Atlantans, and anyone else who pays for curbside garbage service, should become familiar with the term Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) or Save Money and Reduce Trash (SMART) as it’s known at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Whatever name you use, it’s an idea whose time has come in Atlanta.
Currently, the City of Atlanta has limits (technically) on the amount of garbage residents can put at the curb each week, but everyone pays the same base amount for the collection of that garbage – regardless of the amount. The residents who recycle and compost and have little garbage for curbside collection pay the same base fee as people who do not recycle or compost and place a lot of garbage at the curb.
In a PAYT/SMART system, residents are given an opportunity to pay less if they put less garbage out for curbside collection. If a resident wants to put a lot of garbage at the curb, they will pay more for that privilege. This type of system encourages waste reduction, recycling and composting so promotes local recycling and composting businesses, backyard composting programs, saves landfill space, it is good for the environment and can save money for residential customers.
There are a number of ways to implement this system, from offering smaller-to-larger sized garbage carts to using bags for garbage (residents have to buy the bags so if they use more bags they have to purchase more). Each system has its proponents or critics. The City of Atlanta has examined the feasibility of introducing a PAYT system so residents need find out more and be informed consumers and tax payers.
To find out more about PAYT go to epa.gov.