With Pay-as-You-Throw, Good Policy Is Good Politics

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: pay-as-you-throw isn’t just good policy; it’s also good politics. That’s been true for a while, and the news yesterday out of Waterville, Maine, is just more evidence for it. In a city-wide referendum, Waterville residents voted by an overwhelming two-to-one margin to continue PAYT. It’s not hard to see why. Pay-as-you-throw […]

The Financial Power of Pay-as-You-Throw

We’re all used to hearing the knock on waste reduction initiatives: if they’re effective, they’re expensive–and if they don’t cost very much, they don’t do very much. Right? Wrong. One of the most impressive things about the pay-as-you-throw model is that it breaks that paradigm, simultaneously bringing cities and towns profound waste reduction while also making a […]

Pay-as-You-Throw, and Don’t Look Back

It’s Town Meeting Season in New England, when people fill up high school gyms and libraries to vote on things like town budgets, school funding, road repairs… and, sometimes, pay-as-you-throw. Most years, people in at least a few towns in the region find a way to get PAYT on the ballot. That’s what happened in Hopkinton, N.H., […]

Eight Is Great for Pay-as-You-Throw in Ashland, Mass.

This month marks eight years of pay-as-you-throw in the Massachusetts town of Ashland, and what an eight years it’s been: solid waste is way down, recycling is way up, and the town has saved almost a million dollars. Ashland, a town of 16,500, sits about 20 miles west of Boston. They began using their orange-bag […]

Pay-as-You-Throw Is Coming to Fall River, Mass.

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 […]

Pay-as-You-Throw and Popular Opinion: A Winning Combination

We’ve known for a long time that people like pay-as-you-throw. How could we not? We’ve been at this for a long time—more than twenty years—and we’ve worked with hundreds of cities and towns. And along the way we’ve had the opportunity to talk with lots of people, to learn about what drives them and what […]

Trash Is America’s $384 Billion Problem

We’re all familiar with the environmental costs of throwing away as much garbage as Americans do (165 million tons in 2012): greenhouse gas emissions and risks to soil, air, and water quality. But what about the financial costs of all this waste? Every year, solid waste costs the U.S. economy $384 billion. Let’s break that […]

How Gloucester, Mass., Switched From Stickers to Bags and Saved a Million Dollars

Some communities that want to move to pay-as-you-throw consider going with stickers or tags instead of bags. At first glance, asking people to affix a sticker or tag on a trash bag of their choice seems like it would work the same way as bag-based pay-as-you-throw: after all, in both cases people are paying a […]

Success in Sanford

Do you remember when we told you a few months ago to “watch this space” to see what would happen with pay-as-you-throw in Sanford, Maine? Over the past few years, Sanford had adopted pay-as-you-throw, and then voted it out, and then adopted it again—and we had a hunch that they’d be putting up some good […]

Worcester’s Big Anniversary

The pay-as-you-throw program in Worcester, Mass. celebrates its twentieth anniversary next week, and the city has put up some big numbers to mark the occasion: 400,000 tons of trash diverted 200,000 tons of additional recycling Savings of more than $10 million in waste disposal costs Per-capita disposal of 396 pounds of waste per year—44% of […]