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Case Study: Portland, ME

  • Project Type: Cart Rollout
  • Total Households Served: 22,131
  • Projected New Tons/Year: 1,313
  • Year: 2017

Already a community of strong recyclers with a robust pay-as-you-throw system in place, Portland rolled out of 25,000 carts with the help of a grant, technical assistance, and educational resources from The Partnership.

Transferring Portland from recycling bins to carts was doubly important: in addition to losing out on valuable tons of recyclables, the city was spending approximately $250,000 per year to clean up its streets and waterways. As a coastal community, Portland often sees strong winds and severe weather: recycled materials in open-top bins were getting blown into the Atlantic and stuck in snow drifts.

Less than one year after moving to carts, Portland has seen its monthly recycling rate increase by 15 percent, and its residents are recovering the most tons of recycling in the city’s environmental history. Additionally, their litter problem has decreased – both on the streets and in the water’s filtration systems.

Next up for Portland: public space recycling containers. We partnered with LL Bean, SAPPI, and Catalyst Paper to purchase 18 public space recycling containers that will be strategically placed throughout the city. The containers, unveiled in celebration of Earth Day, will allow residents and visitors to recycle bottles, cans, and paper packaging just like they do at home.