Report: Communities toss less trash when paying for what's discarded

| by Steve Arel

Communities where residents pay for just the trash they toss tend to throw away less trash than those living in communities with other forms of waste management efforts, according to a new report.

WasteZero, a leader in helping cities and towns reduce residential trash, found that areas in southern Maine with pay-as-you-throw, of PAYT, programs generate 44.8 percent less trash per capita and have 62.3 percent higher recycling rates than municipalities that do not.

The numbers are consistent with other PAYT programs around the country, WasteZero officials said.

Key findings in the report included:

  • Nine of the 10 communities with the lowest annual pounds of trash per capita use PAYT. 
  • The average pounds of trash per capita was 356 in PAYT communities. 
  • The average pounds of trash per capita was 645 for non-PAYT communities.
  • The overall average recycling rate was 33.1 percent in PAYT communities. 
  • The average recycling rate was 20.4 percent in non-PAYT communities.

The report uses data provided by ecomaine, a leading non-profit organization providing a range of waste disposal, recycling and waste-to-energy solutions for municipalities in southern Maine. For fiscal year 2017, WasteZero gathered data from 20 municipalities.

Of the 20 municipalities identified, 11 have bag-based PAYT systems and nine have no PAYT at all.  For each municipality, WasteZero calculated the average pounds of trash thrown away per person during fiscal year 2017. The company then ranked the communities based on how much trash per capita they generate.  


Topics: Sustainable Communities

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