Executive in Residence: "People are seeing that their money doesn't have to be sent to a landfill."

If somebody told you that it was possible for the trash in your city to be cut in half, all while generating billions in financial impact, would you believe them?

You should. And William & Mary alumni Mark Dancy, MBA ’93 and John Campbell, MBA ’93 explained why during a recent alumni webinar

A 20-year friendship forged at W&M led to their starting the now successful and forward-thinking B Corporation, WasteZero. Dancy and Campbell, president and chairman of the board, respectively, have since built the company into the leading waste reduction group in the United States, serving more than 800 cities in 41 states. 

How, exactly, did they manage this when the majority of Americans have access to recycling, Dancy said, and yet “we’re still sending 59 billion pounds of recyclable paper, 63 billion pounds of plastic and six billion pounds of aluminum to our landfills.”

They call it the Pay As You Throw (PAYT) program.

Considered revolutionary, WasteZero’s PAYT reverses how most municipalities manage trash collection. Instead of paying for trash through taxes, WasteZero gets municipalities to switch from their current landfill and trash models (most trash collection and landfill fees are paid as a flat rate by cities and towns and managed through taxes) to selling pre-paid trash bags to residents. The model turns trash collection into a metered utility, much like the way residents pay for electricity or water consumption. They pay for what they actually use. 

The results? Trash has been cut nearly in half in the cities and towns that have implemented the program.

And in the process, WasteZero also thrives.

WasteZero’s model is, quite simply, a win-win-win solution for all involved. The environment wins given the reduction in trash and increase in recycling. Municipalities win because they can redirect previous funds used for trash to education, transportation and other human services. And WasteZero wins by growing into a thriving, more sustainable, business.

It’s a proven model, former Portland, Maine Mayor George Campbell, said in the webinar. Campbell, no relation to John, implemented WasteZero’s PAYT program during his tenure. 

“We’ve had a 100 percent customer retention rate for the programs we designed and managed,” said Campbell, also an Executive Advisor of WasteZero. “People are seeing that their money doesn’t have to be sent to a landfill. If people can make the policy change, it’s impactful enough to cut waste in half (and) that redirects millions of dollars to schools, roads and parks.”


At William & Mary, alumni-hosted webinars a great way to stay plugged in to the Tribe community and in touch with W&M alumni. Stay tuned to the Raymond A. Mason School of Business website, Facebook and Twitter for a list and any news about upcoming webinars.