COLUMBIA - Columbia's "Pay as You Throw" program started bag distribution on Tuesday, Jan. 18.
Bag vouchers can be taken to select locations: Gerbes, Schnucks, Hy-Vee, Columbia, City Hall, Lenards and Moser's.
The City will host a contactless voucher exchange event this week, Jan. 19 to 23, at Cosmo Park. Tuesday through Friday will have hours form 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Citizens will also be able to exchange their vouchers for the logoed bags there.
Some residents have not received their vouchers yet, but the city says all of the vouchers have been mailed and residents will receive them in the next several days.
KOMU 8 News created a map with the distribution sites and where the retailers currently stand, as of 2:30 p.m. Thursday, with bag stock.
Customers will receive vouchers for two rolls of 26-count refuse bags and two rolls of 18-count recycling bags in January. In June, customers will receive vouchers for two rolls of 26-count refuse bags and one roll of 18-count recycling bags.
Columbia residents, in total, will receive vouchers equivalent to two bags per week or 104 bags per year.
The charge for additional bags acts as a usage fee, according to the City. This will get Solid Waste on par with other Utilities, such as Water and Electric. The $2-per-bag fee will cover extra costs, including the landfill disposal fee, employee salaries and vehicle operation and maintenance costs.
According to the City of Columbia website, the program will create a more equitable system by implementing an additional cost for larger item collection and disposal.
"Customers have an opportunity to rethink their waste habits by committing to reduction, reuse and composting opportunities," Columbia City Council said of the new program.
The official "Pay as You Throw" program is set to begin Monday, Feb. 1.