So how do we start? Citizens can make this happen. The first thing we can do is to stop putting our container out twice a week. This will demonstrate public support and save the city money. Every time a truck stops we wear breaks, use fuel to accelerate and add air and noise pollution.
Saint Petersburg charges those who recycle more to subsidize those who don't. That is the effect of a flat rate for every home. There is a big discount for each extra container of waste and a only small discount for once a week service. When PAYT, (or Pay as You Throw) is used recycling goes up and trash volume goes down. We all save money and have a cleaner city.
We can all help the city save money by voluntary use of once a week service, and those of us who qualify can have a lower bill. (a link to the application is below) Even if your bill does not go down you will save the city money and help make curbside recycling more affordable.
Only a few of us qualify for the discount but if we help more people do this we then can ask city council to expand it to everyone. To qualify for a lower bill you must have a single family residence with a one-person household, a lot size of 8,500 sq. feet or less, and a water usage of 5,000 gallons or less per month. But everyone can reduce, reuse, recycle, buy less junk and start putting our can out only once a week.
The two most traditional approaches to disposing of municipal solid waste are a flat-rate system or municipal taxes. All users pay the same municipal taxes regardless of how much waste they present for pickup. Under the flat-rate system there is no link between “the actual costs for waste disposal and individual waste production,” so users do not consider the quantity of waste they produce.
PAYT is based on two guiding principles of environmental policy: the polluter pays principle (PPP) and the shared responsibility concept. The rationale for PAYT can be divided into three broad categories:
Under a PAYT scheme the costs of waste management can be moved from a flat fee. Waste management services are then treated just like other utilities such as electricity or water that are charged by unit of consumption. PAYT is an effective tool for communities struggling to cope with soaring municipal solid waste management expenses. Well-designed programs generate the revenues communities need to cover their solid waste costs, including the costs of such complementary programs as recycling and composting. Residents benefit, too, because they have the opportunity to take control of their trash bills.
PAYT programs are an effective tool in increasing waste separation and recycling, and also encourage waste minimization. The result is significant energy savings from transportation, increases in material recovery from recycling, and reduction in pollution from landfills and incinerators. PAYT programs also encourage producers to develop more efficient designs and environmentally friendly product life cycles. EPA supports this new approach to solid waste management. Less waste and more recycling mean that fewer natural resources need to be extracted. In addition, greenhouse gas emissions associated with the manufacture, distribution, use, and subsequent disposal of products are reduced as a result of the increased recycling and waste reduction PAYT encourages. Landfills also produce methane, a greenhouse gas. In this way, PAYT helps slow the buildup of greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere which leads to global climate change. For more information on the link between solid waste and global climate change, go to EPA's Climate Change Web site.
Waste collections costs are distributed more fairly among the population, and in proportion to the amount of waste each user generates. Free riders are no longer able to have their behavior subsidized, and PAYT is said to promote community sustainability. Household waste is “generally positively related to household income so poorer families are likely to face lower waste collection charges under PAYT systems.”
When there is a change to any established municipal service, public resistance is common. Charging for waste can also sometimes result in illegal dumping (fly-tipping) or the waste being passed to unlicensed or illegal disposal methods.
Urban communities usually offer curbside collection while rural communities provide drop-off collection service. Both the European Union and the US Environmental Protection Agency have published handbooks for introducing PAYT.
PAYT programs operated in California, Michigan, New York and Washington as early as the 1970s, although The City of San Francisco “had practiced a kind of PAYT scheme since 1932.” By 2000, 6 000 communities in the U.S. (20%) and 200 in Canada had implemented user fees for waste management. In 2002 North Americans disposed of 24 million tonnes of waste, with residential sources accounting for 9.5 million tonnes. PAYT programs resulted in residential waste declining from 9 - 38 % and increased recycling from 6 – 40%.
The city of Gainsville has been able to offer better service at a 35% lower cost with PAYT. Residents can opt for a once a week pick up of a 30 gallon can for a $ 13 a month fee with free curbside pickup and other services like a swap shop where used goods can be reused or upcycled.
Austria was the first country to implement individual waste charging in 1945, but PAYT did not catch on until the 1980s when efficient and secure electronic identification systems became available. The first city in Europe to implement an electronic identification and billing system for waste charges was Dresden, Germany. Since 1991 the European Waste Policy has required that “part of the costs not covered by revenues from material reuse must be recovered on the polluter-pays principle.” Versions of PAYT are present in municipalities all over Europe.
After being introduced in the 1970s, 954 municipalities (30%) in Japan have implemented PAYT programs. The city of Taipei currently runs a scheme where households and companies purchase specially printed blue bin bags, and place waste in it. The municipal waste management department collects only rubbish placed within these special bags. Called the "Per Bag Trash Collection Fee", this scheme encourages usage of recyclable packaging, as those do not need a special bag and are disposed free of charge. As a result Taipei's waste volume is down 35.08%, and recycling has increased 2.6-fold from 1999. PAYT is also implemented in Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, China, and Taiwan.
Residential Rates in St. Petersburg
Single Family Residence, Business or Institution
One automated (90 gal.) automated container - $22.33
Each additional (90 gal.) automated container - $12.31*
Multiple Family Residence-per unit - $22.33
Subject to City approval if customer meets all of the following criteria:
single family residence with a one-person household
a lot size of 8,500 sq. feet or less
a water usage of 5,000 gallons or less per month - $17.69
Single Family Residence, Business or Institution
One automated (90 gal.) container or 2 cans, manual system - $53.27
Each additional can or container - $26.10*
Multiple Family Residence - per unit - $53.27
To apply for once a week service click here.
1. Batllevell, Marta and Kenneth Hanf. “The fairness of PAYT systems: Some guidelines for decision-makers.” Waste Management 28 (2008): 2793-2800.
2. Kelleher, Maria, et al. “Taking out the Trash: How to Allocate the Costs Fairly.” C.D. Howe Institute Commentary 213 (2005): 1-22.
3. Bilitewski, Bernd. “Pay-as-you-throw – A tool for urban waste management.” Editorial. Waste Management 28 (2008): 2759.
4. Reichenbach, Jan. “Status and prospects of pay-as-you-throw in Europe – A review of pilot research and implementation studies.” Waste Management 28 (2008): 2809-2814.
5. Sakai, S., et al. “Unit-charging programs for municipal solid waste in Japan.” Waste Management 28 (2008): 2815-2825.
6. What I Picked Up About Trash in Taipei - washingtonpost.com
7. Hong, Seonghoon. “The Effects of unit pricing system upon household solid waste management: The Korean Experience.” The Journal of Environmental Management 57 1999): 1-10.