We talk all the time about the amount of waste that a single person creates daily (with staggering amounts contributed to households and businesses). It's also been pointed out that despite you not opening your car window and chucking it out that when you throw it "away" it has to go somewhere. At this point it is handled the best way that we know how but much of that involves the "stuff" being buried. We know that practices are in place to keep us safe and regulations watch that the trash we bury doesn't contaminate the soil or water around us. We also know that no system is ever 100% failsafe.
Based on that.. we have tried to find ways to encourage residents and businesses to recycle more and waste or trash less. Obviously recycling is the option that we most often suggest. Reduction in both consumption and waste is another key component of the three R's (Reduce, Reuse, Recycling.. just in case you need a refresher). Although most people understand that taking the time to participate in the three R's is better for our planet but despite the knowledge, it's not always easy to make them follow through and actually do it.
Some townships have approached the issue with the goal of embarrassing them into action and others have taken it to their pocketbook. Townships have decided to limit the waste they collect while placing "visual report cards" on the bins to notify all passersby of each households effective (or ineffectiveness) in recycling. Some highlight the quality of the material being placed in the bins while others point out the number of recycling bins versus garbage. Although I haven't experienced such a program firsthand, I've read that the public "announcement" method has guilted households into increased participation with higher quality material (who wants to be the only house in the neighborhood who isn't helping clean up our planet?). I've also read that the pay as you throw method has yielded really great results. Instead of a blanket monthly rate the waste collection company has you pay by the bag. You have a direct hand in what you pay per month as well as the ability to reduce costs by slimming down what you toss. It seems to work hand in hand with the less you throw out the more you recycle. Obviously just because homes are putting more items in the recycling bin doesn't necessarily mean that more items are truly recycled. That is when it seems that a combination of the two methods may work best together.
I am impressed that recycling coordinators are giving these programs and recycling in general the attention it really deserves. How do you feel about the "embarrass into participation" or "pay as you throw" programs?