Dayton to test ‘pay-as-you-throw’ waste program to encourage recycling

After falling short of its recycling goal in 2019, the city of Dayton hopes that its use of data-tracking technology will lead to more waste being diverted from the landfill.

The city also will oversee a “pay-as-you-throw” pilot program aimed at boosting recycling that will be tested in Jefferson Twp. that could be implemented in Dayton neighborhoods in the future.

“With ‘pay-as-you-throw,’ residents will be rewarded for recycling more,” said John Parker, Dayton’s waste collection manager. “As they recycle more, they will pay less.”

MORE: Dayton looks for new ways to get residents to recycle more

Through the third quarter of this year, recyclables accounted for about 8% of all city-collected waste, according to city data.

That was the same recycling rate of the first three quarters of 2018 and fell short of the city’s 13% “diversion” goal for 2019.

On average, waste collection has picked up about 1,069 tons of recycling each quarter of 2019, the city said. Dayton pays about $38.25 per ton of waste sent to the landfill, while recyclables cost about $20 per ton.

This year, waste collection implemented a new radio-frequency identification (RFID) system that provides data about who is and isn’t recycling, said Fred Stovall, Dayton’s director of public works.

Using that information, public works will identify neighborhoods with low participation rates and will try to educate citizens who do not recycle about its benefits, Stovall said.

The technology also is helping the city identify when recycling bins are contaminated with trash that must go the landfill.

Stovall said the city is working to educate citizens about the importance of recycling correctly and not contaminating the recycling stream with items that do not belong.

“What we mean by the term contamination is we need the right things to go in that blue container,” Stovall said. “We don’t want you to put your trash in the blue container.”

MORE: Leaf collection returns to Dayton for first time in years

Early next year, the city will start working toward implementing a pay-as-you-throw recycling program in Jefferson Twp., Parker said.

The township contracts with the city to handle waste removal, and Dayton will work with a consultant with a goal of launching the program in 2021, Parker said.

The program seeks to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in the landfill, and the pilot program will be a model the city of Dayton can use in its own neighborhoods if it proves doable and effective, Parker said.

Dayton has not finalized the details of its program, but pay-as-you-throw programs generally replace flat waste collection fees with a system based on the amount of trash citizens throw away.

Jefferson Twp. residents get 96 gallon waste containers, but in the future, they may be able to reduce their waste collection costs by scaling back to 64- or 32-gallon containers and placing more of their waste in recycling containers, assuming they recycle correctly, Parker said.

RELATED: Back by resident demand after a long hiatus: Dayton leaf collection


8%: Amount of recyclables accounted for of all city-collected waste, according to city data through the third quarter of this year.

13%: The goal for recyclables in 2019.

1,069 tons: Average amount waste collection has picked up of recycling each quarter of 2019

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