, has one of these carts, is 78 and has a hard time getting around. I go to her house every Thursday to get her trash out. Not all senior citizens are in great shape and can push a cart full of trash 50+ feet to the curb.

pace 6 years, 6 months ago

In Lawrence, someone elderly or handicapped can call solid waste and they will come move the cart . This is one of my concerns there won't be two on the truck. I also appreciate that the crews often pick up spills as they go. But I want the collection to be as safe for the crew as possible and as efficient. The crews collection our trash in this town are not only professional, they work hard. If you think the crews are lazy you are out of your mind, or if you say that , you are lying. I want curbside collection of trash, yard waste, and papers & metal, by the current city service, perhaps with contracts with private collection for the paper and metals. Drop off sites for glass and paper.
I have worked with Deffenbaugh on a variety of projects for decade. I would never recommend the cheating lying con men, nor let them on my property. If they get their hands on our business, I am putting in my chrysler and driving it to the dump. NOT a penny to Deffenbaugh.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 6 months ago

Good info! Thanks!

Of course, I have to disagree with a drop off site option...since I see no point in having the city pick up only half of the possible recyclables. I mean, the recycling service we use picks up all paper, metal, glass, and plastic. Why can't the city, since we'd be paying for it.

woodscolt 6 years, 6 months ago

Or, a better way to put it: Those who don't waste so much shouldn't have to pay for those who do. However, I can just see the trash people out there calculating every stop to the gram.
It might spike trash compactor sales in larryville..

RogueThrill 6 years, 6 months ago

I don't see what all the uproar is about. The people who complain about this routinely complain about the lack of personal responsibility and the government giving handouts. Well, be responsible for your waste generation and stop expecting others who are more responsible to pick up the slack for your wastefulness.

I recycle everything. Leaves are mulched back into the lawn, everything you can single stream with those defenbaugh containers goes into one bag, everything else goes to Wal-Mart. Food waste is composted. I generate one or two bags of non recyclable food containers every month and since I have started using the big, wheeled trash containers (January) I have only had to put it on the curb three times.

That doesn't make me better than my neighbor that puts it out plus some every Tuesday, but it does mean he shares more of the burden or disposing of waste and maintaining a landfill.

valgrlku 6 years, 6 months ago

I'm curious as to how this would impact those of us with dumpsters. Did I miss that in the article? Our alley is a mixed lot - some have dumpsters and some have trash cans. What regularly happens is that those with trash cans use our dumpsters for their overflow (one neighbor in particular who uses it for copious amounts of yard debris including leaves, as well). This hasn't been an issue to date (maybe around moving time), but I could see it becoming one, if people could be charged extra for exceeding their trash allotment.

The City is supposed to empty them twice a week, but on several occasions, I have witnessed the workers take a look into the dumpster, decide it's "not full enough," and drive on by. It was pretty gross during the dog days of summer... What would happen during move-out/in times, during the summer, when the curbs are overflowing with trash? Would the old tenants or the new ones be charged for the excess? Just some questions to consider.

shamrock 6 years, 6 months ago

KC MO's has a pay as you throw trash service and I don't see trash piling up anywhere. The service is funded from general tax dollars and (according to the kcmo city website) costs $7 less per month than the national average. They allow 2 bags of trash (50 lb per bag) per household and give out a free recycling bin with no limit on the amount of recycling picked up (but do not pick up glass). If your recycling bin is full you can just set out the rest in a cardboard box. Trash tags can be bought for extra bags of trash.

If Lawrence chooses to do a pay as you throw system, they need to have city recycling pick up or everyone is going to go over the limit. Since we started recycling we have less than a kitchen sized bag of trash every week (there's only two of us though).

Cant_have_it_both_ways 6 years, 6 months ago

Greenies say, "I don't throw away much trash, so why should I have to pay for those who do"? Seems it is just fine when these loudmouths want a new library, more mass transit, a freekin depot and other things that benefit them overall. How selfish of you!

It is just fine to cross-level the costs for the empT to the taxpayer, but how dare you charge me full price for not using the public funded trash service. Get a job and mind your own business.

RogueThrill 6 years, 6 months ago

Mass transit and libraries benefit the public as a whole. Subsidizing your prolific consumerism doesn't.

gudpoynt 6 years, 6 months ago

"... these loudmouths want a new library, more mass transit, a freekin (sic) depot and other things that benefit them overal. How selfish of you"

Nice. So... public services (library, mass transit, train depot, "other things") now suddenly only benefit the loudmouth Greenies? Dos that mean that the loudmouth Greenies are now the only ones that comprise the "public"?

Either way, it's clear that by referring to these public goods as only benefitting "them", whoever "they" may be, it's clear that you're not including yourself as one of the beneficiaries. So does that mean that you're not part of the public?

And regardless of who you consider to be part of the public and who you don't... since when is contributing to public services a selfish act?

Ladies and Gentlemen! Here we have a fine specimen of what political scientists refer to as the "bass-ackward political identity".

So successful have powerful economic interests been in crafting and marketing this political identity, that it's adopters have relinquished critical thinking in favor of adhering to the identity.

In other words, adopting the bass-ackward political identity results in inherent conflicts between the identity's tenents, and an individual's capacity for logic and critical thought.

As can be seen in both_ways's post above, where he not only excludes himself from the public, but then asserts that supporting public projects is somehow selfish, the bass-ackward political identity is kicking the crap out of it's adopter's ability to think rationally for themselves.

pace 6 years, 6 months ago

It seems a mark of idiocy to say at random "get a job" as an argument, when there is no indication the person has a job or not, nor would it be pertinent. I am not saying you are a complete and utter idiot , just the remark makes you sound like one and your argument is idiotic.

fu7il3 6 years, 6 months ago

The problem is that the people who are going to end up paying the most will be families with young children who are already facing the biggest drains on their income and bills anyway.

gatekeeper 6 years, 6 months ago

If you produce more trash, you should pay more. I chose to not have kids. I produce less waste than families with children. I already pay to educate your children and you think I should pay more for the small amount of trash I have? Think of all the diapers these families end up dumping in the landfill. You should pay more!

ljwhirled 6 years, 6 months ago

Are you sure you chose not to have kids? From your attitude, I suspect that the opposite sex might have chosen that for you.

pace 6 years, 6 months ago

Not true, nice young family next door, very little trash, they compost and they recycle. The old couple down the street, lots of trash, the guy buys every toy he can see. He is a great consumer. We have based our economy on consumerism, there are choices. We spend lots of money and resources on crap, we should be repairing bridges and hiring more teachers. Not buying trinkets to keep the economic fires burning. They don't make that many jobs, at least in this country. I would rather see home remodeling laborers keeping housing stock sound rather than hot dog venders at the ball park.

Steve Stucky 6 years, 6 months ago

Cool! So, since I only set out a small amount I can expect my bill to DECREASE!

Isn't that funny? Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha. I just LOVE this city's government!!

peartree 6 years, 6 months ago

It is my understanding that liability insurance for our trash collection workers is significantly higher than any other city employee, including police and emergency personnel. This is directly tied to the injury incurred by not using automated trash trucks. I would like to see an article written from the perspective of the workers who have the most thankless job in town.

ljwhirled 6 years, 6 months ago

Yeah, it sucks to have good full time work that pays a fair wage even though you might not have attended college.

I am sure those workers are really looking forward to getting automated trucks so that they can go out and get a $9/hr job at Packer Plastics.

Wouldn't want that high paying job with great benefits. Too dangerous.

hipper_than_hip 6 years, 6 months ago

Let's build a trash burner and sell the excess power back to Westar. We can extend the life of the landfill and show the world how green we are.

optimist 6 years, 6 months ago

I personally like the system the way it is. Why do some feel the incessant need to fix what isn't broken. Whatever happened to public servants actually serving the needs of the community as they are rather than forcing the community to bend to the demands of a small number on the fringe (read recycling Nazis). I don't want to make a career of complying with someone else’s idea of civic duty. I want to throw out what I want, recycle what I want and go about my business. I don't want to be forced to go buy stamps to throw away my garbage. If I'm going to buy stamps maybe I'll just mail my garbage to City Hall. I can save the post office at the same time.

irvan moore 6 years, 6 months ago

i'm getting confused, is cromwell the trash czar or the library/parking garage czar or the homeless shelter czar?

Cant_have_it_both_ways 6 years, 6 months ago

It is sure great when this support YOUR personal agenda at some elses expense. The argument that those who produce more should pay more, how about those who produce nothing to support the tax base demanding more from those who do?

Gimme, gimme, gimme. This trash crap is another way for those who support it to demand that others pay for the service when they too, benefit from it. It is not my fault you choose not to provide your own transportation (EmpT), or buy your own books, thus support the taxbase (Library). Many of you do not support building or maintaining the roads but we all have to pay for it. I guess it is different when you dont want to cross-level the costs of the waste disposal system.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 6 months ago


In communities with pay-as-you-throw programs (also known as unit pricing or variable-rate pricing), residents are charged for the collection of municipal solid waste—ordinary household trash—based on the amount they throw away. This creates a direct economic incentive to recycle more and to generate less waste.

Traditionally, residents pay for waste collection through property taxes or a fixed fee, regardless of how much—or how little—trash they generate. Pay-As-You-throw (PAYT) breaks with tradition by treating trash services just like electricity, gas, and other utilities. Households pay a variable rate depending on the amount of service they use. Environment/Equity/Economy

Most communities with PAYT charge residents a fee for each bag or can of waste they generate. In a small number of communities, residents are billed based on the weight of their trash. Either way, these programs are simple and fair. The less individuals throw away, the less they pay.

EPA supports this new approach to solid waste management because it encompasses three interrelated components that are key to successful community programs:

  1. Environmental Sustainability - Communities with programs in place have reported significant increases in recycling and reductions in waste, due primarily to the waste reduction incentive created by PAYT. Less waste and more recycling mean that fewer natural resources need to be extracted. In addition, greenhouse gas emissions associated with the manufacture, distribution, use, and subsequent disposal of products are reduced as a result of the increased recycling and waste reduction PAYT encourages.

In this way, PAYT helps slow the buildup of greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere which leads to global climate change. For more information on the link between solid waste and global climate change, go to EPA's Climate Change Web site.

2. Economic Sustainability - PAYT is an effective tool for communities struggling to cope with soaring municipal solid waste management expenses. Well-designed programs generate the revenues communities need to cover their solid waste costs, including the costs of such complementary programs as recycling and composting. Residents benefit, too, because they have the opportunity to take control of their trash bills.

3. Equity - One of the most important advantages of a variable-rate program may be its inherent fairness. When the cost of managing trash is hidden in taxes or charged at a flat rate, residents who recycle and prevent waste subsidize their neighbors' wastefulness. Under PAYT, residents pay only for what they throw away.

EPA believes that the most successful programs bring these components together through a process of careful consideration and planning.

George Lippencott 6 years, 6 months ago

What about Apartment complexes? We keep talking about recycling as if residential is the only trash generator?

independent_rebel 6 years, 6 months ago

PAYT would be a disaster in this community. We are a college town, we are filled to the brim with apartments, we have a growing senior population, and we have easy access to rural area where increased illegal dumping is a given. Here is one economist's view after studying the facts:

"PAYT is most effective in small cities and suburban areas but has not worked so well in densely populated urban areas where apartment dwellers use chutes and dumpsters for their normal disposal (and might easily use vacant lots for everything else). PAYT is also not as well-suited to very rural areas where illicit dump sites are similarly easy to find. In general, it is most feasible where we can measure and monitor individual households' weekly trash and recycling.

"Tampering with that notion can be tricky in communities that switch to PAYT. Illegal dumping has cropped up in about 20% of such communities, according to a 2006 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report. Local officials also complain about variations of the so-called Seattle stomp (named after one of the first PAYT cities), where homeowners try to beat the system by compacting huge amounts of trash into a single can or bag." "We find that households reduced the number of bags, but not necessarily the actual weight of their garbage. Thus households stomped on their garbage to reduce their costs. They also increased the weight of recycling, and they might have increased illegal dumping. The reduction in weight of garbage at the curb is 14 percent. If we account for the amount of illegal dumping, using our lower estimate, then the true reduction in garbage is only 10 percent. Recycling increased by 16 percent. Many in Charlottesville were already participating in the voluntary recycling program before unit pricing began. Thus the incremental benefit of unit pricing is small. In our simple comparison, this social benefit does not cover the administrative cost."

jafs 6 years, 6 months ago

We are in fact a small city, not a densely populated urban area, or a rural area.

The apartment issue is a good one - with many apartment buildings, the overall environmental benefit of this will be reduced greatly, if they are not part of the program.

independent_rebel 6 years, 6 months ago

"Pay-As-You-Throw," programs have enjoyed nominal success in some communities but has otherwise been an abysmal failure in others. Proponents and Advocates of PAYT dismiss the contention that PAYT will fail in some communities. Often times, PAYT programs are nothing more than creative cost-shifting measures for lazy community officials to avoid dealing with their own trash disposal challenges. Nevertheless, there is one constant in all PAYT programs...Great pains are taken to conceal the negative externalities of these programs. From the EPA right down to the local city government official, more often than not, the "paid trash hack" will not be candid.

Supporters always tell us PAYT gives residents an economic incentive to recycle. Skumatz Economic Research Associates, a waste-consulting concern in Superior, Colo., estimates that PAYT programs lead to a 17% reduction in the flow of residential waste to incinerators and landfills... "Every analysis shows that this is a very cost-effective thing to do," says Lisa Skumatz, the firm's principal. That is not really true, though. The cost shifts, not reduces.

While households might reduce the number of bags, they typically do not necessarily reduce the actual weight of their household garbage. By employing the old, "Seattle Stomp," residents will reduce their garbage costs. The weight of recycling, only nominally increases because many were already participating in voluntary recycling programs before PAYT began. Increased illegal dumping now becomes an issue, not only for the PAYT-employing community, but also for the other communities that surround it.

independent_rebel 6 years, 6 months ago

The Seattle Stomp. The practice of compacting or "stomping" on ones trash in pay-as-you-throw communities, to increase the volume of garbage in a single bag so as to decrease the number of bags one must pay for to dispose of. The Seattle Stomp was so-named because Seattle Washington was one of the nation's first communities to implement a pay-as-you-throw program and Seattle residents responded to an early unit-pricing program by compacting garbage into fewer bags. This happens in every community that implements PAYT without exception.

Illegal dumping When Charlottesville, Virginia, began charging eighty cents per 32-gallon bag of residential garbage collected at the curb, it should come as no surprise that people responded to PAYT prices as they do all other prices: they do or consume less of it. (Fullerton and Kinnaman) A marked increase in trash burning and illegal dumping took place.

Disproportionality. Others argue that PAYT programs wrongly penalize large families, some elderly and families with infants. A large family with three or more children will have a significantly higher trash cost than other families in other communities. Families with newborn infants will often have a higher trash costs because of disposable diapers. Finally, PAYT programs often significantly affect the elderly on a fixed income where they must sometimes go without one essential item to have another.

Ancillary Costs. How much does it cost to send out a truck of municipal workers to various remote sites around a city, to pick up illegally dumped trash? How much does it cost a property owner to clean up his or her property when people illegally dump? How much time and energy will a property owner spend cleaning up after tenants who refuse to make PAYT a priority in the household expenses? How much cost will a business using dumpsters incur by increases caused by illegal use? Illegal Dumpster use is already a problem in many communities that do not have PAYT. Churches, grocery stores, restaurants, and hospitals are often targets of illegal dumpster use. What about Parks? Park maintenance will see a spike in costs as workers will be forced to empty trash receptacles used by those who seek to evade PAYT. PAYT don't include these costs in their promotion of PAYT programs.

PAYT programs only work in a limited variety of circumstances and communities. PAYT is no standard-bearer for efficient waste disposal and reduction of landfills. The incremental benefit of trash unit pricing is small the social benefit does not cover the administrative cost.

jafs 6 years, 6 months ago

Why shouldn't people who choose to have larger families, and thus produce more garbage, pay more than those who don't?

Or, in other words, why should those of us who produce much less trash than others subsidize others?

independent_rebel 6 years, 6 months ago

Remember, when people throw something, "away," there is no "away." Garbage goes somewhere or ends up somewhere else...not simply, "away." PAYT merely shifts responsibility and costs to others and negative externalities are rarely reflected in PAYT analyses. There exists this circus clown-like false notion that PAYT fees collected result in a tax reduction. (A Knee-slapper, if there ever was one)

independent_rebel 6 years, 6 months ago

Now I know what it feels like to be Merrill. Sorry for all the pastes, but too many on this topic are claiming PAYT is nothing but a dreamy, kumbaya way of dealing with trash.

Lawrence is the exact type of community that would be harmed by PAYT.

Don't mess with our trash system. It works fine.

George Lippencott 6 years, 6 months ago

By the by, there are many variants on PAYT. It seems premature to vote to recommend it without defining the loca PROGRAM AND associated costs. What have we created in this committee?? Perhaps we should start over with people who do not have recommendations without details as to what they are.

ljwhirled 6 years, 6 months ago

Look at your Westar bill.

You see the $16 "customer charge"?

That is how much it costs to send you the bill, follow up with late bills, shut off service for non-paying customers, read the meters, etc, etc.

The same will be true of pay-as-you-go. It will cost more money to track usage, deal with forged stickers, etc, etc.

Just leave it as is. It works, don't try to fix it.

JackMcKee 6 years, 6 months ago

Between Brownback in Topeka and Cromwell in Lawrence I'm not sure how Lawrence is gonna come out of this period intact. Equally bad leaders on opposite ends of the political spectrum. Leave the trash alone. It works.

bearded_gnome 6 years, 6 months ago

Poull's comment and posters above echo this: this is to increase our costs and to change our behaviors.

please city: do not change!!!!!

we recycle aluminum and are glad to. but there is investment of space time and energy to dothis. we do not need busybody government taking over yet more of our personal time/energy/space for a greenie agenda.
this is indeed another form of taxation, though not in actual dollars. stop it now.

thank you for reading.

bearded_gnome 6 years, 6 months ago

yet another problem with the "pay as you throw" system:

it unduely punishes people who generate more trash.

some people who generate more trash do so because of health conditions or disability. these people also often have limited fixed incomes. does our city really wish to hit these people harder?

do we also wish to punish those who generate more trash because of: work; having teens; or efforts to improve their own homes or lots?

I think not.

thank you for reading.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 6 months ago

The only people who pay more are the largest users. Perhaps some of these folks will shop smarter and will ask themselves how smart is it to pay extra for creating more trash.

Perhaps PAYT would encourage a less wasteful lifestyle for those who live such.

George Lippencott 6 years, 6 months ago



Cant_have_it_both_ways 6 years, 6 months ago

Lets see, by your logic, those who use the empT should pay more, because they use more. Estimates on cost were upwards of $9 per ride. The taxpayer gets $8 or less of that and the transportation leech gets to pay a whopping dollar.

How about a pay as you ride system?

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