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Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) is a fee-for-service system that allows residential and commercial customers to pay for the amount of waste they produce instead of paying a fixed fee or tax for solid waste services. PAYT creates a direct, economic incentive for citizens and businesses to reduce the amount of waste generated, and to increase recycling and composting activities. Communities in Montana that have implemented PAYT systems have realized savings in waste disposal costs.

Why is PAYT such a great program? Because PAYT can be customized to meet the unique needs of each community and can result in dramatic declines in the amount of waste going into landfills, thereby reducing solid waste costs.

In 1993, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued new rules for waste disposal which, while designed to minimize pollution from solid waste, increased costs to small communities across Montana. Many small landfill districts in Montana are looking for ways to keep the lid on their waste management costs and PAYT may be the answer.

Can PAYT work in your community? PAYT works in communities that have alternative programs in place for waste management, such as recycling and composting services. The Air, Energy and Pollution Prevention Bureau can help your community research available recycling and composting opportunities so that your community can implement a customized PAYT program.

Any community wanting more information about implementing a PAYT system can telephone Sandra Boggs at the Recycling Program at Montana Department of Environmental Quality, 406-841-5217.