A $1.5 million improvement project at the Yarmouth transfer station will pave the way for implementation of a “pay-as-you-throw” trash disposal system in January. Rachel Vitello / For The Forecaster

A “pay-as-you-throw” waste disposal system in Yarmouth is scheduled to go into effect in January upon completion of upgrades at the town transfer station.

The Yarmouth Town Council unanimously voted in 2019 to approve the pay-as-you-throw program in an effort to improve recycling rates, stem rising costs of recycling and trash disposal, and pay for needed improvements at the transfer station. The program was to go into effect once the transfer station improvements were in place.

The $1.5 million improvement project began in July and includes a new recycling building designed to be more accessible and easier to use; safer and more manageable traffic patterns; a new trash compactor that will replace 30-year-old equipment; and a new recycling compactor that will lower the town’s hauling costs by 80%, according to the town.

The project is scheduled to be completed by January. Before then, the town will hold three public forums on the new system, on Oct. 19, Nov. 16 and Dec. 7. Each forum will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Log Cabin, 196 Main St., and will be broadcast live on YMTV3.

Director of Public Works Erik Street said he hopes the forums will be well-attended.

“Despite this issue being in front of the council for five-plus years, there has been very little feedback to my office,” Street said. “The town did a townwide mailing in August to let folks know about the upcoming changes, but there have been very few comments back to Town Hall.”


The switch to pay-as-you-throw also has been publicized on banners at Town Hall and at the transfer station, on the town’s website and on other social media sites, he said.

With the new system, residents will be required to buy and use blue town-issued bags to dispose of trash, whether they use the transfer station or contract to have trash collected curbside. Once it begins, the cost of transfer station stickers will drop from $25 to $2. Recycling will remain free.

Large, 30-gallon blue bags will cost $2 each and 15-gallon bags will cost $1.25. They will be available at retail outlets in Yarmouth and surrounding communities. A list of those stores was not yet available.

Revenue from the bags will be used to pay for the transfer station improvement project. Once that bill has been paid, the bag revenue will go toward offsetting the town’s rising trash disposal, hauling and recycling costs, which are currently covered by property taxes.

The town hopes that once trash disposal comes at a cost while recycling remains free, the system will be an incentive for residents to recycle more. Since trash disposal costs the town twice as much as recycling, the more each resident recycles, the lower the town’s overall costs, according to the town.

Town Manager Nat Tupper and Council Chairperson April Humphrey could not be reached for comment.


Yarmouth will join 139 other communities in Maine that use the pay-as-you-throw system, including Cumberland, Falmouth, North Yarmouth, Portland and Windham.

Work is now underway for improvements at the Yarmouth transfer station. Contributed / Town of Yarmouth

Rachel Vitello is a freelance writer and a resident of Portland.

This article was edited Oct. 14 to clarify that subscription curbside pickup will remain in place in Yarmouth.  


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