According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. residents dispose of close to 300 million tons of municipal solid waste each year, and most of that waste can be found in oceans and landfills and contributing to climate change.
In the 1970s (that’s 50 years ago!) municipalities began adopting waste initiatives to reduce municipal solid waste. The Pay-As-You-Throw, also called SMART (Save Money and Reduce Trash) waste policy requires residents to pay directly for waste disposal services. Municipalities create a financial incentive to reduce waste through reuse or donations, waste reduction, recycling, and composting.
Case in point, in 2020 Massachusetts showed that communities running the Pay-As-You-Throw program reduced household solid waste by 30%, compared with communities without the program. More than 7,000 municipalities across California, Maine, New York, Michigan, Washington, and Massachusetts have successfully implemented the Pay-As-You-Throw policy presently. We can all be “SMARTer”