National policies on waste management in most countries around the globe have embraced the concept of Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) charging for household and industrial wastes. Consequently, variations of this scheme such as pay-per-bag or pay-per-weight have been implemented by a majority of municipalities in these nations. Unlike traditional systems that applied blanket fees often hidden in monthly taxes regardless of the waste generated, the charges on the PAYT scheme are levied depending on the volume or amount of waste generated (Cox et al., 2010). As such, PAYT employs a polluter-pays approach to waste management and thus the costs paid under this scheme are appropriate.
Charging higher fees for larger quantities or volumes of wastes raises awareness among communities on the need for improved waste management as well as provides an economic incentive to households and industries to decrease waste generation through measures such ass recycling, strict avoidance and reduction at source. Reduction at source measures envisaged under this scheme encompass reduction of food wastes, home compositing, donation of items for re-use and making subtle changes in the home. Food waste prevention measures have been shown to reduce household waste by 1.5kg per week whilst home compositing lowers waste by 2.5 kg per week per household (Sharp, Giorgi & Wilson, 2010). A study by Duke University also found out that those communities that had implemented PAYT had experienced a 20% to 35% increase in the amount of materials that went through their recycling and compositing programs (Cox et al., 2010). Other potential benefits of PAYT include promoting equity in waste management and environmental sustainability especially in communities with scarce resources by mitigating the demand on natural resources.
In conclusion thus, the amounts we pay for wastes are appropriate because it raises awareness among communities and households on the need for improved waste management and decreases waste production by encouraging increased recycling, strict avoidance or reduction at source.
Summary for the discussion post
The amount we pay for waste is appropriate because it is based on a polluter-pays method that is pay-as-you-throw whose variants include the pay-per-bag or pay-per-weight schemes. Unlike the traditional waste charging systems that levied blanket fees for waste, this scheme engenders fairness by ensuring that those who generate more waste pay more and those with less waste pay lesser fees. It therefore improves waste management by raising awareness on the need for it as well as providing households and industries with an economic incentive for the same. Collated evidence indicates that PAYT reduces waste generation by as much as 1.5-2.5 kgs by encouraging recycling, strict avoidance and reduction at source measures such as home compositing. Recycling and re-use promote the preservation of natural resources by reducing the demand on them.
Cox, J., Giorgi, S., Sharp, V., Strange, K., Wilson, D.C., & Blakey, N. (2010). Household waste
prevention—a review of evidence. Waste Management & Research: The Journal of
International Solid Wastes and Public Cleansing Association, ISWA, 28(3), 193-219.
Sharp, V., Giorgi, S., & Wilson, D.C. (2010). Delivery and impact of household waste
prevention intervention campaigns. Waste Management & Research: The Journal of
International Solid Wastes and Public Cleansing Association, ISWA, 28(3), 256-268.