Over the last year, changes in recycling markets have had a dramatic impact on community solid waste programs. As a result, the Durham Town Council adopted a goal to develop a plan to make Durham's solid waste program economically and environmentally sustainable. The Integrated Waste Management Advisor Committee looked for possible solutions, and over the past six months, the committee held a series of public information sessions. One of the possible solutions discussed was unit pricing or pay-as-you-throw. This post answers the frequently asked questions we collected from these public meetings.
1. Why is Durham so concerned with Trash?
The financial cost of trash and recycling have grown significantly over the last several years. While we do not know the future of the recycling markets, we do know the trash disposal markets continue to tighten very quickly, which will drive prices well over $100 per ton in the coming years.
2. What are Durham's Options for handling increased solid waste costs?
3. What is pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) and how does it align with Durham Town Council's goals?
The Town Council's goals are:
Give residents a financial incentive to reduce the amount they throw away, thereby lowering the Town's collection and disposal costs.
Generate revenue to help offset some of the cost of the Town's solid waste program.
Promote equity in the solid waste costs. Residents pay for the waste they generate.
4. How does PAYT work?
5. Can Residents still use other trash bags?
6. What size PAYT bags are available and how much do they cost?
7. Where can I buy PAYT bags?
8. Why will PAYT be good for Durham?
9. How does PAYT affect large families?
10. Is PAYT fair?
11. How does PAYT help the environment?
12. Why now?
13. Will PAYT be easy and convenient?
14. How can residents learn more about recycling?
15. Doesn't Durham already do a good job with recycling?
16. How will bulky waste and construction debris be affected?
17. Doesn't PAYT increase illegal dumping?
Regional and national studies have shown that the vast majority of communities that start a PAYT program see no increase in illegal dumping. Illegal dumping exists in almost all communities without today, but the majority of dumped material is not residential in origin. It is usually bulky items (e.g. furniture, construction debris) that are not affected by a PAYT system. The Town will prioritize the continued cleanliness of Durham and will pursue any offenders.
18. What can keep my trash bill from rising each year?
19. How will PAYT change recycling at the Transfer Station?
20. How will we know if PAYT is working?
21. How will the Town administer the program? Will we need to add staff?
22. How do I pay for my bags?
23. How will the Town enforce the program?