“With over 15 years of a successful Pay-As-You-Throw solid waste program, the City of Gloucester was evaluating strategies to further enhance the existing program,” said Michael B. Hale, Director of Public Works. “The evolution of the program from stickers to bags began with raising public awareness as to how the City managed its solid waste. The official City bag created a visual deterrent to the abuses that occurred with the sticker program, bringing public accountability to the PAYT program. The measure of success is evident in public compliance and the reduction of solid waste tonnage.”
In the first year of implementation, Sandwich residents reduced their solid waste by 42%. Additionally, recycling efforts rose 74% for plastic, metals, and glass and 20% for paper. During this period, the Town’s solid waste disposal costs dropped more than $10,000 per month for a first-year savings in excess of $120,000.
After the program’s first 11 months, residents reduced their solid waste by 33% (3,550 tons) and increased their recycling by 17% (513 tons). Through fiscal year 2012, residents have reduced their solid waste tonnage by more than 4,000 tons or 40% annually and maintained a recycling rate of 34%. Plastic trash bag revenue fully covers the annual cost of waste disposal—which was funded previously by tax revenue.
Results for a large city in MA
Before implementing WasteZero, trash tonnage averaged 21,000 tons annually. Since the program started, the tonnage has been cut in half, to about 10,000 tons. The reduction equates to a per-household savings of $41.93 annually and an overall cost reduction for the city of $801,723 in avoided disposal fees.
Charles T., Deputy Mayor
I am proud to say that our trash disposal is down 49% on average and our recycling is up 69% on average.
Kathy M., Recycling Coordinator
The streets are cleaner, people’s recycling is better.
Lee L., Deputy Director of Public Works
We have seen a 58% drop in tonnage. If that's not a sales pitch for pay per bag and single stream recycling, I don't know what is.
Teresa Paiva Weed, Majority Leader, Rhode Island State Senate
I was following Middletown as they implemented a pay-as-you-throw program, and I watched with amazement that the people were so receptive and so delighted to recycle that their recycling rates went from dismal to the highest in the state.
Debbie S., Recycling Coordinator
Maybe it's the wallet talking or maybe the switch raised everyone's awareness, but the move to a Pay-As-You-Throw trash program has had a remarkable effect on the town's budget and the environment.
David H., Public Works Director
Where the savings really show up is in manpower. We used to send three trucks three days a week, each with a driver and two pickers. We now send two trucks with one driver and one picker. The expenses also go down. We're running less equipment so our fuel costs go down and our maintenance costs go down.
Concord, NH, saw its solid waste volume decrease nearly 50% and recycling increase 75% within three months of implementing PAYT - to the tune of a $528,000 savings per year in reduced disposal costs for the city.