Gloucester, MA

Switching from Stickers to Bags – and Saving $1 Million

In 1990, in an effort to cut its solid waste, the City of Gloucester, MA instituted a tag-based pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) program. Shortly after, it was apparent that the program was falling short of the City’s expectations. To do more, in 2009 Gloucester moved away from tags and adopted WasteZero’s bag-based PAYT program.

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By the Numbers

  • Population: 30,000
  • Median Income/Household: $62,000
  • Bag-based PAYT with curbside trash and single stream recycling collection


  • Trash tonnage dropped 29% from where it had been with the sticker program
  • The City’s recycling rate jumped to 31% from 23%
  • Gloucester saved more that $1 million in disposal costs over the program’s first 5 years
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