Official says paid garbage disposal program benefits community

by: Stephanie Coueignoux Updated:

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CATAWBA COUNTY, N.C. - The city of Charlotte is still months from deciding if it will start billing residents for how much garbage they throw away.
 
But communities across our area have had a pay-as-you-throw program for years.
 
Eyewitness News reporter Stephanie Coueignoux went to Catawba County to find out the plan impacts taxpayers everyday lives and their wallets.
 
 “I do like the fact that I just have to pay for my own disposal for my own waste,” said resident Vinnie Curtis.
 
Curtis was at the Catawba County landfill where he was dropping off his garbage.
 
Throwing trash away at the landfill costs residents $33 a ton. For curbside pickup, residents pay $18.88 per month if they recycle and $5 more if they don't.
 
All that money goes to pay for the program.
 
Since the county doesn't charge residents an additional fee to pick up and dispose of the waste, every resident pays for their own trash.
 
“The less they throw away, the more they recycle, the less they eventually end up paying,” said Jack Chandler with the Catawba County Utility Department.
 
Curtis said because it impacts his wallet, he's become more diligent.
 
“We recycle anything we can whether it's paper, plastic or cardboard, or what have you,” Curtis said.
 
Channel 9 asked whether this is fair for larger families who naturally generate more trash.
 
Chandler admitted they may pay more but this program is also aimed at benefiting the environment.
 
“We believe that our citizens do reap a benefit from that,” Chandler said.
 
Chandler said the county will also save money because it won't have to buy another landfill for 70 more years.
 
Since the program started, the amount of garbage generated per person has dropped 33 percent.

Channel 9 asked if Charlotte will consider dropping its waste disposal fee if they move forward with the program and have not heard back.
 
Charlotte officials are in the early stages of reviewing the program including those added costs. They expect to finish their report in May.

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