Rubbish “pay as you throw” system tested

In April this year, a small parish in Maia, north of Portugal, will begin testing a new waste management system in which homeowners only pay for the exact quantity of rubbish they produce, instead of a fixed fee included in the water bill.

The project is based on “Pay As You Throw” (PAYT) systems, a usage-pricing model for disposing of municipal solid waste and it will cover around 1,100 homes and about 3,500 residents. The initial cost is€400.000.

Basically, the more rubbish a resident produces, the more he pays. According to project coordinator Paulo Rodrigues, four containers (for waste, plastic, glass and paper) will be distributed to each house, equipped with a weighing system to measure the amount of rubbish the household has deposited, while the user is identified by a card.

Waste bins in the street will also be updated with user-identifying waste deposit systems. Every time a resident deposits waste (recyclables are free) the system registers the quantity, and finally is charged an amount relative to its deposits, which Paulo Rodrigues considers “a more equitable and fair system”.

Portimão also wants to implement a PAYT system, focused on street waste bins and a card identification system, saving on individual bins and collecting, which is ready to start working once the entire town is covered by public underground waste containers and the town hall can find the money to implement the project.