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When landfilled, waste has negative environmental impacts. The revised Waste Framework Directive (updated in 2018 as part of the circular economy package) sets a recycling target of 65% by 2035. While many areas in Europe are below this target, there are many municipalities that boast separate collection rates as high as 80-85%. In these municipalities, the governance model used played a key role in their success. Key to this are innovative incentive schemes such as pay-as-you-throw (PAYT), which is based on the polluter-pays principle.

PAYT is, thus far, one of the most effective ways to increase recycling. But only a handful of municipalities in southern Europe are using this scheme. The result is that more than 90% of users (citizens and companies) pay a waste fee that does not reflect their actual waste generation. This hampers better waste separation and recycling.

Why is this happening? There is a lack of clear guidance and internal resources to implement the scheme and to manage the huge amount of data related to it, economic uncertainties, lack of knowledge about the best technologies to support the shift to PAYT, and uncertainty about waste producers response.


The REthinkWASTE project, which received funding from the LIFE Programme of the European Union (amount of EU contribution € 1,520,588; total cost of the project € 2,764,715), will be carried on in 2019-2022 with the main objective to endow public authorities with a “plug and play” model based on the PAYT and know-as-you-throw (KAYT).

The goal is to increase the separate collection of waste, reduce residual waste per capita and boost the recovery rate, whilst simultaneously cutting the average household waste bill. Ambitious, isn’t it? We have a plan for it though. By rethinking waste management plans and other management/normative drivers (e.g., regulations, financial plans, and service contracts), we believe that this is achievable.


The projects specific objectives are to:

  • test the concept of KAYT (know-as-you-throw) in four pilot areas (51 municipalities in central Veneto managed by the public company ETRA S.p.A.; municipality of Sant Just, Catalunya, Spain; municipality of Bitetto, South of Italy; municipality of Varese, North of Italy), side by side with the PAYT approach;
  • incorporate the PAYT and KAYT paradigm within the municipal waste management regulations of the four pilot sites, with the final goals of: (a) reducing the yearly quantity of unsorted waste produced, and (b) increasing the tariff spread between virtuous and underperforming citizens;
  • provide about 230 municipalities in the EU with customizable waste strategies, service schemes and business plans to trigger a change in mindset among policy-makers and civil officials, which will in turn spark a shift from a traditional tariff system to a variable one (PAYT), combined with a pioneering informative and persuasion approach (KAYT).
Through these, the project will contribute to achieve the goals of the Waste Framework Directive and the EUs circular economy action plan, since it will promote the prevention, reuse and recycling of waste.
  • About 67 municipalities committed to make a full transition, integrate or revise their current waste management/financial plans and regulations towards the PAYT-KAYT paradigm by 2022;
  • 30% reduction in the tonnes/year of residual waste for those cities that adopt the PAYT-KAYT approach by 2022;
  • up to 20% reduction (on average for the pilot cities implementing PAYT) in variable waste tax related to waste generation;
  • 510.000 citizens reached by the project, of which roughly 20.000 participating in the KAYT scheme;
  • 3 regulatory packages (regional/local waste management guidelines) issued for municipalities in the regions of Veneto and Catalonia and for Ancona municipality, to facilitate their transition to the PAYT tariff system;
  • knowledge shared with 50 Italian municipalities through 150 days of coaching, and with 130 municipalities in Veneto, Marche and Catalonia, through 2 to 3 days of coaching and technical screening;
  • 5 EU regions and 50 municipalities (mainly in the Mediterranean and south-east Europe) receiving support for revision of their waste tariff systems, through 50 days of coaching.

About this page

This is a temporary page. The project website will be online soon.

PAYT and KAYT Catalogue

Collection of experiences about pay as you throw (PAYT) and know as you throw (KAYT).



Behind LIFE REthink WASTE there are a dozen of resource management partners, who together form the project consortium. We come from different countries and represent different aspects of resource management. What brings us together is a desire to see municipalities around Europe and beyond improve their waste management. Learn more about each of the partners here beside:

  • ETRA Etra (Veneto, ITALY)
  • ARPAV ARPAV (Agenzia Regionale per la Prevenzione e Protezione Ambientale del Veneto, ITALY)
  • ARC ARC (Agència de Residus de Catalunya, SPAIN)
  • ATA2Ancona ATA2 Ancona (Marche, ITALY)
  • IFEL IFEL (Istituto per la Finanza e l'Economia Locale, ITALY)
  • ACR ACR+ (Association of cities and Regions for Sustainable Resource Management, BELGIUM)