Monday, February 1, 2010

The "Pay As You Throw" Prep List

Well, it’s coming: Pay As You Throw (PAYT).

With the Tiverton Town Council voting to implement PAYT as a tactic for extending the life of our landfill, boosting municipal recycling rates, and putting away funds for the eventual capping, folks from across town are undoubtedly going to get themselves in a tizzy over it.

According to the Sakonnet Times article last week, we won't see the program start for months while all the details are worked out. That should give everyone plenty of time to get ready. To help, I have taken the liberty to throw together an unofficial list of things you can do to prepare. Good luck!

Number One: Get Educated

Municipalities across the country (including several in RI) have been implementing PAYT programs with success. The U.S. EPA has a great website with all the ins and outs. Or read this great article covering all the pros and cons along with lots of impressive stats.

Number Two: Buy Less

The less you have, the less you have to figure out how to throw away. Take PAYT as that opportunity to start doing more with less, differentiating between ‘need’ and ‘want’, and reducing all that clutter in your life. Need some motivation? Watch the Story of Stuff.

Number Three: Get on the Freecycle Bandwagon

For all that stuff that is still in good shape and could use a second life with someone else, there is freecycling. We are signed up with the Yahoo! Group Freecycle Newport. With thousands of area people using it, you’re bound to find someone who wants your stuff.

Number Four: Pre-Cycle
When you shop, look for packaging that can be recycled. Glass, aluminum, Number 1 and 2 plastics, and paper-based materials can land in your blue and green bins instead of your trash barrel. And remember that buying in bulk can also cut down on the amount of packaging you consume.

Number Five: Start a Compost Pile
Around twenty-five percent of household waste is organic material (e.g., vegetable and non-meat food scraps, lawn and garden clippings, etc.) and can be composted. The whole brown-and-green-layering thing couldn’t be easier and the end result (compost) is the absolute best thing you could ever put in your garden. Check out this great composting resource from URI to learn more.

Number Six: Seize the Teachable Moment with Your Kids

If you haven’t already given your kids the Recycling 101 class, now is the time. Our experience is that the sooner you show kids how to separate recyclables from trash, and tell them why we do it, the sooner they will be helping you without your asking. Make a game out it. Fun stuff rocks.

Number Seven: Get to Know Your Neighbors
Not so long ago, we actually talked with our neighbors. That led to all sorts of great things: From borrowing a cup of sugar to lending a hand with the kids to keeping an eye on each other’s house when you weren’t around. Neighbors use to let each other borrow things big and small. History could repeat itself here. Remember the magic equation: Borrow More = Buy Less = Throw Less Out.

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