Cutting the Trash in Half: WasteZero Trash Metering™ Programs

WasteZero works with cities, counties, and towns across the United States, helping them and their residents to reduce their volumes of municipal solid waste and to increase their recycling rates.  We do this by helping municipalities design, implement, and manage next-generation pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) programs, known as WasteZero Trash Metering™.

How WasteZero Trash Metering™ Works

Our programs create the right incentives, encouraging residents to reduce, reuse, and recycle.  They help cities and towns charge residents based on the amount of trash they throw away.  This is very different from the way municipalities typically charge for trash collection and disposal, as most of them charge a fixed fee or simply bury the costs in their property tax bills.

Under our next-generation pay-as-you-throw programs, cities typically reduce or eliminate the fixed fees, and then replace them with unit-based pricing.  Residents who throw away more will pay more.

Those who throw away less (and recycle more), will pay less!  Recycling services are almost always offered for free.  It’s simple and powerfully effective at encouraging people to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

It’s in the Bag!

While there are many types of pay-as-you-throw program out there, such as tag programs, variable rate  carts, and others, WasteZero Trash Metering™ programs use pre-paid trash bags as the mechanism for “metering trash.”

With our programs, residents must dispose of their trash in the city’s official, approved trash bags, which can be purchased at almost any local grocery, hardware, or convenience store.  The city’s official bags are more expensive than a normal garbage bag, usually between $1 and $3, depending on size.  These bags are a distinctive color, are printed with the city seal, and are easily identified by collection workers.

This encourages residents to throw away less, thereby using fewer bags.  As a result, residents recycle more…much more!

Why It’s a Fairer System for Residents

Under the old, fixed-fee approach, residents are charged the same no matter how much or how little they throw away.  Responsible recyclers end up subsidizing those who are wasteful.  Meanwhile, wasteful residents are “getting over” on their more responsible neighbors.

WasteZero Trash Metering™ enables a town or city to charge residents based on how much waste they generate.  It gives each resident more control over how much he or she wants to spend.  If a resident wants to spend less, then they will buy products with less packaging, reuse materials when appropriate, and recycle everything that can be recycled.  That way, they’ll buy fewer trash bags and save money.

On the other hand, if someone wants to be wasteful, then it will cost them.

What WasteZero Does

For our municipal waste reduction programs, WasteZero:

  • Designs each program to meet the city’s or town’s needs
  • Manufactures all of the plastic trash bags right here in the US, using state-of-the-art technology that enables us to incorporate a high percentage of recycled resin into each bag while maintaining bag strength
  • Manages bag inventories and helps keep local retailers stocked with the city’s official bags
  • Handles all program-related accounting and reporting for the city
  • Provides community education and communication support

Powerful Results

Within 3 months of program implementation, municipalities typically see powerful results:

  • 46% average drop in solid waste volume (as opposed to 5%-20% drops associated with other PAYT programs).
  • Significant increases in the recycling rate (50% to 100% or more)

These results help cities and towns:

  • Reduce disposal costs
  • Increase recycling revenue
  • Extend the life of their landfills
  • Protect the environment
  • These results and benefits are almost immediate, and last as long as the program is in place.