One million dollars has been appropriated to expand collections of household hazardous wastes such as pesticides, solvents, batteries and paint. For example, using a $50,000 grant, the city of Cadillac arranged two collections that netted 23,620 pounds of waste from 415 households. The average disposal costs per household came to $48 for the first collection and $54 for the second. Grand Traverse County split a grant of $150,000 with Benzie and Manistee counties to collect 5,111 pounds of waste from 50 households, resulting in a disposal cost per household of $83.11. The variation in disposal costs suggests that some programs lack the economies of scale necessary to sustain them.
There are alternatives to publicly funded waste collection. So-called variable rate pricing, for example, offers a more prudent approach. More than 200 towns in Michigan charge households for garbage disposal based on the volume and type of trash collected. Proportional pricing acts as a powerful incentive to reduce waste. A study by Skumatz Economic Research Associates found that variable rate pricing increased recycling by 50 percent in many communities and reduced the trash tonnage placed in landfills or other disposal sites by 17 percent.