- Implementation Timeline
- Administration and Staffing
- Container Options
- Consensus Building (Gaining Public and Political Support)
- Education and Outreach
- Goal Setting
- Illegal Diversion (Dumping, Burning)
- Legal Issues (Ordinances)
- Monitoring and Evaluation
- Apartment/Multi-Family Housing
- Pilot Programs
- Pricing Systems
- Rate Structure Design
- Recycling and Other Complementary Programs
- Scheduling Issues
- Special Populations
- Volume- vs. Weight-Based Programs
There are many steps involved in planning, designing, and implementing a pay-as-you-throw program. Communities with pay-as-you-throw often report that a firm schedule of activities helps to make the process manageable. By establishing a timeline, solid waste planners can highlight critical needs, foster coordination among the many players, and increase the efficiency of the program development process.
Solid waste planners typically begin by identifying the key decisions that need to be made and steps that should be taken. Next, a detailed timeline is often developed that incorporates the planning, design, and implementation phases of the program. Communities that have launched pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) typically recommend initiation of planning and scheduling activities at least one year prior to the date of implementation. For municipalities with more complex programs (for example, those planning to offer an array of complementary services or considering an extensive public education and outreach effort), planning and design might take longer.
Local circumstances will inevitably affect the time needed to plan and implement a PAYT program. For example, community size, service options, equipment changes, contractual changes, and financing requirements can influence the pace of program development. The structure of the local political process and the need for new ordinances may also play a role. Communities often cite the level of political support as being responsible for either significant delays or for rapid progress in implementing PAYT.
Nonetheless, general guidelines exist for scheduling each phase of program development. For example, setting goals and building consensus are critical steps leading up to a final decision on whether to pursue pay-as-to-throw. Work on these steps should begin at least a year before expected program startup. Making a decision about container options will also need to occur well before implementation, although 6 to 9 months in advance is often sufficient.
The following is a list of some of the key implementation activities and when they should take place. Solid waste agencies typically take the following steps at least 9 months prior to program implementation:
- Continue building consensus by meeting with civic groups and briefing elected officials on the need for PAYT.
- Decide between the different container options; develop container specifics and work with vendors.
- Establish enforcement procedures for illegal diversion and other potential areas of non-compliance.
- Develop procedures and criteria for dealing with apartments/multi-family housing residents and special populations.
- Determine information needs for program monitoring and evaluation and begin collecting pre-implementation baseline data.
- Draft education and outreach materials and begin informing residents about how PAYT will work.
- Determine rate structure design and calculate prices.
- Determine whether to offer recycling and other complementary programs.
- Draft and submit any necessary ordinances for the new program.
- Implement a pilot program, if needed.
- Refine, produce, and distribute educational materials.
- Train customer service and other administrative staff on the new program.
- Finalize rate structure and container choices and begin distributing containers.
- Begin post-implementation data collection to help evaluate program results.
- Begin selling bags, tags, or stickers in stores or municipal offices (if using bags, tags, or stickers).
- Replace lost or stolen cans (if using cans).
- Revise and distribute further educational materials.
- Refine rate structure, if necessary.
- Continue data collection, conduct data analysis, and, if necessary, modify the program.
For additional information on scheduling issues, consult the implementation checklist worksheet (Worksheet 6 in the set of seven worksheets (PDF) (21 pp, 331K, about PDF) in the Pay-As-You-Throw Tool Kit.
In addition, a detailed time line for the planning, design, and implementation of a PAYT program begins on page 55 in Part IV of the guidebook Pay-As-You-Throw: Lessons Learned About Unit Pricing.