Some food for thought

Last week I met with Tim Freudo of 3BL Consulting. He’s unofficially involved with city green initiatives and during our discussion, he mentioned the need for a ‘Pay As You Throw’ program.

The premise is simple: To encourage recycling and reduction of waste by charging for each bag of garbage produced. It’s simple, would be easy to implement and has the “price tag” often needed for such a behavior change. It’s the same principle used with plastic-bag bans. Attach a cost to it, and use will be driven down.

The more I thought about it, the more it makes sense to use the same model of pricing that both electricity and water companies use. As a consumer, I know that if I run my air conditioning at 65 degrees 24/7, my electric bill is going to be sky high. The incentive to save money by setting the thermostat at 75 and using fans is great enough for a behavior change. Same with water – it’s why we often wait until the dishwasher is full or there’s a full load of laundry before diving into our water supply. It’s on a subconscious level that we realize using less saves money, and this in turn is becoming more sustainable.

And why shouldn’t that apply to garbage as well?


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