Pay-as-You-Throw Program Yields Results

Grafton, N.C., saves $135,000 annually with 41 percent reduction in solid waste and 96 percent increase in recycling.

November 12, 2012

This summer marked the third-year anniversary of the pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) program in Grafton, N.C. In the past three years, according to Assistant Town Administrator Kevin Mizikar, Grafton residents have reduced their solid waste from 5,169 tons in 2009 to 3,041 tons in 2012, a 41 percent reduction. Additionally, recycling efforts have nearly doubled from 888 tons in 2009 to 1,744 tons in 2012. The town’s solid waste disposal costs have dropped more than $135,000 annually, topping out at $136,742 for the past fiscal year ending July 1, 2012.

“From the beginning, the residents of Grafton have supported the program, and the results have exceeded our expectations,” Town Administrator Tim McInerney says. “Recycling has increased dramatically, we’ve reduced our solid waste and we’ve saved more than $135,000 in waste disposal costs in each of the last three years, which has allowed us to help offset cost increases of other critical services.”

The goals of the PAYT program include increasing recycling and reducing sold waste to offset anticipated cost increases in other municipal services.

Before the program, in fiscal year 2009, Grafton spent $357,178 to dispose of its solid waste. After the program, in fiscal year 2012, the town spent $220,436, a savings of more than $135,000, despite modest increases in tipping fees at the Wheelabrator waste-to-energy facility in Millbury, N.C.

“The decision to switch from the traditional 18-gallon recycling bins to the new 36- and 96-gallon Toters in June 2011 has paid off in dividends, further reducing our solid waste and increasing our recycling by almost 15 percent over 2011,” Mizikar says.

“The success of the Grafton program is proof positive that WasteZero’s Trash Metering is the single-most effective way a community can reduce its solid waste, increase recycling and generate savings and revenue,” says Mark Dancy, president of WasteZero, the town’s program provider. “The results are indicative of what we see in other cities and towns where residents support the program as enthusiastically as the town of Grafton has.”

WasteZero, a provider of waste-reduction programs in the United States, claims its WasteZero Trash Metering programs and Pay-As-You-Throw conversion programs reduce solid waste 44 percent annually on average. WasteZero has offices in Cambridge, Mass.; Raleigh, N.C.; Murrells Inlet, S.C.; and Chicago.