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Hanson doubles recycling rate with ‘pay-as-you-throw’ trash policy

Hanson has doubled its recycling rate and significantly reduced its solid waste since switching to a “pay-as-you-throw” trash policy just over a year ago. According to town officials, the town’s recycling rate soared from 16 percent in fiscal 2014 to 38 percent in fiscal 2015, the first year the policy was in effect. During that year, the town’s volume of regular trash fell by 64 percent, from 2,752 tons in fiscal 2014 to 986 tons in fiscal 2015, which ended this past June 30. The drop in tonnage saved the town $51,295 in the “tipping” fees it pays to dispose of its trash at the Covanta SEMASS plant in Rochester. In addition to the rise in recycling, a drop in commercial use of the transfer station contributed to the decline in solid waste tonnage. Officials said that the amount of garbage diverted from the waste stream has reduced greenhouse gases by an amount equal to the annual emissions from 650 cars and has saved enough energy to fully power 250 houses. Under the pay-as-you-throw program, managed for the town by Waste Zero, residents use orange bags stamped with the Hanson seal to dispose of their trash at the town’s transfer station. The bags are sold at 13 local retail outlets.