Unit-based pricing, also known as pay as you throw (PAYT), disposal bans, and recycling mandates are the three top strategies for increasing recovery rates and sustaining financing for collection and recovery in waste management systems, according to a white paper by the American Institute for Packaging and the Environment (Ameripen).
The white paper, Ameripen Analysis of Strategies and Financial Platforms to Increase the Recovery of Used Packaging, says these three strategies can collectively help shift consumer practices away from waste disposal and towards recycling and other recovery strategies.
Despite the complexities of local solid waste management decisions, implementing pay as you throw collection systems can have significant impact on driving increased recovery and waste reduction. These programs are self-sustaining in that the costs of programs implementation are borne by the rate payers, the white paper says.
Both mandatory recycling and disposal bans have shown proven increases in material recovery, despite the challenges of enforcement. Redeployment of avoided landfill tipping fees and increased income from material recovery streams can provide financing to support infrastructure needs.
- Decisions should provide a clear policy direction for the foreseeable future, particularly those tied to financing and recycling targets that involve industry.
- Fragmented systems as found in the EU and Canada should be avoided, and a harmonized approach to optimizing program efficiencies and effectiveness should be created.
- To measure program effectiveness and efficiency, adopt harmonized reporting mechanisms on recycling and waste management across the states.
- States and municipalities should not consider recovery strategies in isolation. Instead, they must first move to utilize approaches with proven success, and then explore mechanisms to fund any gaps that may occur.
In November, Ameripen’s Product Recovery Knowledge Maps, a web-based tool that aims to increase recovery rates for packaging material, went live. The product was previously reserved for Ameripen members only. Now most aspects of it have been made freely available.
PKRMs are web-based matrices of primarily publicly available data and report findings, designed to house data in an interactive way. One PRKM has been developed for each of the Ameripen Recovery Work Group’s three teams: Packaging Material Data, Collection and Processing Infrastructure, and Recovery Systems.