Should Municipalities Enact “Pay-As-You-Throw”
for Garbage Collection?
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SDG Target 12.5 (Substantially Reduce Waste Generation)
By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse.
Today we’re going to be debating which method of funding for garbage collection is preferable: a flat fee or pay-as-you-throw.
Why is it important/relevant?
Our world now produces about a trillion kilograms of garbage per year. Among the options of burn, bury, pile, and recycle, we all know the latter is preferable; the former choices poison our water, our land, and our air.
As individuals we are encouraged to sort our trash in order to reduce the number of garbage bags we toss to the street. That encouragement, however, does not often involve financial incentives; we pay the same flat tax rate whether we throw out two bags or twelve.
“Polluting should never be free,” say supporters of pay-as-you-throw programs that now exist in thousands of communities around the world. They point to things like increased rates of recycling and decreased taxation.
Others worry that larger families will struggle to pay, or that some citizens will save money by illegally dumping their trash elsewhere.
Before stating your opinions, we suggest that you do some reading and fact-finding of your own.
Content & Multimedia
First, let’s read/watch these resources:
2. “The World is Drowning in Ever-Growing Mounds of Garbage” -- from The Washington Post
3. A WasteZero “Pay-as-You-Throw” advertisement.
4. Pay-as-You-Throw Fees and Four More Ways to Reduce Waste -- from CBC News.
5. Food Loss and Food Waste -- from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Should municipalities enact a “pay-as-you-throw’ program for garbage collection?
Reducing and reusing are even more impactful than recycling. What are some ideas you (or others) have for doing so?
Globally, about one-third of all food is wasted. What measures have already been taken to reduce this percentage? What ideas can you come up with?
If this subject really interests you, please feel free to do some additional research and include it in your submission. Don’t worry about being “right”. The point of this discussion is to explore these ideas together.
After submitting your response, read at least two of your classmates’ responses and post a reply. Did they change your perspective in any way? Do you disagree? Why or why not? Can you add to their ideas?
Subject Area: Government & Politics, Mathematics, Sustainable Development Goals, World Issues
Level: Advanced, Introductory
Instructional Notes: Length of activity: 3 days