With Three Years of Pay-as-You-Throw, Sandwich, Mass., Cuts Trash in Half and Saves Almost a Half Million Dollars
Director, Public Engagement
North Andover, MA – August 12, 2014 – At the three-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 48%, almost doubled its recycling rate, and saved $425,911, according to new figures released by the town’s Department of Public Works.
Since the program began on July 1, 2011, municipal solid waste has decreased 48%—from 5,329 tons in Fiscal Year 2011 (the year before PAYT) to 2,767 tons in Fiscal Year 2014 (which ended on June 30).
Sandwich’s recycling rate almost doubled with PAYT, from 19% in FY 2011 to 36% in FY 2014. Overall recycling volume increased 26%, from 1,241 tons in FY 2011 to 1,563 tons in FY 2014.
The changes have had a profound impact on Sandwich’s municipal finances. The town has saved a total of $425,911 on disposal fees since the program began, including $146,034 in FY 2014.
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 landfill since the program began has reduced greenhouse gases by an amount equal to the emissions from 3,000 cars during those three years. In addition, the added recycling across the three years has saved the same amount of energy that would have been used to power 1,100 houses for that time.
Sandwich Public Works Director Paul Tilton said, “PAYT has exceeded our expectations and is at a point now where it essentially runs by itself with assistance from Waste Zero.” He added, “While reluctant to accept PAYT at first, the public has embraced the program and continues to realize the benefits to the Town of Sandwich and themselves. The residents are making fewer trips to the transfer station, reducing their trash, and increasing their recycling. This effort by the public will go a long way to help offset future tipping fee increases starting in 2015. This will, in turn, help keep sticker and bag fees at a minimum.”
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 will be increasing to $65 when the current contract expires at the end of 2014, and adjusted by 2.5% each year thereafter.
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. 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.