WasteZero releases report on impact of pay-as-you-throw programs

The report contains direct comparisons of municipalities with and without PAYT programs in southern Maine.

WasteZero, a Raleigh, North Carolina-based certified B-Corp that partners with towns, cities, counties, state agencies and private organizations, has released a report analyzing the impact of unit-based pricing, also known as pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) programs, on residential trash. The report contains head-to-head comparisons of municipalities in southern Maine with and without PAYT programs. It reveals that, on average, municipalities with PAYT annually generate 44.8 percent less trash per capita and have 62.3 percent higher recycling rates than municipalities that do not.

Key findings include:

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

The report uses data provided by Ecomaine, a nonprofit organization providing waste disposal, recycling and waste-to-energy solutions for municipalities in southern Maine based in Portland, Maine. For fiscal 2017, WasteZero gathered data from 20 municipalities and included all Ecomaine customers who met the following criteria:

  • provide curbside trash collection service to residents;
  • provide curbside recycling collection service to residents; and
  • have clean data on file with Ecomaine.

The following data points were collected for each city or town:

  • population;
  • trash tonnage;
  • recycling tonnage;
  • recycling rate; and
  • whether the municipality uses a PAYT trash program.

Of the 20 municipalities identified, 11 have bag-based PAYT systems and nine have no PAYT programs. For each municipality, WasteZero calculated the average pounds of trash thrown away per person during fiscal 2017.  The company then ranked the communities based on how much trash per capita they generate. The report is available at wastezero.wpengine.com/resources/analysis-of-payt-impact-in-southern-maine-ecomaine.