CC image on Flickr by Bill Ward
Tonight the Brattleboro Selectboard is likely to reverse a previous decision which rejected Pay As You Throw (PAYT) garbage pickup. Brattleboro, like many towns, doesn't charge you directly to pick up and haul garbage. Instead garbage collection and pickup is part of the town's general budget and is therefore payed by property owners based on their property taxes.
It's an unfair system. I have no reason not to throw out large amounts of garbage every week. I have no reason to recycle. And anyone who does limit their trash and recycles what they can is actually paying more so that I can do whatever I want. PAYT makes the system fair. If I want to be wasteful, I still can. But now I will have to shoulder the cost of the waste myself. People have controll over their expenses.
A likely scenario for PAYT in Brattleboro will be that every 30 gallon trash bag you throw out will cost $2. Over the course of a year, if you throw out one bag a week (which I average) it will cost you only $104. If on the other hand, you have no interest in sorting your recycling out, composting, or reducing your waste, you will pay significantly more. I will not have to support your bad habits when my landlord would raise my rent because his property taxes increase.
The great things about PAYT are that you the consumer are in control of your expenses, you do not have to subsidize other people's wastefulness, and it encourages everyone to conserve, recycle, and compost.