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Scheduling Issues

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There are many steps involved in planning, designing, and implementing a pay-as-you-throw program. Communities with pay-as-you-throw often report that a firm schedule of activities helps to make the process manageable. By establishing a timeline, solid waste planners can highlight critical needs, foster coordination among the many players, and increase the efficiency of the program development process.

Solid waste planners typically begin by identifying the key decisions that need to be made and steps that should be taken. Next, a detailed timeline is often developed that incorporates the planning, design, and implementation phases of the program. Communities that have launched pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) typically recommend initiation of planning and scheduling activities at least one year prior to the date of implementation. For municipalities with more complex programs (for example, those planning to offer an array of complementary services or considering an extensive public education and outreach effort), planning and design might take longer.

Local circumstances will inevitably affect the time needed to plan and implement a PAYT program. For example, community size, service options, equipment changes, contractual changes, and financing requirements can influence the pace of program development. The structure of the local political process and the need for new ordinances may also play a role. Communities often cite the level of political support as being responsible for either significant delays or for rapid progress in implementing PAYT.

Photo of CalendarNonetheless, general guidelines exist for scheduling each phase of program development. For example, setting goals and building consensus are critical steps leading up to a final decision on whether to pursue pay-as-to-throw. Work on these steps should begin at least a year before expected program startup. Making a decision about container options will also need to occur well before implementation, although 6 to 9 months in advance is often sufficient.

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The following is a list of some of the key implementation activities and when they should take place. Solid waste agencies typically take the following steps at least 9 months prior to program implementation:

At least 6 months prior to program implementation: At least 3 months prior to program implementation: During implementation of PAYT: Ongoing activities include:

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Additional resources

For additional information on scheduling issues, consult the implementation checklist worksheet (Worksheet 6 in the set of seven worksheets (PDF) (21 pp, 331K, about PDF) in the Pay-As-You-Throw Tool Kit.

In addition, a detailed time line for the planning, design, and implementation of a PAYT program begins on page 55 in Part IV of the guidebook Pay-As-You-Throw: Lessons Learned About Unit Pricing.

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