The potential, impacts, and challenges of pay-as-you-throw for municipal solid waste services in Ghana


Sampson Oduro-Kwarteng, Saeed Munir, Isaac Monney, Bernard Keraita

Objective: This study was undertaken to examine the potential of pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) as a cost recovery mechanism, its impacts on solid waste collection services and the challenges associated with its implementation in the Kumasi Metropolis, Ghana. Materials and Methods: Data were collected by weighing 262 head-loads of solid waste at communal container sites and recording their corresponding user charges in 14 low and middle-income communities in Kumasi. A household survey involving 80 randomly selected households patronizing communal disposal systems was undertaken to assess their perceptions of PAYT. In-depth interviews with heads of six private solid waste management companies and one with the Waste Management Department of the local authority were also conducted. Results: The study showed that the average revenue generated per ton of waste disposed into communal containers was GH¢ 17.07 (US$11.38). This is 70% higher than the collection fee paid to private waste management companies prior to the implementation of the PAYT. Each communal container accrues an average revenue of GH¢ 153 (≈US$103) when filled to capacity. However, a significant proportion of residents (80%) claimed not to have been informed about the PAYT mechanism prior to its implementation. Although PAYT has improved service levels due to regular pickup of communal containers, it is confronted with challenges including, inequitable user charges, illegal dumping of waste into communal containers at night; non-payment of user charges; and indiscriminate dumping of waste at unapproved locations. Conclusion: PAYT approach has the potential to ensure cost recovery and should be sustained. The local authority need to ensure equitable user charges; allocate buy-back points; undertake intensive public education on the PAYT; and monitor private waste management companies against exorbitant user charges.