Orleans Officials Considering Pay-As-You-Throw Trash System


ORLEANS – In an effort to promote and further the practice of recycling across town, officials in Orleans are considering a pay-as-you-throw system.

Pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) is a system of waste management adapted by some communities in which residents are required to purchase specific trash bags from the town in order to dispose of their household’s garbage.

The system encourages residents to recycle as much as possible in order to reduce the amount of pre-purchased trash bags used to dispose of waste, thus separating recyclables out of the waste stream.

DPW and Natural Resources Director Tom Daley recently presented the idea to selectmen and the board of health, stating that the system would save the town money on municipal solid waste disposal costs of $95 per ton.

“It really comes down to dollars and cents. Trash is really a big business. There’s a lot of money in trash and we spend a lot of money on trash. There’s great opportunity to save money on trash and recycling,” said Daley.

“We can get rid of clothing for nothing, yet some people still throw it in the trash, but we can get rid of it for nothing. Bottle returns, we do that. Some people throw them away but we have a great turnout. This generates revenue for local causes, but basically it’s free for residents of Orleans. Tin cans basically go away for free.”

Daley went on to explain to town officials that recycling is a mostly free means of waste disposal since it uses significantly less energy than the processing of raw materials found in trash. He says increased recycling in Orleans would produce both economic and environmental impacts for the town.

Furthermore, Daley predicts the PAYT system would reduce the amount of trash trucked out of the town by 40-percent, saving an estimated $64,000 in transportation costs.

“Mostly, it’s free to recycle and it costs the taxpayer $95 per ton to trash it. So why do we do it? Why do we throw it in the trash instead of recycle it? It’s a conscious decision.” Daley said.  

“You can stand there with either your plastic container or your piece of paper and you can either throw it away in the trash container on the right or you can throw it in the recycling container on the left. We can do better than we’re doing.”

Both the board of health and board of selectman must determine if town meeting would or would not decide on a change to rates at the transfer station or the installation of a PAYT system.  

By TIM DUNN, CapeCod.com News Center 

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