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In the Nov. 3 Los Alamos Monitor, there is a View Point discussing claimed environmental benefits for the “Pay-As-You-Throw” (PAYT) rate structure for trash pickup.
Contrary to the conclusion of that writer, the PAYT system is an environmentally harmful system and is also inequitable for the following reasons:
•In communities that have implemented such systems, the resulting expensiveness of trash pickup and the perceived unfairness of the system result in wide-spread “wildcat” dump sites. This was the experience of Tucson, Ariz., where I lived previously. In western cities like ours, most people have ready access to pickup trucks and large vehicles, and thus driving out into the forest (or desert) and dumping your trash is easy. People feel justified in doing this because they perceive that they are being charged an exorbitant rate compared to their neighbor (who has the means to live alone) who gets charged less.
•The resulting “wildcat” dump sites encourage other people to do the same. The dumpsites are dangerous in public health terms and in their environmental impact.
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