Brattleboro, VT: Another Pay-As-You-Throw Success Story

Brattleboro (pop. 11,607) occupies a beautiful spot in southeastern Vermont, right next to the border with New Hampshire.  WasteZero began working with Brattleboro in 2014, as it considered switching to a pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) trash system.  In July of 2015, following a public education campaign, the town officially launched its bag-based PAYT program with WasteZero’s assistance.

The program has been a great success.  Trash volumes dropped almost immediately.  In fact, trash dropped by 54%.  Prior to the launch of PAYT, Brattleboro disposed of 1,030 tons of trash per month, on average.  After PAYT, the average dropped to 472 tons per month!  An article in the Brattleboro Reformer from January 6, 2016 provides more details.

One year later, in July of 2016, trash had dropped so much that the Town decided it could transition trash collection from weekly to every other week.  This saved taxpayers an additional $100,000 per year.  The Town Manager explained the savings in a letter to residents.  Due to PAYT, participation in Brattleboro’s weekly organic waste collection had increased so much, that the regular trash didn’t have a significant amount of rotting garbage in it anymore.  So, the Town could switch to every-other-week trash collection without fear of smells or health hazards.

As successful as the Brattleboro PAYT program is, it’s not unique.  WasteZero works with hundreds of bag-based programs around the US, and the story is always similar:  Trash drops an average of 44%.  The range of drop is usually from 40% on the low end, to 55% on the high-end.  Obviously, Brattleboro has done very well, and we congratulate them on their success!

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