As part of an effort to triple the city’s recycling efforts over the next several years, the city of Phoenix will begin offering residents the option of smaller garbage containers later this year.  City leaders hope the move will encourage residents to recycle more by disposing of fewer recyclable items with the trash.

Those selecting the smaller receptacles will receive a 65-gallon barrel, as opposed to the 90-gallon bin presently in use.  The expectation is that about five percent of the city’s population will select the smaller bins initially, which will not only serve as a reminder to residents to recycle more, but also save them a few bucks on their monthly bill for recycling and refuse containers.

The concept, known as Pay-as-You-Throw, reduces customers’ costs, and could result in a financial loss to the city.  However, officials feel it may be worth the risk to meet the aggressive goals set by a program announced last year.  Arizona’s largest city announced the “40 by 20” program, which aims to keep 40 percent of recyclable trash out of landfills by 2020, up from the current rate of 13 percent.

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Though a relatively new idea, the Grand Canyon State’s capital city is not a pioneer of the Pay-as-You-Throw concept.  Cities across the country have introduced the method, including metropolitan areas such as San Jose, CA and Austin, TX – though not without some difficulties.  Many residents in Austin went for the smallest bin possible, and their lower monthly rates resulted in a financial loss for the city.

As more and more cities move to conserve landfill space and increase recycling, ideas like ‘Pay-as-You-Throw’ and other innovative ideas are popping up all the time.  And though there may be challenges, soon smaller trash bins – and more items in the recycling bin – may become the norm in municipalities of all sizes.

The Republic |