Try once, more likely to try again

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New research has indicated that support for "Pay As You Throw" (PAYT) waste schemes is much higher among those who have actually experienced them, according to the European Commission's Science for Environment Policy.

PAYT is a pricing model for the disposal of solid waste, where users are charged based on how much waste they put out for collection by the local waste management authority. Currently, the system does not exist in Australia, but it has been implemented in parts of the USA, Europe and some countries in Asia.

Convincing individuals to help bear the cost of products and services which impact the environment can be a challenge. In this study, researchers examined public support for environmental taxes using data from the OECD ‘Environmental Policy for Individual Behaviour Change (EPIC)’ survey. Four countries with sufficiently widespread mixed residential waste PAYT schemes (Canada, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland) were selected for analysis, covering more than  3,500 households.

They found that individuals who were less likely to support PAYT schemes were also less likely to accept any financial burdens when it came to environmental costs. However, those who had prior experience of a PAYT scheme were more supportive of the idea.

The study suggests that members of the public would be more likely to support bearing the financial burdens for environmental issues where they had previously experienced using a system which had similar attitudes behind it.

Image: GECA CEO Rupert Posner snapped this picture of the PAYT bags used in Zurich. Householders must dispose of their rubbish in pre-purchased bags, which cost 1CHF (A$1.20) each.