The town of Eliot, Maine, has kicked off its brand-new pay-as-you-throw program with a bang: in just four months, the town has cut its trash volume by a stunning 57% and saved more than $8,500 in disposal fees.
Eliot–a small town of 6,200 tucked into southern Maine–began the program on Sept. 3. From that point through the end of December, Eliot residents threw away 116 tons of trash at the town’s transfer station–down from 268 tons in the same four-month period one year earlier. That decrease meant the town spent just $6,647 to send their waste for incineration–a huge drop from the $15,236 they spent for disposal during that time the previous year. What’s more, the $8,589 they saved puts Eliot on a path to actually exceed their projected first-year savings of $22,000 by several thousand dollars.
And what do all these savings mean for Eliot? As their Public Works Director, Joel Moulton, says, the savings from pay-as-you-throw “reduce the tax burden on residents.” In a town where the transfer station’s annual budget runs around $400,000, saving $25,000 a year goes a long way toward doing just that.