City Sustainability Specialist Kaeli Wells told the Flagstaff City Council this week that since August, staff have been piloting a program dubbed “Trash less, save more” in the Ponderosa Trails neighborhood. The pilot program implements volumetric pricing, meaning that residents essentially have the ability to use smaller trash bins based on how much trash they produce each week and are then charged accordingly, Wells said.

At the moment, the only option for most Flagstaff residents is to use standard 96-gallon trash bins. And no matter how much trash ends up in the can by the end of the week, residents still pay the same flat fee for the service. The pilot program changes that, introducing two smaller options in the form of a 64-gallon trash can and a 48-gallon trash can. Each of the other options would have a lower garbage fee associated with it.

“Volumetric pricing says, ‘Hey, if you’re trashing less, then you should be spending less on your trash bill.’ And before now we didn’t have an option for folks who were producing less waste.” Wells said. “So it works just like utilities: you pay for as much as you need.” As the system is set up now, a resident using a 64-gallon bin saves about $2.21 a month while a resident using a 48-gallon bin saves about $4.19. So far, Wells said, about 200 households within the Ponderosa Trails neighborhood have signed on and have started using smaller bins. Those residents currently in the program will receive a rebate with their savings at the end of the pilot, set to conclude soon.

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