NC City Considers Charging 'Pay By The Bag' For Garbage

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WCNC) -- Big changes could be coming to the way Charlotte handles garbage.

It's called "pay by the bag" or "pay by the throw" where residents would pay for the amount they dispose of, much like a water or electric bill instead of a yearly flat rate.

Officials listened to a presentation about it in May from Raleigh-based Waste Zero.

It would require city-approved garbage bags folks would have to buy at stores for about a dollar apiece, then fill and place on the curb.

Retired garbage truck driver Ron Furr doesn't create much garbage.

"Not too much, mine isn't nothing like most people's (garbage)," Furr said.

So he could potentially save money.

Right now, the city charges homeowners about $50 bucks a year for garbage removal.

"I think personally it should stay the same," said neighbor Andrew Havas.

His concern is large, low income families who generate a lot of trash could end up paying more.

"We have people who may or may not be able to afford it," Havas said.

In a presentation to city officials, Waste Zero says pay by the bag encourages recycling, reduces trash collection by up to half, expands the lifespan of landfills and can save the city nearly $300 million dollars in expenses over the next decade.

Right now it is a research stage to see how pay by the bag is working in other cities and whether it's right for Charlotte. Ultimate approval would have to come from city council.

"I like the fact they're trying to be responsible about the garbage. It may not be a perfect solution, but it's a start," said neighbor Kevin Donald.

One concern about "pay by the bag" is people putting more "garbage" in recycling containers.

Recycling is monitored by crews and won't be picked up if there's garbage in it, plus the city faces fines if the percentage of garbage in recycling is too high, city officials said.


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