Fall River, Mass., is now set to implement the pay-as-you-throw program proposed by Mayor Will Flanagan. The program will kick off on Aug. 4.
Fall River, a diverse city of almost 90,000 in southeastern Massachusetts, had been facing a dramatic budget shortfall, with millions of dollars in lost revenue due to the closure of their landfill, expiration of a federal public safety grant, and increases in state-mandated education and retirement costs.
With a projected 44% decrease in Fall River’s solid waste tonnage (353 pounds per person per year), PAYT will have a dramatic financial impact on the city. The city is predicting that it will generate $3.5 million in the first year alone, due to $800,000 in disposal savings and $2.7 million in revenue from trash bag sales.
Pay-as-you-throw in Fall River will also have a profound environmental impact. A 44% cut in solid waste means cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 26,000 metric tons of CO2—the equivalent of taking 5,000 cars off the road. In addition, the increased recycling collected is projected to save an amount of energy equivalent to what’s needed to power 1,500 homes per year.
Explaining his support for the program to the Fall River Herald News, Mayor Will Flanagan last month said, “Our goal is to have people recycle. Now that you are paying for a trash bag, it becomes a utility, just like you flip on a switch for electricity or water. You’re going to pay for what you use.” Look for Fall River to see some great benefits in the coming months and years for asking its residents to pay for what they use.