United States
                           Environmental Protection
                              Solid Waste and
                              Emergency Response
                  Fall 1998
A Listing of Pay-As-You-Throw News and Events
                             B      U
                                              I      N
  Find an evenl; in
  your area!
  PAYT Events
  Around the
  State PAYT  |
  Initiatives Ge\
  Results      \    2
Evaluating and
Enhancing a  PAYT
Program: Tacoma,


      I ay-as-you-throw (PAYT) practitioners
      know that developing and implement-
      ing a program is just the beginning. To
be successful, even well-established programs
need to be evaluated on a regular basis. If
these status checks reveal any issues of con-
cern, the program might need to be adjusted to
ensure that it continues to work well and earn
the support of the community.

The city of Tacoma, Washington, implemented
PAYT in 1974 and has continually worked to
make its solid waste program more effective.
In the past few years in particular, Tacoma has
made an enormous effort to study and im-
prove its solid waste collection program. In
1995, the city conducted a survey to gauge res-
idents' satisfaction with the PAYT program.
Survey respondents offered helpful suggestions
on ways to strengthen the waste reduction
incentive of the program. Residents comment-
ed, for example, that they would be more likely
to recycle if more types of recyclables were
collected and if recyclables were not required
to be separated by material. Residents also
reported they would set out less trash if the
city offered a financial incentive for reducing
waste below their chosen subscription level.
After considering the results of this survey,
Tacoma incorporated the residents' suggestions
into a pilot study in 1996. Residents in the two
pilot neighborhoods could commingle their
recyclables and recycle more kinds of materials
including mixed waste paper, cardboard, and
some plastics. Customers on the two pilot
routes also were offered d rebate of up to $3
per month for setting out less trash.

The results? Participation in the program dou-
bled, and recycling increased 76 percent and
199 percent on the two pilot routes. These
results prompted Tacoma to modify its existing
program on all collection routes. The city
added new types of materials to the recycling
collection program and allowed all recyclables
except glass to be commingled. Instead of
offering the $3 rebate, which was not widely
used in the pilot program, Tacoma added a
"mini-can" at a lower rate for small waste gen-

By the end of 1996, Tacoma residents
increased their recycling rates by another five
percent, and commercial recycling increased by
43 percent. Over 80 percent of residents
reported satisfaction with the PAYT program.
City officials, however, still felt the solid waste
program could be improved. In 1997, they
hked a contractor to conduct a full cost
accounting assessment of its rate structures.
The assessment was intended to determine the
city's costs for each of several solid waste ser-
vices so that consumers could be charged
                                                                                           (continued on page 4)

    Staff from the Montana Department of
    Environmental Quality are planning to
    give presentations on PAYT to county
    commissions throughout the state this
    fall. To request a visit, contact Mark
    tambrek, 406 444-3075.
    The Wyoming Department of
    Environmental Quality is sponsoring a
    session on the basics of PAYT at the 1998
    Wyoming Recycling Association/Wyoming
    Solid Waste Management Association
    Conference, September 11, 1998, in
    Lander. State and local recycling officials,
    wasfe collectors, and elected officials will
    attend the conference. For more informa-
    tion, contact Ken Schreuder, 307 332-6924,
    Global Futures Foundation will hold two work-
    shops in Arizona and Nevada in the fall on PAYT. The
    Arizona workshop is scheduled for October 22 and
    will be geared toward local government and solid
    waste officials. There will be a general session on
    PAYT and two breakout groups focusing on rural and
    urban applications. The Nevada workshop will take
    place in late fall in eastern Nevada and will empha-
    size implementing PAYT in rural areas. For more
    Information,, contact Wendy Pratt, 916 486-5999.
    State PAYT  Initiatives

    Get Results

         IAYT programs continue to turn in strong waste
          reduction and recycling results. At last count, waste
          reduction rates averaged 14 to 27 percent in the first
    year, and average recycling increases came in at 32 to 59
    percent, according to data from Duke University.
    Increasingly, states are viewing PAYT as a valuable tool they
    can use to help meet their MSW goals.

    Mandates are one strategy states use to expand the use of
    PAYT by their communities. Four states are currently using
    this method. In 1994, Iowa (Department of Natural
    Resources, 515 281-4367) made PAYT mandatory for com-
    munities who failed to reach title state's goal of 25  percent
    waste reduction. For most communities, it worked: one year
    after implementation of PAYT, 96 percent of communities
    reported a drop in the amount of waste sent to landfills,
    representing an average drop in waste amounts of 38
percent; 60 percent reported a decrease or no change in
the cost of waste collection and disposal; and 97 percent
found that recycling rates in their community had increased
by an average amount of 52 percent

Wisconsin (Sherrie Gruder, 608 262-0385) requires commu-
nities below the 25 percent recycling rate threshold to imple-
ment PAYT. These communities also are required to have a
system in place for the collection of recyclables. To  help ease
implementation, Wisconsin provides funds for communities
with PAYT ($2.9 million per year in 1996 and 1997). Since it
was implemented in 1989, the effort has enjoyed strong
community support. For example, in a 1993 survey of PAYT
communities,  95 percent of respondents said that they would
recommend their PAYT program to another community.

After establishing the strongest PAYT program mandate in
1993—a statute requiring any community that charged for
solid waste services to use a variable-rate system—Minnesota
(Ken Brasilus, 612 758-4334) now has more communities
using PAYT than any other state. Washington state (Nick
2 PAYT Bulletin

    The New York State Association for Reduction,  .
    Reuse, and Recycling is sponsoring an Introductory
    session on PAYT at the New-York State Recycling
    Conference, October 5 to 6, 1998, in Syracuse. <,
    Conference attendees will include public and private *
    recycling officials. For more information ^contact* «
    Sharon Fisher, 5T8 463-7964.* '       "'  ,  '
    The Massachusetts Department of Environmental
    Protection is planning a series of workshops focusing
    on PAYT/.sOurce reduction, composting, and recycling.
   .The workshops will take place in mid-October in  "  \
    Boston, and are geared toward local elected officials. All '"
    workshops wilLbe led by a nationaljexpert. For more '
    information" contact Joseph Lambert, 617*574*68751 »*
             ,       „      ~ *    '   S* , „"   1 .   AX
For updated PAYT events/ be sure Jo check EPA's PAYT"
On/ine at .
    Pealy, 206 684-7646) also has a strong mandate, requiring
    solid waste haulers to offer variable rates to thek customers
    since 1989.                   .

    Massachusetts (Joseph Lambert, 617 574-6875) has taken a
    different tack. Instead of mandates, the state is offering
    communities incentives to adopt PAYT. Massachusetts is
    using three types of grants to make PAYT more profitable
    for its communities: start-up grants, equipment grants, and
    recycling incentive grants, all funded by money obtained
    from unredeemed bottle deposits.

    For some communities, PAYT start-up costs can prevent
    local officials from implementing variable rates. To help
    communities clear this hurdle, the state has created grants
    targeting new PAYT program costs. For example,
    Massachusetts provides a grant of $10 per household (up
    from $2 in 1996) to cover custom-printed bags or stickers
    and printing and distribution of educational materials to res-
    idents. Equipment grants are also used. While  the grants are
    available to any community with curbside recycling—-even
    those without PAYT—communities that do not use variable
 rates match $20,000 of the state's purchase of trucks and
; curbside collection containers. For communities with new
 PAYT programs, however, the state pays the full cost of
.'these items.

 Another incentive project is the Municipal Recycling
 Incentive Program (MRIP). Under this program,
 Massachusetts provides grants to all communities
 (whether or not they have PAYT) based on thek reported
 recycling tonnages. To encourage the use of PAYT, the
 state has removed some eligibility restrictions and requke-
 ments on MRIP funds for communities with existing or
 new PAYT programs. The bottom line? PAYT communi-
 ties not only have more access to MRIP funds than
 nonPAYT communities, but they also have the potential
 to receive more grants.

 So far, the results are promising. According to Joseph
 Lambert, the state municipal recycling liaison and PAYT
 program manager, the grants have resulted in three com-
 munities switching to PAYT this year, with seven more
 expected in the coming year. And these communities are
 showing results.  Foxboro, which started using PAYT at
 the beginning of 1998, more than doubled its rate of
 recycling in the first 6 months, from 17 percent to 40 per-
 cent. As a result, the city expects to receive about $12,000
 in MRIP grants this year.

 The town of Merrimac decided to use PAYT after analyz-
 ing and comparing possible responses to the closure of
 thek town landfill. In March of  this year, the town imple-
 mented PAYT. Patricia Dillon, chairperson of Merrimac's
 solid waste advisory team, reports that the grants offered
 by the state made the new program possible. Since then,
 public praise of PAYT in Merrimac has been effusive, and
 although no specific data are yet available, Ms. Dillon
 feels the increase in recycling can be seen just by driving
 through town and noting the growing number of recy-
 cling bins on residents' curbsides.

 The city of Needham, which started using PAYT in June
 1998, has already experienced significant results with the
 program. Although many residents were not initially in
 favor of the new program, town administrator Cad
 Valente reports that compliance has been over 95 percent
 and that comments on PAYT since implementation have
 been nearly all positive. In just 1 month, citywide collec-
 tion of co-mingled recyclables in Needham rose from
 three 40-cubic-yard containers per week to three 100-
 cubic-yard containers per week. In that same month, the
 amount of paper recycled per week increased by 25 per-
 cent, and the  amount of corrugated paper recycled rose
 from 3 tons per week to 7 or 8 tons per week.

                                      PAYT  Bulletin  3

   To determine the cost of each service, a multistep process was
   used. First, all solid waste costs were divided into seven cate-
   gories corresponding to the seven major solid waste services
   offered by Tacoma: disposal, Superfund landfill, yard waste col-
   lection, spring/fall cleanup, and the three container types
   offered by the city: barrel collection, front-load collection, and
   drop box collection. To determine how the costs of each of
   these services would be paid for, the seven categories were allo-
   cated to four revenue collection methods: landfill tipping fees,
   barrel collection rates, front-load collection rates, and drop box
   collection rates.

   Costs for the seven solid waste services were allocated as fol-
   lows: barrel, front-load, and drop box costs were incorporated
   into their respective collection rates. Disposal and Superfund
   costs were proportionally divided among all four revenue cate-
   gories based on the estimated tons of waste collected by each
   method. Finally, yard waste and spring/fall cleanup costs were
   proportionally divided based on the number of pickups made
   in each method.
AN Costa
, Bwrel—~
, Front-Loid
p Drop Box—
 F«ll Cle«nup
                       • Barrel Collection Rates
                       • Front-Load Collection Rates
                       * Drop Box Collection Hates
                                     Landfill tipping tees plus
                                     above three collection rates
   Once the cost for each of the seven services had been allocat-
   ed, the next step was to make divisions within the revenue col-
   lection categories to account for the differences in container
   size. This yielded the final cost of providing collection service
   in each service category. Lastly, the cost for each individual ser-
   vice was compared to the current (1996) charge for that service.
The study produced some very interesting results. Although the
program's revenues covered the overall solid waste costs, the
rates Tacoma charged for most services did not match the cost
of providing that service. Residents at some service levels were
overcharged, while those at other service levels paid too little.

Consequently, city planners decided to revise the rates. Rather
than immediately changing prices to equal the cost of service,
however, they opted to gradually introduce the changes, with
the goal of having rates equal to the cost of service by 2002.
Rates were kept stable from 1997 to 1998, but will be increased
or decreased at a steady annual percentage rate until 2002. (See
table for rate changes for each service level.)

By evaluating and revising its rates, Tacoma was able  to deter-
mine the exact cost of each solid waste service provided, and
charge consumers accordingly. City planners hope that imple-
menting all these rate changes will help Tacoma accomplish the
following three goals: 1) send a clearer message to consumers
about the cost of waste disposal by charging them more accu-
rately for the services they use; 2) distribute solid waste costs
more equitably among consumers by allowing them to pay for
exactly the services they use; and 3) ensure a steady and accu-
rate inflow of solid waste revenue to the city. Success with such
efforts as customer surveys, pilot programs, and rate  restructur-
ing reaffirms Tacoma's commitment to continuously  improving
its PAYT program.
                                                               Service       Change       Service
                                                         32-gailon residential    „,   32-ealloa commercial ,-
                                                         &>  s3&~t^°     , -H5%-    ?„„.„_       +6%
     60-gallon residential
     drop-box collection
     90-gallon residential
     drop-box collection
    f^ ^ion-compacfed)
                                                                             +8%   60-gallon commercial   +g%
                                                                             4-3%  " ^Q'^ao- commercial   ^%
                                                                             +3%   300-gaUoncommer-   _g%
                                                                                      cial container
                                                                             .   .   front load collection,'   CB,
                                                                           +4 to 5%   , •           ,,     -5%
                                                                             '       (noa-compacted)'
      U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
      Canterbury (5306W)
      Washington, DC 20460
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