Nov 26

New Pay-As-You-Throw Program Pays Off for Wells, ME

Raleigh, NC – November 26, 2012 – This summer marked the one-year anniversary of Wells’ successful pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) solid waste reduction program. Since the town converted its inefficient and cumbersome program to the new pre-paid PAYT plastic bag program on July 1, 2011, the results have been significant.  Prior to then, the town employed a generic trash bag program that was difficult to administer and required residents to pay cash at the transfer station for each bag deposited.

In the first 12 months of the program, according to Town Manager Jonathan Carter, Wells residents have reduced their solid waste 34%-from 1,926 tons in the preceding year to 1,278 tons in 2012.  Moreover, recycling efforts have risen sharply from 355 tons in 2011 to 488 tons in 2012, a 37% increase.  As a result, the town’s solid waste disposal costs (the price Wells pays to dispose of its trash at the MERC incinerator in Biddeford) have dropped almost $9,000 during this period. In addition to the new PAYT program, commercial trash haulers were no longer allowed to dispose of their trash at the transfer station which also contributed to the reduction in solid waste.

“The new PAYT program has brought long overdue efficiencies to our waste management efforts and the operation of the transfer station,” said Carter. “We’ve decreased our solid waste, dramatically increased recycling, and eliminated the burdensome and outdated cash transactions at the transfer station.”

Carter went on to explain that, in addition to these benefits, the revenue generated from the plastic bag fees and the sale of the town’s recyclable materials are applied toward funding the transfer station operations. By 2015, he anticipates that the transfer station will be self-sufficient, no longer dependent on tax revenue for its operation.

“In addition to the important economic and environmental benefits of the PAYT program, there have been other gains and efficiencies that have benefited Wells,” added Town Treasurer Leo Ouellette. “We’ve reduced personnel at the transfer station and have made it far more efficient and convenient for residents to dispose of their trash using the official town plastic bags that are available for purchase at seven local retail outlets.”

The orange trash bags imprinted with the Wells town seal are available in three sizes: 15 gallons ($1.50), 33 gallons ($2.00), and 45 gallons ($4.00) at the following locations:

  • Aubuchon Hardware
  • Clipper Mart
  • Cumberland Farms
  • Hannaford Supermarket
  • Rite Aid
  • Wells Super Food Market
  • Wells Town Hall

The bags are made available at these retailer locations through WasteZero, the town’s PAYT provider, and its Retail Store Distribution™ program.

“The Wells conversion to the WasteZero Trash Metering™ program (or next-generation PAYT) has further increased the Town’s recycling efforts, reduced solid waste, and generated savings and revenue that weren’t possible under the old system,” said Mark Dancy, President of WasteZero. “The results are impressive.”

About WasteZero

WasteZero, the leading provider of the most effective waste reduction programs in the US, partners with approximately 800 municipalities to reduce waste landfilled and burned, increase recycling, and generate savings. Our WasteZero Trash Metering™ programs and Pay-As-You-Throw conversion programs reduce solid waste 44% annually on average.

WasteZero uses leading edge technology to manufacture all of our programs’ supplies, including customized plastic trash bags. Our Retail Store Distribution Program™ offers trash bag warehousing, inventory management, accounting, and more. WasteZero has offices in Cambridge, MA, Raleigh, NC, Murrells Inlet, SC, and Chicago, IL.

For more information about WasteZero, please visit