Aug 11

Ashland, Mass., Pay-as-You-Throw Program Crosses $1 Million Savings Threshold at Nine-Year Anniversary

Joshua Kolling-Perin
Director, Public Engagement

North Andover, Mass. – Aug. 11, 2015 – The town of Ashland, Mass., has saved more than $1 million in disposal fees at the nine-year anniversary of its pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) waste reduction and recycling program. The town has reduced its solid waste by 34% and nearly doubled its recycling rate, according to new figures released by the town.

The program began on July 1, 2006. Municipal solid waste (MSW) has decreased 34% since the program began—from 5,270 tons in Fiscal Year 2006 (the year before PAYT) to 3,470 tons in FY2015 (which ended on June 30).

Ashland 9-yr MSW

Ashland’s recycling rate almost doubled with PAYT, from an average of 17% in the three years before the program began to an average of 32% since PAYT implementation. Overall recycling tonnage increased 43%, from an average of 1,100 tons per year in the three years before PAYT to an average of 1,577 tons per year since PAYT implementation.

Ashland 9-yr Recyc Rate

The waste reduction from PAYT has had a profound impact on Ashland’s municipal finances. The town has now saved an estimated $1,109,000 in disposal fees across the nine years that the program has been in place.

There have also been meaningful environmental benefits to Ashland’s PAYT program. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Waste Reduction Model (WARM), the amount of garbage that Ashland has diverted from the waste stream since 2006 has reduced greenhouse gases by an amount equal to the emissions from 6,500 cars during that period. In addition, the added recycling across the eight years has saved the same amount of energy that would have been used to power 2,500 houses for that time.

Town Manager Anthony Schiavi said, “Ashland prides itself on being a leader in sustainable practices, with our pay-as-you-throw program being a sterling example of our sustainability values and an example for others with similar values to emulate.”

About Ashland’s PAYT Program

Under the program, residents use official orange bags stamped with the Ashland seal for weekly curbside garbage collection.

The orange bags are available at retail outlets in and around Ashland. They are available in two sizes—14-gallon ($5.25 per five-bag roll) and 33-gallon ($9.00 per five-bag roll). The town’s weekly single-stream recycling collection is free.

Ashland reduced its annual base solid waste fee from $215 to $138 when PAYT began. The town increased the base fee to $156 in July 2010, but it reduced it to $146 on July 1, 2014. The town reports no increase in illegal dumping with PAYT.

About WasteZero

WasteZero, the leading provider of municipal solid waste reduction programs in the U.S., is on a mission to cut residential trash in half across the nation. WasteZero partners with hundreds of municipalities throughout the U.S. to reduce the amount of waste landfilled and burned, increase recycling, and generate savings. The company helps municipalities design, launch, and manage next-generation pay-as-you-throw systems, in which people pay by the bag for their solid waste services. These programs increase individuals’ awareness of the cost of their trash, reducing solid waste by an average of 44% and doubling or sometimes tripling recycling rates. In most cases, WasteZero is able to guarantee its municipal customers that its programs will meet or exceed specific waste reduction targets.

WasteZero manufactures the customized specialty plastic trash bags for its programs and other customers in the U.S. from recycled content. It is committed to creating U.S. jobs and to solving the nation’s solid waste crisis. A certified B Corporation, WasteZero is a national organization with key management offices in Raleigh, N.C., and the Boston area, and a manufacturing facility in Hemingway, S.C.

For more information, visit www.wastezero.com.