When we say that our pay-as-you-throw programs are immediately effective at reducing solid waste volumes, we mean it. The latest community to experience that reduction for itself is the town of Plymouth, Mass., which—are you sitting down?—has seen a 39% decrease in solid waste volume since it began its program in July.
A 39% reduction in solid waste volume. In three months.
Let’s look at that by the numbers. Between July 1 and Oct. 1 last year, Plymouth residents threw away 3,061 tons of municipal solid waste. In that same period this year—right after pay-as-you-throw began—they threw away just 1,877 tons.
Those numbers have a real meaning on the ground in Plymouth: Between decreased tipping fees for solid waste and revenue from the sale of recyclables, in just those three months the town saved $36,000 that they otherwise would have had to account for in their budget.
$36,000 in savings.
And if Plymouth is anything like the other communities that we work with, there’s every reason to expect that they’ll continue to see their waste volume go down, as residents become more used to pay-as-you-throw and then seek out other ways to cut their trash—such as composting, textiles recycling, and source and packaging reductions. What’s more, on Jan. 1, the town will introduce an automated curbside collection program that their Public Works director, Jonathan Beder, says will make it “even easier for residents to recycle and reduce waste.”
A 39% decrease in solid waste and $36,000 in savings over three months is exciting—and the fact that they’re just getting warmed up is even better.