Why do I have to buy an orange Town bag for waste disposal when I already paid for a Transfer Station sticker?

The best way to generalize the Transfer Station Sticker and the PAYT bag revenue is that the annual stickers cover the fixed costs (overhead, personnel, etc.) while the PAYT bags cover the variable costs (transportation and tipping fees).

In an effort to reduce the sticker price for those residents who generated smaller amounts of trash, the PAYT program was adopted where all Transfer Station users paid a lower base price and the remainder of the per user cost was applied via a progressive funding mechanism – the households that generated more solid waste would pay more akin to a utility bill.  PAYT bag revenue is a funding mechanism and is simply a way to help spread the cost of trash disposal in a fairer way.   

In summary the PAYT bags serve two important purposes:

ECONOMIC:  The Town receives the majority of the monies earned from the sale of every bag and this money is automatically deposited for the Town and enters into the Town’s Transfer Station Enterprise Fund. This money, along with the money from the sale of Transfer Station stickers, helps fund the cost of operating the Town Transfer Station including but not limited to transportation costs and RIRRC “tipping fees” paid per ton of solid waste.

ENVIRONMENTAL:  The use of PAYT bags has demonstrated outstanding reductions in the tonnage of solid waste being disposed of at the Transfer Station.  Since PAYT was initiated, Portsmouth has seen an approximately 50% reduction in solid waste disposal and doubling of the recycling rate!


The PAYT paradigm monetarily incentivizes residents to educate themselves on recycling and diversion.  Additional ways to reduce the amount of household solid waste (to reduce PAYT costs) include but are not limited to:

  1. Reduce/Refuse (do I really need extra packaging or that bag?)
  2. Reuse (refill beverage containers)
  3. Repair (fix vice throwing it away)
  4. Rot (compost)
  5. Rethink (think outside the box for disposal, donate or sell item)
  6. Recycle (due to transportation costs, should be considered the “final resort”)

Show All Answers

1. Why do I have to stop at the Check-in Shack?
2. Why do I have to buy a Transfer Station sticker to drop off recyclables?
3. Why are pick-up trucks allowed yet utility trailers not allowed?
4. Why are there out of state license plates at the Transfer Station?
5. Why does the staff working at the Transfer Station watch where we put our diversion materials?
6. What if I have an unusually large/cumbersome scrap metal object that cannot be broken down further?
7. Why can’t we just add more operators to aid enforcement of the rules and to more quickly aid Transfer Station users?
8. Wouldn’t it be cheaper if the town just hired more DPW people to run the trash program?
9. Why do I have to flatten my cardboard boxes?
10. Why was the “Give and Take” area removed from the Transfer Station? Why is scavenging not allowed?
11. Are the Town PAYT bags recyclable?
12. Why can’t I buy Town PAYT bags at Town Hall or the Transfer Station?
13. Why do I have to buy an orange Town bag for waste disposal when I already paid for a Transfer Station sticker?
14. Why did I see the Transfer Station staff dumping yard waste into the pit?
15. Why can’t I bring yard waste to the Transfer Station in a tarp?
16. How can I dispose of organic material?
17. Can I bring tree stumps with my yard waste?
18. Why are there limits to C&D/ABC disposal?
19. I'm not certain how to dispose of an item - what should I do?
20. What is “bulky waste” and how is it handled?
21. How do I dispose of automotive parts and fluids?
22. Can batteries be thrown away into the trash?
23. What about other large items like a trampoline or a boat cover?
24. Why do I have to cut up a carpet before I throw it into the “Bulky Waste” container?
25. Are carpet pads considered “Bulky Waste”?
26. How do I dispose of fluorescent lights?
27. How do I dispose of furniture?
28. Can I throw my plastic bags into the Recycling Pit?
29. Why can’t I just drop off my mattress and/or box spring and when would I have to pay a fee?
30. Who decides what the qualifying conditions are for mattress/box spring collection?
31. What do I do if the condition of my mattress or box spring disqualifies it from free disposal?
32. Why is there a $70 fee for an unacceptable mattress or box spring?
33. Does the town offer curbside pickup?
34. Why do I have to pay for a Transfer Station sticker?
35. Why do my taxes not include trash disposal?
36. What forms of payment are accepted for Transfer Station stickers?
37. Is there an elderly discount for the Transfer Station sticker fee?
38. How does the Transfer Station sticker fee get established?
39. Why are the rules so confusing and why do they seem to keep changing?
40. What is the Town doing to address any problems or inconsistencies with the rules?
41. Who do I contact if I have a concern, complaint or compliment?
42. Why does Prudence Island have such limited trash service and can you fix these problems?
43. Why was PAYT exception for the Fireman’s Fair rejected by the Town Council?
44. Why can yard waste only be dropped off during a very narrow window of time?