Pay As You Throw

Dear Annie,
I am a ho-hum recycler and need some inspiration. Ideas?
–Kate, MI

Dear Kate,
How is saving green by being green for inspiration? Many municipalities, both large and small, are initiating a pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) program, just charging residents a fee for each bag or can of waste they generate. You just pay for what you use. Some communities are begging to be able to bill residents on the weight of their trash instead. The more you recycle and compost, the less you spend on your garbage.

Here is my idea for you (and I am inspired by it, too): Why not save money, recycle more, and join the PAYT trend that is changing landfills? The United States is responsible for one-third of the world’s garbage, and PAYT is a plan that is resulting in reducing that embarrassing number. You can recycle 75 to 90 percent of your waste, and you can also compost and find specific drop off centers (for electronics, for example) for much of the rest.

What do you bet that we’ll watch what you purchase when you know you have to throw away packaging? Clamshell “wrap rage” may just reach a new level.

Here’s another inspiration, however, that I found in the book by David Bach, Go Green, Live Rich, and that is that the aluminum cans we throw away each year use up the equivalent of 16 million barrels of oil, enough to fuel a million cars for a year.


Lydia Weissmuller Price

Recycling incentives [such as a decrease in trash fees for every bin of recyclable goods] is a better plan than this. Poor people will not be able to afford it and will accumulate trash in their homes, garages, and yards. It will encourage illegal dumping, also. Some might even resort to burning it, releasing petroleum-based toxins into the atmosphere. I don't like this idea.

Duane B.
.5 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton5 years ago

I wish we had a pay as you throw scheme in my neighbourhood; there was talk about implementing one for years, but the idea was dropped. I've always gone out of my way to recycle everything possible and I'm sick of paying an astronomically high council tax to pay for the lazy slobs who can't be bothered to sort their trash.

Susan S.
Paul Stephan5 years ago


Laura M.
Past Member 6 years ago

This is cool! I'm going to look into it.

Tish Levee
Tish Levee6 years ago

Good info. Thanks

Danuta Watola
Danuta W6 years ago

thanks for sharing

Jessie Dijkstra
Jessie D6 years ago


Sue H.
Sue H6 years ago

Good tips, thanks for posting.

Chris R.
Chris R6 years ago