Category: Results

The Value of Waste Reduction, or, What the New York Times Got Wrong About Recycling

If you care about solid waste reduction, by now you’ve probably read John Tierney’s New York Times opinion piece denigrating the value of recycling. It’s a long piece, but in a nutshell, Tierney’s two-fold argument is this: There’s no point in recycling unless it makes economic sense—and it doesn’t make economic sense. He’s missing the…

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The Financial Power of Pay-as-You-Throw

We’re all used to hearing the knock on waste reduction initiatives: if they’re effective, they’re expensive–and if they don’t cost very much, they don’t do very much. Right? Wrong. One of the most impressive things about the pay-as-you-throw model is that it breaks that paradigm, simultaneously bringing cities and towns profound waste reduction while also making a…

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Natick, Mass., and the Environmental Benefits of Pay-as-You-Throw

You’ve heard us say before that pay-as-you-throw is good for the environment. And there’s a reason for that: cutting the amount of trash we throw away and recycling more reduces greenhouse gas emissions and saves energy. That’s true on a global and national scale, but it’s no less true at the scale of individual towns…

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Cape Cod’s Oldest Pay-as-You-Throw Program, in Cape Cod’s Oldest Town

For a town that was founded almost 400 years ago, there’s a lot that’s innovative about Sandwich, Mass. It was the first town on Cape Cod—and it was the first Cape Cod community to adopt pay-as-you-throw, back in July of 2011. With three years under their belt now, Sandwich has the numbers to show what…

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Eight Is Great for Pay-as-You-Throw in Ashland, Mass.

This month marks eight years of pay-as-you-throw in the Massachusetts town of Ashland, and what an eight years it’s been: solid waste is way down, recycling is way up, and the town has saved almost a million dollars. Ashland, a town of 16,500, sits about 20 miles west of Boston. They began using their orange-bag…

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Six Great Months of Pay-as-You-Throw in Wellfleet, Mass.

The numbers are in for the Cape Cod town of Wellfleet, Mass., which has just marked six months of pay-as-you-throw—and they’re great. In just a half a year with PAYT, Wellfleet has cut its residential waste tonnage by 40%. Between December 2013, when the program began, and May 2014, Wellfleetians threw away 309 tons of trash—a…

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Plymouth (Still) Rocks

When we last checked in on our friends in the town of Plymouth, Mass., in October, they were marking three months of pay-as-you-throw with some really powerful results: 39% waste reduction and $36,000 saved. By any measure, that’s a performance to be proud of. But we said at the time, “If Plymouth is anything like…

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How Gloucester, Mass., Switched From Stickers to Bags and Saved a Million Dollars

Some communities that want to move to pay-as-you-throw consider going with stickers or tags instead of bags. At first glance, asking people to affix a sticker or tag on a trash bag of their choice seems like it would work the same way as bag-based pay-as-you-throw: after all, in both cases people are paying a…

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A New Pay-as-You-Throw Success Story in Eliot, Maine

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…

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What Six Years of Pay-as-You-Throw Looks Like

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: pay-as-you-throw just plain works. The latest example? The southeastern Massachusetts town of Dartmouth, which marked six years of PAYT in October. In that time, they’ve cut their trash by 59% and boosted their recycling by 50%. Let’s say that again, in case those numbers snuck by…

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