- 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
For communities considering a pay-as-you-throw program, setting goals is an essential part of the planning process. Establishing realistic goals and priorities at the outset provides solid waste planners with guidelines they can use when deciding between different program design options.
Success in solid waste management can be measured against standards as varied as recycling diversion rates, total costs, and customer satisfaction. For this reason, the first step when planning for pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) is to determine the goals of your program based on a review of your community's solid waste needs and concerns. Although planners will want to solicit input from local residents and other interested parties before coming up with a final list of goals, it is useful to first examine and prioritize objectives internally. Some planners conduct in-house brainstorming sessions to establish a preliminary set of goals, followed by a shorter session to revisit, refine, and prioritize them.
Specific goals and objectives can vary significantly among communities. Examples include:
- Environmental goals. Communities often implement PAYT to encourage
greater waste reduction, recycling, and composting. According to recent
research (summarized in the Fall
1997 PAYT Bulletin), households generated between 14 and 17 percent
less waste, on average, in the first year of PAYT then they had in the
year prior to program implementation. The amount recycled also increased
by an average of between 32 and 59 percent. The type of rate
structure a community chooses will have a strong influence on the
extent of the waste reduction incentive.
- Economic goals. PAYT can be designed to bring in enough revenue
to cover all or some of a community's solid waste fixed and variable
costs. Variable costs, such as landfill tipping fees, are expenses that
fluctuate with changes in the amount of solid waste collected. Fixed
costs are those that remain fairly stable or that change only after
large-scale waste collection changes are made (such as increasing the
number of collection trucks). Communities that rank this goal as very
important will need to develop their rate structures carefully. Some
may wish to generate revenues beyond the amount needed to pay their
solid waste program costs. The additional funds might then be used to
enforce laws against illegal
diversion (dumping or burning), implement or expand recycling
and other complementary programs, or meet other waste management
- Greater equity. Under traditional waste management financing,
residents who discard a small amount of waste subsidize the greater
trash disposal rates of their neighbors. Under PAYT, residents are charged
only for the amount of waste they actually discard. This gives them
more control over the amount of money they pay for waste management.
- Legal issues. In many communities, interest in PAYT stems from
the need to meet state or local recycling mandates.
- Waste management issues. In recent years, the rapid escalation
of costs for refuse collection and disposal has acted as a catalyst
for changes in solid waste management. PAYT provides a strong incentive
for households to reduce the amount of waste requiring disposal. When
trash amounts decline, communities have the opportunity to restructure
their collection programs to reduce the frequency and timing of trips
per week. This translates into potential savings in terms of labor,
fuel, equipment, maintenance, and overhead costs. Less waste also prolongs
the life of existing landfills.
Achieving every objective on a community's list can be difficult. That's why prioritizing goals is essential. Establishing priorities will allow planners to evaluate how different program components and service options will affect the overall success of their PAYT initiative. In addition, meeting key goals requires a careful consideration of potential tradeoffs. Circumstances may require compromise in one area in exchange for progress in another.
Once a list of preliminary goals has been established, consider setting up a PAYT team or citizens' advisory council to help refine and prioritize these goals. The team might include solid waste staff, interested citizens and elected officials, civic leaders, and representatives from affected businesses in the community. These teams can be an important part of building consensus for your program. Including a wide range of individuals and interests in the planning process can help give the community a sense of program ownership. It also can provide a built-in education and outreach network, increasing the variety of ways in which information about your program can be disseminated and feedback received.
For help in prioritizing goals and identifying issues that stakeholders may want addressed, go to the goal-setting worksheet (Worksheet 1 in the set of seven worksheets (PDF) (21 pp, 331K, about PDF) in the Pay-As-You-Throw Tool Kit.
For answers to questions about setting goals for a PAYT program, visit goal setting in the Frequent Questions section of this Web site.