In the midst of the discussion on which recycling targets to set, how to reach resource efficiency and boost circular economy in Europe, ACR+ has explored the application of Pay-As-You-Throw in seven municipalities across the European Union. This new report looks at the potential benefits and challenges when introducing Pay-As-You-Throw, focusing on household waste.

Brussels, Belgium – Efforts to develop and enhance prevention, prepare for reuse and recycling have improved in the past decade, but have still not managed to stabilise or even reduce waste levels. Increased consumption and accompanying levels of waste have led to an interest in reinforcing policies and strategies addressing the top of the waste hierarchy. One such strategy for household waste is to apply the Polluter Pays Principle through the implementation of a variable fee structure, or Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT), as studied in this ACR+ publication. This policy targets household waste at its very source and makes households responsible for the quantity of waste discarded and thus creates an incentive for increased recycling, composting, and ideally a reduction in waste generation.

In order to examine and compare different strategies with regard to PAYT, the Association of Cities and Regions for Recycling and sustainable Resource management (ACR+) has examined the case studies of seven municipalities from seven European countries: Interza (Belgium), Maastricht Municipality (the Netherlands), Umeå Municipality (Sweden), Zollernalbkreis (Germany), Treviso (Italy), Besançon (France) and Innsbruck municipality (Austria). The results have been compiled in a report entitled “Cross-analysis of ‘Pay-As-You-Throw’ schemes in selected EU municipalities”, available to ACR+ members.

Results show that PAYT has the potential to adapt well to local conditions, to encourage (residual) waste reductions, to increase considerable recycling and (home) composting and to be well-received by stakeholders. The report also demonstrates how PAYT systems vary greatly in detail, coverage, objectives, time horizons, targets, indicators, monitoring systems, measures, and policy instruments and results.

 “PAYT is one of the economic instruments that local authorities can implement on their territories in order to increase their resource efficiency and boost circular economy. The Circular Economy package published by the European Commission in December 2015 clearly mentioned the insufficient use of economic instruments like PAYT schemes which contribute to the achievement of high recycling rates and as such invites member states to make better use of them. We hope that this report will inspire local authorities in Europe”, said Françoise Bonnet, ACR+ Secretary General.

The “Cross-analysis of ‘Pay-As-You-Throw’ schemes in selected EU municipalities” report is the second in a series of ACR+ observatory reports, the first one being the “EU Capital Cities Waste Management Benchmark” (2014). A list of all ACR+ reports can be found on ACR+ website.

View the Executive summary of the “Cross-analysis of ‘Pay-As-You-Throw’ schemes in selected EU municipalities” report at (available to all).

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