Benefits and side effects related to the pay-as-you-throw system implementation

In document Economics and Organization of Logistics (Page 98-103)

The PAYT system is most often used in smaller municipalities, where most house-holds have their own container. In the case of shared containers, e.g. in a block of flats, the waste management costs are billed collectively. The main benefits of using the PAYT system include [Boer et al. 2018]:

 encouraging selective collection,

 encouraging waste prevention,

 changing the behaviour and shopping habits of residents,

 rewarding good behaviour and punishing bad ones considering waste management,

 reducing municipal waste management costs.

As a consequence of implementing the PAYT system, the amount of generated waste is reduced.

Dahlen and Lagerkvist [2010] indicate the following strengths of PAYT systems:

 households’ acceptance,

 fair allocation of costs to the system users,

 a substantial reducing waste in bags, bins, and containers (15-90% reduction report-ed),

 ensuring transparency of waste management costs,

 increasing sorting of recyclables,

 encouraging home composting.

However, apart from the positive features of the system, including waste management cost reduction, increased level of waste segregation, reduction of waste generation, the PAYT system can lead to several unintended side effects. These effects are mainly related to throwing mixed waste in illegal places. Based on experiences from other countries, four different cases were observed [Boer et al. 2018]:

 waste is not in the right container,

 waste is not in the resident's container,

 waste is near instead of in a container,

 waste is not even near the container.

Dahlen and Lagerkvist [2010] indicate the following weaknesses of PAYT systems:

 increased investment and operational costs of the system,

 encouraging waste tourism (is. Waste moved to neighbouring household or communi-ties),

 encouraging illegal waste dumping,

 increased amounts of contaminants in recyclables.

Littering areas with waste is a frequently used argument against the pay-as-you-throw system. Experiences from the municipality of Brixen in Italy have shown that finding the original owners of the waste and imposing appropriate penalties on them is an effective measure in reducing the formation of such illegal landfills. Simultaneously, the combina-tion of system improvement, quick cleaning of litter, prosecucombina-tion of criminals, and envi-ronmental education can reduce the problem to an acceptable level [AOO 2004, Weijers et al. 2013].

Pay-as-you-throw system as an innovative solution...

Brown and Johnstone [2014], based on a web-survey on environmental behaviours with 4000 households across four countries, i.e. Canada, Netherlands, Sweden, Sweden, showed that experience with PAYT increased residents’ support for the system. Only households that generate relatively more waste were less PAYT supportive.


The system of fees for municipal waste in force in Poland is ineffective. Its obliga-tory nature means that it is not profitable for anyone to throw waste outside the contain-ers intended for this purpose. Still, the lack of appropriate differentiation of fees does not encourage limiting waste generation and segregation. In 2014–2019, the amount of municipal waste generated in Poland increased by 2.4 million t, i.e., almost a quarter.

Moreover, in 2019, only 25% of the collected waste was recycled, and as much as 43% of municipal waste was landfilled.

Based on the analysis, we should assume that the implementation of the fee for waste through the principle of the pay-as-you-throw seems the most appropriate option to ensure reliability in paying for waste management services. Moreover, the experience of other regions in the world has shown that the system effectively supports the reduction of dis-posable packaging and creates incentives for at source segregation and composting. The system respects the polluter pays principle fairly by charging citizens according to the amount of waste they produce and the corresponding services they have gained access to.

Unfortunately, the implementation of the pay-as-you-throw system in Poland is not possible in the current situation (as of 2020), as the legal system does not allow for the implementation of the system of determining the fee for waste management depending on the amount of waste generated. Furthermore, considering the current Polish reality with the existing large grey zone in other areas of waste management (e.g. end-of-life vehicles, waste electrical and electronic equipment), the probability of system abuse on a larger scale is much higher than in the other EU countries.


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Correspondence addresses:

assoc. prof. ElĪbieta J. SzymaĔska, PhD, Eng ( Warsaw University of Life Sciences – SGGW Institute of Economics and Finance Department of Logistics 166 Nowoursynowska St., 02-787 Warsaw, Poland e-mail:

Michaá Wielechowski, PhD ( Warsaw University of Life Sciences – SGGW Institute of Economics and Finance Department of Economics and Economic Policy 166 Nowoursynowska St., 02-787 Warsaw, Poland e-mail:

Economics and Organization of Logistics

In document Economics and Organization of Logistics (Page 98-103)