- WasteZero has reported that after two years of using a pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) program in Eliot, ME, municipal solid waste (MSW) tonnage taken to landfills is down 56% — much more than the average 44% savings. Also, $46,569 in disposal fees has been saved.
- The town added three programs to its recycling efforts in 2013: kitchen food waste collection, miscellaneous plastic collection, and pay-as-you-throw. Residents pay for purple waste bags ($1.25 for 15-gallon bags, $2 for 30-gallon bags) to dispose of trash at the transfer station.
- The volume of MSW collected at the transfer station in 2014 was 329 tons, down 70% from 2012. The cost to operate the transfer station is down from $410,108 two years ago to $132,631 this year. That includes an estimated $76,000 in revenue from recycling and $62,000 from PAYT bags.
The town designed its initiatives to keep household waste out of landfills, increase recycling, and save money, Seacoast Online reported. While the town has already accomplished these goals, the efforts will still continue.
Eliot entered into a new disposal contract with EcoMaine, saving $30 a ton in tipping fees; bought a used truck to haul MSW instead of paying haulers; upgraded the hydraulics systems on each trash compactor in order to load more into each container, thus reducing the number of trips — and related transportation costs — to the waste facility in Portland.
These pay-as-you-throw programs have been successful in Massachusetts and other areas of the nation. Eliot has set a great example in making the program work, by taking multiple small steps that have added up to big changes.