News-Post Editorial Supports “Pay As You Throw” Trash Collection System

A July 10 Frederick News-Post editorial argued that Frederick County and its municipalities should move to a “pay as you throw” (PAYT) fee system for trash collection, whereby a home’s waste disposal fee is based on the amount of trash generated.  The editorial believes the approach is fairer, treats waste disposal the same as other utilities like water and electricity, and would encourage recycling and composting.  The editorial also noted that moving to PAYT would reduce the need for waste incinerators.

This, in essence is one of the disparities in our present system of waste disposal, which is a one-size-fits-all charge for each homeowner, regardless of the amount they throw out. It makes sense for our other utilities, like electricity and water — why not for trash? …

Forty-nine communities across Maryland out of about 4,000 across the U.S. have a PAYT program, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  …

We agree with [Brunswick Mayor Karin] Tome — it won’t be easy, but worth the attempt for the three strong reasons the EPA cites:

• Environmental benefits: Communities across the U.S. with pay-as-you-throw programs “have reported significant increases in recycling and reductions in waste” with reduced greenhouse gases.

• Economic benefits: The cost of disposing of waste is soaring because of rapidly filling landfills and other factors. Less trash means less cost.

• It’s fairer: As noted in the anecdote above, why should you, the diligent recycler, subsidize your neighbors’ wastefulness?