LETTER: Why Not Combine Tipping Fees and Pay As You Throw?

Submitted by Gina Gladstein, Old Greenwich

First Selectman Fred Camillo has proposed a new “user fee” he is calling “pay as you throw”. He wants to charge $2.00 per bag for garbage removal.  He points out this will help control waste management costs by changing consumer behavior.

Municipalities operate waste transfer stations where residents, businesses and commercial trash haulers dump waste that is subsequently transferred to other facilities. Towns typically charge the haulers a Tipping fee to cover the cost of the transfer from the town dump to the processing facility.  Greenwich does charge Tipping fees to haulers who dump yard waste, construction debris and scrap metal to cover the transfer costs. Surprisingly, we are the only town in the State of Connecticut that does not charge trash haulers “tipping fees”.  In Greenwich, our taxes pay this entire cost. This annual expense is over $4 million and rising.

Mr. Camillo has stated that he has carefully considered tipping fees and rejected this option arguing the cost will be passed onto the consumer.

In a comparison titled “Tipping Fee vs Pay As You Throw” now posted on the Town of Greenwich website, these options are presented as though they are mutually exclusive.

I would argue when combined with Tipping fees, Pay As You Throw administered by haulers in a Public-Private partnership will have more impact.

The lack of Tipping fees creates no incentive for haulers to carefully control trash volume. Appropriate fees should be used to influence the behavior of consumers and haulers alike. Let the haulers charge for the bags (estimated conservatively at just under $2 million) which will defray their Tipping costs and let’s dramatically decrease the town costs for operating the transfer station.

Trash removal costs money. We pay for it one way or the other.

The program that most effectively reduces expense will be the program that most effectively reduces the amount of trash. A combined program of Tipping fees and PAYT will reduce the tax burden on Town residents, provide appropriate compensation to our haulers, and create a more sustainable and fiscally responsible solution to the growing problem of solid waste.

Gina Gladstein, Old Greenwich