Pay As You Throw (PAYT) is the common name for a unit-based pricing system in which residents directly pay for the disposal of their solid waste rather than through a fixed fee for all households utilizing the Transfer Station. It is the equivalent to paying for household usage of water or electricity and is not only a more equitable approach for all users of the facility, it is also a direct cost to usage system.
On October 2021, the Town launched the program, which is open to all residents. Special garbage bags are required for the disposal of garbage (not yard waste or recycling). The Transfer Station permit fee associated with the use of the facility is available to be purchased online. The Transfer Station is open to any resident with a current permit and the only garbage bags allowed are the special PAYT bags.
As a designated Green Community by the Commonwealth, facilitating reuse and recycling opportunities while minimizing solid waste disposal is a critical goal of the Town. PAYT is a win-win program:
- it creates incentives to recycle;
- it gets usable goods out of the trash stream and into the hands of those in need or want of them; and
- saves taxpayer money without raising the cost of disposing of trash for the average household.
We understand that change can be challenging, particularly with something as mundane as disposing of garbage, and we realize many people do not want to be told what to do with their trash. However, in the 44% of Massachusetts municipalities that have adopted this system, solid waste tonnage has been reduced, on average, by over one-third, thereby reducing the expense of trash disposal. The previous flat-rate permit fee at the Transfer Station was not sustainable against the rising costs of disposal, nor is it sustainable environmentally. Sustainable Resource Consumption is a goal identified in Weston's Climate Action and Resilience Plan, and the current works toward that goal.
Weston Ahead is the Town's Climate Action and Resilience Plan that was finalized in the spring of 2021. It outlines a path toward a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2035. This includes an 80% diversion rate for tons recycled/total waste and a reduction of waste generation from 1.76 tons per household to .94. PAYT is a program with a proven track record across the state that will help Weston achieve this goal.
Don't Treat it Like Garbage
Rethinking what goes into the trash bag or expanding recycling and reduction practices can greatly reduce what is placed in the PAYT bag and reduce the number of bags used, thereby lowering your costs. A list of all recycling and reduction opportunities can be found in the sidebar on the left of the screen or on the Recycle & Reduce at a Glance (PDF) document.
Recycling opportunities are near-endless at the Transfer Station to help residents keep as much out of the garbage bag as possible. Plus, composting, donation bins, and textile recycling bins are available to keep even more out of the bag.