Waste Management and Usage Fees: Pay-As-You-Throw Programs as an Economic Model

By François Bénard


The implementation of ‘pay as you throw’ (PAYT) schemes makes the public service of domestic waste management switch from a tax model to an economic model. After recalling the principles of PAYT schemes, the article analyzes the consequences of this swing from three points of view.
First of all, users of the public service, who have now become consumers, change their behaviour in favour of both recycling and the stabilization of the production of wastes. Uncivil reactions of consumers charged with variable, volume-based rates are limited.
Secondly, the technical and managerial organisation of the municipality must be adapted, for the whole process of waste management is affected by the change in the charging system. The management of the organisation requires suitable human and material means, and the relationship between the public authorities and the consumers needs to be adapted.
Lastly, the economic model needs a peculiar tariff, which should be designed based on a careful analysis on the service itself. Despite the resulting changes in the balance of the budget and its risks, PAYT schemes seem to remain economically advantageous.
For all these reasons, more and more public actors are interested in such schemes, to the extent that they may even become compulsory.
Go to the article on Cairn-int.info