Nearly three dozen cities and towns in Connecticut have programs that require residents to pay for exactly how much garbage they toss away, and soon Durham and Middlefield may too.
The Durham Middlefield Interlocal Agreement Advisory Board (DMIAAB) plans to research the pay-as-you-throw method of garbage disposal known as SMART, or Save Money and Reduce Trash.
While cities and towns across the state have adopted various forms of SMART, the essential idea behind the program is that residents pay for how much trash they throw away.
For example, in Clinton residents can purchase a two-month transfer station pass for $30 that allows them to throw away twenty 30-gallon bags of trash.
In Wallingford, residents pay a $2.22 fee for each container of trash — 30 gallons or less, or 40 pounds or less — they dump at the town's transfer station.
Communities that implement unit-based pricing (SMART) programs typically see a decrease in overall solid waste production, with a final disposal rate of 400-600 pounds per person per year (compared to the national average rate of disposal of 1,124 lbs per person/yr) with associated increases in recycling and source reduction of waste, according to the EPA.
Although it's premature to speculate on what a SMART program might look like in Durham and Middlefield, what are your thoughts on pay-to-throw? Let us know in the comments below.