Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

| be Waste Wise | December 2, 2021

Scroll to top



Pay As You Throw Policy in the United States

Featured Image - Recycling in North American Cities - Pay As You Throw Policy in the United States

  • Question: Are programs to penalize landfilling effective? Does “pay as you throw” work?

    Anne Germain Well that is what the pay-as-you-throw is in effect doing. You are usually paying volume-based on the size of your disposal container so the larger container (you have) – you get charged more the smaller container (you get charged less). I think at one time they actually tried to do it based on weight. But, I think that was so much
    more complex to individually individualize it to that extent that I think most municipalities have simplified it by the size the container

    Samantha MacBride Yeah, I I’m not aware of any (municipalities) that have done it by weight. Although, I would imagine that would be hard to do because you to weigh every collection at the truck level is a big job. In a little bit of research I’ve done about the UK where they have, as part of being in the EU (European Union), they have a landfill directive in which the municipalities get taxed for every tonne (of waste) that goes to landfill. What they do is redistribute the money that they would be paying in taxes to support community-based alternative forms of diversion. So, when I was over there there was a program that was being run, in it what would be their equivalent of public housing. It was kind of an on-site program to collect recyclables and store separated organics that was operating right on site the public housing, and they were getting on a per tonne basis kind of a refund from the government in proportion to the amount of landfill tax they were saving. So, that would be a different way if we had such a thing in the United States, which we don’t! Maybe redistributing costs for landfilling.


Anne Germain SWANA


Vice President, National Waste & Recycling Association

View Contributor Page

Samantha MacBride LinkedIn


Author, Recycling Reconsidered: the Present Failure and Future Promise of Environmental Action

View Contributor's Page


Earth Engineering Center, Columbia University




Book: Recycling Reconsidered: The Present Failure and Future Promise of Environmental Action in the United States (MIT Press Listing) (Review) (Buy)

  • Creative Commons LicensePlease mention "This article originally appeared on be Waste Wise (" and link to this page. This content was produced under a Creative Commons license.
  • You can submit your suggestions and feedback on our Contact page.
    • Twitter
    • Facebook
    • YouTube
    • Google+
    • LinkedIn


Submit a Comment