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Separating Waste

Circular Economy

The way we buy, use, and dispose of materials has impacts beyond the trash or recycling bin. Every time something is thrown away, we end the life cycle of the natural resources and energy used to create that product, whether those are trees, oil, water, metal, or construction debris, resulting in the release of embodied carbon. By transforming how we consume products and manage waste we can reduce emissions, save families money, keep our environment clean, and empower our local economy


Our economy is largely based on using finite resources in a linear process. We use—then dispose of—materials that ultimately pollute our environment and account for 7% of Yarmouth’s total emissions. We acknowledge that the 2019 emissions baseline does not include the upstream impacts of waste: emissions created when products are made, transported, and stored18. To tackle these emissions, we can transform our “throw away” culture and change consumption habits, keep products such as clothing, furniture, packaging, building parts, and household products in use for longer, and foster economic innovation that doesn’t depend on the consumption of limited resources.

To effectively respond to the urgency of the climate crisis, Yarmouth must move beyond a primary emphasis on recycling to place even greater emphasis on reducing and reusing all materials. If we move quickly to create an effective circular economy, we will reduce direct emissions from town waste and also minimize emissions from the lifecycle of everyday items we use.

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In 2022, Yarmouth high school student Maya Faulstich recognized the need to help reduce waste generated at events. She founded the Yarmouth High School Environmental Action Club’s ‘Dishes on Demand’ program which provides reusable plates, cups, and utensils for school and community events and dinners. The program earned a finalist award in National Geographic’s Global Slingshot Challenge and has prevented nearly 5,000 plates, cups, and utensils from being thrown away over one year.


  • The Town added dropoff bins for donating clothing and shoes

  • In 2023 Town implemented a Pay As You Throw Program to incentivize reducing waste

Our action plan

The Climate Action Plan has goals, strategies, and actions that move us away from a take-make-waste model of using resources and goods in town and support an efficient, sharing economy.

Be part of the solution.

Learn about what a circular economy is from one of the nations leading resources.

See the YHS Environmental Action Club guide to eco-friendly purchasing.

Get the basics of why reuse is important. 

Explore the options for composting that the Town offers.

Get the answers to all your recycling questions with this easy online tool.

Recycle your old clothes, shoes for a new life at Transfer Station. See accepted items. 

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