At Eight-Year Anniversary, Ashland, Mass., Pay-as-You-Throw Program Sees Less Solid Waste, More Recycling, and Almost $1 Million Saved
Director, Public Engagement
North Andover, MA – July 31, 2014 – At the eight-year anniversary of its pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) waste reduction and recycling program, the town of Ashland, Mass., has reduced its solid waste by 37%, almost doubled its recycling rate, and saved almost a million dollars in disposal fees, according to new figures released by the town’s Department of Public Works.
The program began on July 1, 2006. Municipal solid waste (MSW) has decreased 37% since the program began—from 5,270 tons in Fiscal Year 2006 (the year before PAYT) to 3,327 tons in FY2014 (which ended on June 30).
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 33% since PAYT implementation. Overall recycling tonnage increased 47%, from an average of 1,100 tons per year in the three years before PAYT to an average of 1,616 tons per year since PAYT implementation.
The changes have had a profound impact on Ashland’s municipal finances. The town has saved an estimated $983,000 in disposal fees across the eight years that PAYT 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 landfill since 2006 has reduced greenhouse gases by an amount equal to the emissions from 5,500 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 2,100 houses for that time.
Ashland Town Manager Anthony Schiavi said, “Ashland continues to be a leader in the reduction of solid waste through increased recycling by building strong partnerships with companies like WasteZero.” He added, “This further solidifies our standing commitment to environmental stewardship and a culture of responsibility required to live up to our Green Community status.”
Ashland resident Gerard Supple, who participates in the program, said, “I have always been an advocate for the pay-as-you-throw program in Ashland. The inherent nature of the program creates a financial incentive for the homeowner to recycle more and generate less waste. The town also receives a financial gain with revenues from the sale of trash bags, as well as lower tipping fees due to less waste being hauled to the processing facilities. And if those advantages weren’t enough, the recycle program is eco-friendly, which benefits us all.”
About Ashland’s PAYT Program
Under the program, residents use official orange bags stamped with the Ashland seal for weekly curbside 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.
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. 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.