To say Gloucester, Mass., is pleased with its pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) trash program would be an understatement.
Since the program's inception more than three years ago, the city has saved nearly $1 million and seen a 28% decrease in collected waste, the Gloucester Times reported.
Prior to the program, the city used to send more than 9,000 tons each year to Waste Management Inc. In 2009, tonnage dropped to about 7,500 tons and then declined to less than 7,000 tons in 2010.
The decrease and savings came after the city switched from trash stickers to PAYT, which has residents pay for what they use or don't, and introduced purple bags for the waste. The bags are manufactured by Raleigh, N.C.-based WasteZero and encouraged residents to make a greater effort at economizing through the separation of recyclables from trash, the newspaper said.
Over the three full years of PAYT trash collection, the city has saved $933,221 compared to the nearly $1.6 million paid for trash collection when stickers were the currency, the newspaper said.
"You're not going to get customers excited about the change with environmental arguments," Gloucester Mayor Carolyn Kirk told the newspaper. "The magic happens when you show them savings in line items allowing you to protect other city services. It's the financial argument that makes it happen."