Sep 22

Eliot, Maine, Pay-as-You-Throw Program Cuts Trash by 56% and Saves Nearly $47,000 in First Two Years of Operation

Joshua Kolling-Perin
Director, Public Engagement

North Andover, Mass. – Sept. 22, 2015 – After two years of operation, the pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) waste reduction and recycling program in Eliot, Maine, has decreased municipal solid waste (MSW) tonnage by 56% and saved an estimated $46,569 in disposal fees.

The program began on Sept. 3, 2013. MSW has decreased 56% since that point—from an average of 63 tons per month in the two years before the program to an average of 28 tons per month in the two years since.

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The waste reduction from PAYT has enabled Eliot to save an estimated $46,569 in disposal costs since the program began. The town spent $84,971 to dispose of its waste in the two years before the program began; in two years with pay-as-you-throw, Eliot has spent just $38,402. In addition, the town reports that its transfer station operating budget has declined dramatically since PAYT began, from $410,108 in FY 2013 to $270,631 in FY 2015.

There have also been meaningful environmental benefits to Eliot’s PAYT program. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Waste Reduction Model (WARM), the amount of garbage that Eliot diverts from the waste stream with PAYT each year reduces greenhouse gases by an amount equal to the emissions from 140 cars. In addition, the added recycling from PAYT saves the same amount of energy that would be used to fully power 53 houses for a year.

About Eliot’s PAYT Program

Under the program—managed by WasteZero as part of the WasteZero Trash Metering™ service offering—residents of the 6,200-resident town use official purple bags stamped with the Eliot seal to dispose of their trash at the town’s transfer station.

The bags are available at four retail outlets in and around Eliot. They are available in two sizes—15-gallon ($1.25 per bag) and 30-gallon ($2.00 per bag). There is no additional charge to recycle glass, plastic bottles, cardboard, aluminum cans, and paper at the transfer station. Being aware of the cost of their garbage makes residents more likely to recycle and divert other productive materials from the waste stream.

The program began as a six-month trial, and the town opted to continue it on an ongoing basis in April 2014.

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.