The New Home Economics

Charging by the weight for garbage

5 Comments

I forgot to post this until today, from Sunday’s Star Tribune:  a new waste disposal company that uses smaller trucks (which get better gas mileage) and charges for garbage by the pound!  I love this concept.  Hoping Minneapolis thinks about this in the future.  Here’s the story by reporter Laurie Blake.

For you out-of-staters: in St. Paul and some of the Twin Cities suburbs, garbage is handled by independent contractors, and residents must choose which company they want to use to haul away their garbage.  This is supposed to reduce government intrustion in peoples’ lives, save money, etc. ad nauseum.  Here in Minneapolis, the city contracts with one waste disposal company, and residents don’t have a choice.  Which way is better?  That’s a good question.

Neither the independent contractors nor the cities are charging by weight, though, and I’d love to see that change.  Saving money is a great incentive.

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5 thoughts on “Charging by the weight for garbage

  1. Pingback: Sustainable Savannah | Tracking sustainability news and events in Savannah, Georgia (and beyond) » One year later: Savannah’s curbside recycling program

  2. Eek, charging for garbage by the pound is actually a terrible idea. I fear all it will do is incentivize people to start anonymously dumping in random places to avoid the charges. I have thought a better way might be a variable community wide tax based upon the collective weight of garbage in the communtiy. Then you could leverage social pressure to incentivize people to reduce their waste since they can’t just dump it. I defintiely agree with the larger point though, we must cut down on our waste production. Trashcans with scales!

    • Matt, you have a good point, but I think it might depend on where you live. Here in Minneapolis we pay a flat rate for garbage and I think people would welcome the chance to try and pay less if possible.

      Out in the country though, people already do anonymously dump stuff to avoid paying. They have all kinds of different systems out there. My parents live in a small town in central Minnesota and they have to pay by the number of garbage bags.

  3. this is an awesome idea! making people accountable and aware of just how much they throw out. isn’t there a similar refuse collection system somewhere in europe? i thought i heard a story about it on npr a while back. (or once again did you already post a link to it and i just haven’t realized it 😉

    agree that clearly one drawback is the illegal dumping issue.

    • The more I think about it, I don’t know that illegal dumping is really going to be a huge issue in this particular instance, since people are choosing which garbage hauler they want to use. So theoretically only people who feel they can reduce their garbage will choose this contractor.

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