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Council to Discuss SMART – to Reduce Trash and Encourage Recycling

At tomorrow’s meeting, the Council will discuss the SMART program (sometimes called Pay as You Throw [PAYT]), a program that City’s Committee of Better Environment (CBE recommended in order to reduce trash and increase recycling. CBE’s recommendation is available here on City’s website. The report describes a usage-based, revenue-neutral trash fee similar to metering for electricity, gas and water usage, for instance.  The proposed SMART program is similar to the one already in place in 10,000 communities across the nation and worldwide.

Typically, SMART communities produce 30 percent less trash than those like College Park, where trash costs are hidden in the property tax bill. CBE recommends residents use bags of different capacity based on the use of trash residents generate at their homes. Businesses that use a lot of cardboard boxes are also encouraged to implement cardboard recycling programs. In addition, businesses in the field of metal manufacturing may have scrap metals that they may consider submitting for metal recycling at their local metal recycling center.

According to the recommendation, the City would require residents to buy specific brightly colored bags that carry its logo. The fee for the bag would include some of the cost of waste collection and disposal. A jurisdiction typically makes bags available in a variety of sizes from small 8-gallon kitchen bags to large 30-gallon bags, for example. Well-designed programs distribute bags through a variety of outlets where residents typically shop, which makes them easily accessible. The trash collector has to simply make sure that all bags are jurisdiction-specific bags and not pick up any that are not.

CBE recommends dropping the property tax by 2.5c per $100 of property value and reducing the annual landlord trash fee by $80. The drop in the City’s revenue of $325,000 would be compensated by a collection of bag fees and the decrease in the trash tipping fee due to the decrease in trash tonnage.

The workgroup also recommended a fee structure for all bulk-waste pickup at $10 per bulk pickup to would discourage abuse and decreasing the tax rate an additional $0.5 cents per $100 of assessed value to compensate for that additional charge. The workgroup also recommended that the city provide education to help people understand the benefits of the program and ways to reduce trash.


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  1. Harvey

    Absolutely not! This does nothing to reduce the amount of trash generated. People find other ways of disposing trash be it dumping it on the side of the road or dumpsters in commercial areas.

  2. Carlene

    I do not think the “SMART” idea to reduce the amount of trash in College Park is a good one. I think people might find other ways to dispose of their trash. We don’t need garbage piling up in yards or anywhere else. We already have a rodent problem. Please do not make the switch. It’s a bad idea, in my opinion.

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