The aim of this paper was to determine the condition of waste management and the purposefulness of and chances for introducing a 'garbage tax' in rural areas. In 2007 investigations were carried out in three communes situated in the southern part of Podlaskie voivodeship. The results of the conducted research indicate that the situation in respect of proper management of wastes generated by households has improved recently in the surveyed area. However, it is not satisfactory yet as evidenced by the fact that approximately 20% of the owners of real estate in rural areas have not signed any contracts for the disposal of wastes with specialised enterprises. Persons covered by research show a relatively strong interest in the participation in a referendum concerning the proposal to shift the duty of organising proper waste management from the owners of real estate to local authorities and to introduce a related 'garbage tax'. As many as 50% of the respondents declared they would certainly participate in such referendum, whereas 23% of the surveyed persons said they would most probably participate in it. Among the persons who declared their willingness to participate in the referendum as many as 54% would most probably support the imposition of a 'garbage fee', provided that there would be no risk that such fee could prove higher than the costs of waste disposal borne by them at present.