Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Lisbon Maine's Proposed PAYT (pay as you throw) Trash Program. ---- by Joe Hill

My opinion on the proposed PAYT trash program.

Those advocating PAYT programs usually tout the unfairness of one group (usually seniors) having to pay for the waste of younger residents with families that generate much more waste. They use slogans like "why should you pay for your neighbors wasteful ways"and "its good for the environment". 

Lets put the slogans aside and try to look at the truth about PAYT.
  • We will not save money. We will be trading the $10 dollars a year we now pay for a system that costs about $2 dollars for each trash bag sent to the transfer station. We will still have to pay for our transfer facilities. We may also have to hire additional personnel and trucks to collect the trash, or have an additional person at the transfer station to watch and make sure every person uses approved  trash bags.
  • This cost of colored bags will increase every few years. This is just a given.
  • Most Communities that convert to PAYT have between a 5 and 20 percent reduction in trash (ALL Trash) going to the collection centers.

This begs the question where does the missing trash go?
1. Some of that reduction in waste ends up in illegal dumps or on the roadside. I know of two small illegal sites within walking distance of my home.

2. Sometimes people resort to burning the trash in 55 gallon drums, risking fires and adding to the air pollution

3. Towns like Lisbon with a public sewer system notice some         of it flushed down toilets. This can clog pipes and cost the Town more money.

4. In more rural Towns excess trash is buried on private property. This can attract vermin and disease. This is not a joke it HAPPENS!!!

5. After Portland started their program they noticed some people hoarded the trash in their sheds until they were given away by the rotten smell. People will do strange things to save a buck.

I presently take two "Trader Joe;s" paper shopping bags and my recycling  to the transfer station every two weeks. I recycle everything now. What will this program do to me and people like me? It will mandate I use plastic , environmentally toxic, bags to get rid of my trash. How is this good for the environment?

Taxes are supposed to pay for broad community needs; picking up the trash is one of those needs. Whats next: Only residents with children in school should pay for the schools?

Lets call this bad idea what it really is, " another finger-in-the-dike, short-term solution to the money problem". 

If we really want to save money, we should reduce the bloated Police Department budget instead of going into business selling pretty little pink or green trash bags. 

Joe Hill

Editors note:  Lisbon already has a fine trash recycling program lets not mess with a good thing.

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