Montgomery County ‘Pay as You Throw' program could make recycling more worthwhile

What would you say to the prospect of paying a little more money for throwing away garbage if you knew you could save some cash if you recycle.

The program is called "Pay as You Throw" and Montgomery County officials say they're taking a look at it because they've got too much garbage and not enough recycling materials.

In the "Pay as You Throw" program, residents would pay more as they throw away garbage, and less for recycling.

Adam Ortez, Montgomery County's environmental director, says they're trying to improve their recycling numbers.

"Montgomery County has one of the highest recycling rates on the eastern seaboard. We're doing a lot, but still more than 60 percent of what we're sending to the incinerator is still a recyclable material and it's a lot of stuff we're burning and sending to landfills that has value," Ortez said.

The garbage is a commodity, and the county wants to capture as much of that value as it can for taxpayers.

The "Pay as You Throw" program would charge residents for the amount of trash they produce, instead of everyone paying the same fee. It costs about $47 to haul a ton of garbage, but a ton of sorted recyclables costs about $30 a ton.

The current business model for recycling was created when mandatory recycling arrived in the 1990s.

The idea is to incentivize people to throw away less garbage, and to compost more and recycle more.

The "Pay as You Throw" proposal is in a new transition report, and it will take a full year to run through all the consideration.

Officials say they won't roll out the program if it doesn't make any financial sense.