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Charlotte Area

Charlotte Looking At "Pay-As-You-Throw" Garbage Collection

Colin Delaney

The city of Charlotte is looking at changing the way its residents pay for trash collection, from a flat fee to a “pay-as-you-throw” system. 

Charlotte’s solid waste budget for this fiscal year is $48.7 million, but only about a quarter of that comes from the money it charges residents for trash collection. The rest of the cost comes out of the general fund, so the city is looking at ways to better cover that cost and to reduce the amount of waste people send to the landfill.

Credit WasteZero
A WasteZero bag.

A company called WasteZero says it can do just that. The Raleigh-based firm makes brightly-colored trash bags with a city or county seal printed on them. They’re sold in grocery stores for between 50 cents and $2 per bag, depending on landfill fees. The idea is for people to look at trash service like water or electricity---something they pay for based on how much they use.

WasteZero’s board chair John Campbell says cities using its bags have reduce what they send to the landfill by an average of 44 percent in a few months.

WasteZero presented to the Raleigh city council earlier this year, and now it says it’s working with Charlotte’s solid waste services to develop a plan for the city.

City Councilman John Autry, speaking on WFAE’s Charlotte Talks, says he welcomes hearing the company’s sales pitch.

“This is part of what the city has to do with its due diligence process… to evaluate, fully understand the ramifications and advantages,” Autry says.

WasteZero serves about 70 cities, mostly in the Northeast and Midwest. It’s largest client is Worcester, Mass.