Worcester Downtown
Worcester, MA

A Long-Running Success Story in a Large City

In 1993, Worcester’s municipal budget crisis forced the City to adopt a bag-based PAYT waste reduction and recycling program.  In the first week, Worcester’s recycling rate shot from 2% to 38%, and their solid waste volume dropped 47% between the year before the program and the year after.

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By the Numbers

  • Population:  181,000
  • Median Income/Household:  $46,000

Results Over the First 20 Years of PAYT:

  • 400,000 tons of trash diverted
  • 200,000 tons of additional recycling
  • $10 million in waste disposal savings
  • 43% recycling rate, among the best in MA and far higher than the statewide average of 30%
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