Sep 10

Waterville, Maine, Pay-as-You-Throw Program Cuts Trash by 54% and Saves $164,000 in First Year of Operation, Dramatically Exceeding Initial Targets

Joshua Kolling-Perin
Director, Public Engagement

North Andover, Mass. – Sept. 10, 2015 – After one year of operation, the pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) waste reduction and recycling program in Waterville, Maine, has far exceeded its initial waste reduction and financial targets.

The program began on Sept. 8, 2014. Municipal solid waste (MSW) has decreased 54% since the program began—from 4,175 tons in the year before PAYT to 1,932 tons in the program’s first year. The city’s initial waste reduction target for PAYT was 44%.

Waterville MSW

The waste reduction from PAYT has enabled Waterville to save an estimated $164,000 in waste disposal fees in the first year of the program, far greater than the city’s initial savings projection of $137,000.

There have also been meaningful environmental benefits to Waterville’s PAYT program. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Waste Reduction Model (WARM), the amount of garbage that Waterville has diverted from the waste stream in one year of pay-as-you-throw has reduced greenhouse gases by an amount equal to the emissions from 830 cars during that period. In addition, the added recycling from PAYT has saved the same amount of energy that would have been used to fully power 310 houses for a year.

Waterville City Manager Mike Roy said, “I am not surprised by the amount of waste reduction. If people didn’t have to pay for water or electricity, they would use a lot more of those resources than they do now.” Roy added, “Reducing the cost of trash disposal is critical in keeping our tax rate stable, because solid waste is the fourth-largest item in the city’s budget.”

About Waterville’s PAYT Program

Under the program—managed by WasteZero as part of the WasteZero Trash Metering™ service offering—Waterville residents using the city’s curbside collection service now dispose of their trash in official purple garbage bags stamped with the Waterville seal. Being more aware of the cost of their garbage makes residents more likely to recycle and divert other productive materials from the waste stream.

Waterville, population 16,000, serves 7,500 households with curbside collection of municipal solid waste and single-stream recycling. The city began its curbside single-stream recycling collection in July, partially funded by the savings from pay-as-you-throw.

In a June 2015 referendum, Waterville voters voted by a two-to-one margin to continue the pay-as-you-throw program.

The purple trash bags—made in the U.S. using recycled content—are available at 16 retail outlets in Waterville. The bags are available in two sizes:

  • Small, 15-gallon bags, sold in packages of eight for $10.00 per package
  • Large, 30-gallon bags, sold in packages of five for $10.00 per package

An interactive map listing all the locations carrying the bags is available at http://goo.gl/ss8mSp.

To learn more about PAYT in Waterville, visit http://wastezero.wpengine.com/waterville.

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.