Brewer, Maine, Reaches Fifth Anniversary of Pay-as-You-Throw Program, Marks $370,000 in Savings
Director, Public Engagement
Saco, Maine – Feb. 29, 2016 – The city of Brewer, Maine, has saved $370,000 in disposal fees at the five-year anniversary of its pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) waste reduction and recycling program. The city has also cut its residential solid waste collected curbside in half and increased its recycling rate nearly six-fold, according to new figures released by the city.
The program began on Jan. 1, 2011. Residential municipal solid waste (MSW) collected curbside has decreased 50% since the program began—from 2,919 tons in 2010 (the year before PAYT) to an average of 1,455 tons per year since the program began.
The waste reduction from PAYT has had a profound impact on Brewer’s municipal finances. The city has saved an estimated $370,000 in waste disposal fees across the five years that the program has been in place. The savings equate to approximately 10 cents on the city’s mil rate.
Brewer’s recycling rate increased from 5% the year before PAYT to 29% with the program—almost a six-fold increase. Overall, recycling tonnage has nearly tripled, from 155 tons the year before PAYT to an average of 587 tons per year with PAYT.
There have also been meaningful environmental benefits to Brewer’s PAYT program. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Waste Reduction Model (WARM), the amount of garbage that Brewer has diverted from the waste stream since 2011 has reduced greenhouse gases by an amount equal to the emissions from 2,706 cars during that period. In addition, the added recycling across the five years has saved the same amount of energy that would have been used to power 1,021 houses for that time.
“Since its inception, Brewer’s pay as you throw and Zero-Sort recycling program has been a resounding success,” says Brewer Mayor Beverly Uhlenhake. “Residents appreciate the enhanced recycling, and the savings from the PAYT program have had a positive impact on the city’s tax rate, which benefits all of our taxpayers.”
About Brewer’s PAYT Program
Under the program, residents use official orange bags stamped with the Brewer logo for weekly curbside garbage collection.
The orange bags are available at 11 retail outlets in the city. They are available in two sizes—15-gallon ($6.25 per five-bag roll) and 33-gallon ($10.00 per five-bag roll). The city’s bi-weekly single-stream recycling collection is free to residents.
The city reports no increase in illegal dumping with PAYT.
More information about the program is available on the city’s website.
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., the Boston area, and Maine, as well as a manufacturing facility in Hemingway, S.C.
For more information, visit www.wastezero.com.