What is Pay as You Throw?

31 May 2018

Lab Chat

In the modern day we generally want more, buy more and – as a result – throw away much more. Whether it’s food, gadgets or clothes, the throw-away society is well and truly in force thanks to consumerism. And it means local, national and international authorities are now looking at ways to cap this waste. One solution put forward by the Dubai Municipality is “pay-as-you-throw” – but what exactly does it entail?

Pay-as-you-throw

While it may sound like something from a phone advertisement, pay-as-you-throw is a way of getting waste transport companies to pay for how much waste they dispose of in landfills and treatment plants. It will affect companies operating in over 16 Dubai areas where waste collection and disposal has been outsourced to private operators.

From 17th May 2018, any waste collection and transport companies will pay a pay-as-you-throw fee. Each company will need to register a bank account with the municipality, from which the fees will be automatically deducted each time any of their trucks dump waste at municipal facilities.

How much is pay-as-you-throw?

For general waste, the municipality has given the following price chart (with the dumping location in brackets): • Municipal waste (landfills) – Dh80 per tonne
• Organic waste (waste treatment plants) – Dh30 per tonne
• Recyclable materials mixed with organic waste (waste sorting stations) – Dh30 per tonne
• Recyclable materials free of organic waste (waste sorting stations) – Dh20 per tonne

Passing the burden

To make pay-as-you-throw possible, transport companies will use radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags on their trucks, costing around Dh300 per tag. These will be scanned using smart gates at landfills and treatment plants to identify which company should be charged.

Despite the policy seemingly targeting the companies themselves, several operators have already made clear their intentions to pass the fees onto customers. “Eventually, it will go to the end user generating waste. Our clients will take it from their tenants or guests as their service fees for waste collection,” said a representative of one company.

Potential long-term effects

Irresponsible waste disposal has become a huge problem across the world. Only recently, scientists discovered shocking amounts of plastic making their way into food as an indirect result. So, will Dubai’s new payment system make any difference?

Even with pay-as-you-throw fees being passed to the end user, the system could still work to encourage more responsible waste management. By disincentivising mixed, general waste, it’s hoped more people will separate their waste before throwing it away and reduce their cost of waste collection in the long run

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