Sandwich, Mass., Pay-as-You-Throw Program Has Saved $600,000 and Cut Trash by 49% at Four-Year Anniversary
Director, Public Engagement
North Andover, Mass. – Aug. 5, 2015 – At the four-year anniversary of its award-winning pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) waste reduction and recycling program, the town of Sandwich, Mass., has reduced its solid waste by almost half, doubled its recycling rate, and saved almost $600,000, according to new figures released by the town’s Department of Public Works.
Since the program—managed by WasteZero as part of the WasteZero Trash Metering™ service offering—began on July 1, 2011, municipal solid waste has decreased 49%. It was 5,329 tons in Fiscal Year 2011 (the year before PAYT) to 2,710 tons in Fiscal Year 2015 (which ended on June 30).
Sandwich’s recycling rate has doubled with PAYT, from 19% in the year before the program began to 38% in FY 2015. Overall recycling tonnage increased 45%, from an average of 1,100 tons per year in the three years before PAYT to an average of 1,599 tons per year since PAYT implementation.
The changes have had a profound impact on Sandwich’s municipal finances. The town has saved a total of $594,837 on disposal costs since the program began, including $168,926 in FY 2015.
There have also been meaningful environmental benefits to Sandwich’s PAYT program. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Waste Reduction Model (WARM), the amount of garbage that Sandwich has diverted from the waste stream since 2011 has reduced greenhouse gases by an amount equal to the emissions from 4,100 cars during that period. In addition, the added recycling across the four years has saved the same amount of energy that would have been used to power 1,600 houses for that time.
Sandwich Public Works Director Paul Tilton said, “The numbers speak to the success of the program.” He added, “We have consistently kept our costs down due to a reduction in solid waste since the start of the program four years ago. This is especially beneficial with the rising costs of tipping fees at disposal sites.”
About Sandwich’s PAYT Program
Sandwich adopted its PAYT program partly in response to an upcoming dramatic increase in its tipping fee, the cost the town pays to dispose of its garbage. The current tipping fee of $37 per ton increased to $65 when a longstanding contract expired at the end of 2014. Going forward, that fee will increase by 2.5% each year.
Under the program, residents use official blue bags stamped with the Sandwich seal to dispose of their trash at the town’s transfer station. The bags are available at 14 retail outlets in and around Sandwich. They are available in three sizes—8-gallon ($0.25 per bag), 15-gallon ($0.60 per bag) and 30-gallon ($1.20 per bag). Recycling at the transfer station is free.
As a result of its success with PAYT, Sandwich won a 2012 Crown Community Award from American City and County magazine.
Other Cape Cod communities with PAYT programs are Brewster, which adopted its program in October 2013, and Wellfleet, which began in December 2013.
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.