Pay As You Throw (PAYT) is the common name for a unit-based pricing system in which residents directly pay for the disposal of their solid waste rather than through a fixed fee for all households utilizing the Transfer Station. It is the equivalent to paying for household usage of water or electricity and is not only a more equitable approach for all users of the facility, it is also a direct cost to usage system.
Starting in October 2021, the Town will launch the program, which will be open to all residents. Special garbage bags will be required for the disposal of garbage (not yard waste or recycling) but there will be no Transfer Station permit fee associated with the use of the facility. The Transfer Station will be open to any resident with a resident parking sticker/placard and the only garbage bags allowed will be the special PAYT bags. These details will be forthcoming.
The Working Group that has been studying this program and the cost impacts to the town and residents presented its report and recommendation to the Select Board on April 13, 2021. The Working Group's Presentation (PDF) is available online and the meeting was recorded by Weston Media Center (mm 1:30:00).
As a designated Green Community by the Commonwealth, facilitating reuse and recycling opportunities while minimizing solid waste disposal is a critical goal of the Town. PAYT is a win-win program:
- it creates incentives to recycle;
- it gets usable goods out of the trash stream and into the hands of those in need or want of them; and
- saves taxpayer money without raising the cost of disposing of trash for the average household.
We understand that change is annoying, particularly with something as mundane as disposing of garbage. However, in the 44% of Massachusetts municipalities that have adopted this system, solid waste tonnage has been reduced, on average, by over one-third, thereby reducing the expense of trash disposal. The current flat-rate permit fee at the Transfer Station is not sustainable against rising costs of disposal, nor is it sustainable environmentally.
Don't Treat it Like Garbage
Rethinking what goes into the trash bag or expanding recycling and reduction practices can greatly reduce what is placed in the PAYT bag and reduce the number of bags used.
Recycling opportunities are near-endless at the Transfer Station to help residents keep as much out of the garbage bag as possible. Plus, composting is available to keep even more out of the bag. A list of all recycling and reduction opportunities can be found in the sidebar on the left of the screen.