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Contact Vita Quinn for more information. Ms. Quinn is SCS Engineers’ National Expert on Solid Waste Finance and Rate Studies. She has 12 years of experience as a financial analyst and management consultant. She has extensive experience working for local government and has developed financial sustainability solutions for various general governments, special revenue funds, and utility enterprise funds. Ms. Quinn has an MBA in Finance and a Bachelor’s Degree in International Economics.
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Residential Automated Collection Makes Sense for Idaho Falls
The Nuts and Bolts of Implementing a Residential Automated Collection Program
Conducting a Rate Analysis as Part of a Master Plan Study in Killeen, Texas
Financial Tools Assist in Completing Cost of Service Studies
Conducting Solid Waste Rate Studies and Business Plans
Get a Firm Handle on Solid Waste Costs to Optimize Performance
Cash Flow Analysis Forestalls Long-Term Debt
Is Privatization the Answer? You Need to Consider Several Factors Before Making the Decision for Solid Waste Services
Developing a Strategic Business Plan for Your Agency
Economic Feasibility 101 – Understanding the Tools of the Trade
Assessing a Solid Waste Agency’s Financial Health
Are Your Rates Correct? Collection and Disposal Rate Studies are a Valuable Tool
Integrating Financial Analysis into Solid Waste Operations Planning
High Costs and Limited Markets Put a Crack in Glass Recycling
Recycling Trends in the United States
Calculated Decisions: An Engineer’s Feasibility Report Can Help Communities and Financiers Assess the Risk of a Waste Conversion Project
Anaerobic Digester Economics
Give SCS a call or send an email to if you have questions. Find your local office here: https://www.scsengineers.com/locations/. Visit our Solid Waste Planning Services page for additional information, articles, whitepapers, and case studies.
by Tracie Onstad Bills, Northern California Director, Sustainable Materials Management at SCS Engineers
For many years source separation was the primary method for recycling. However, technology has changed how recyclables are collected and processed. China, the largest importer of materials for recycling now strictly enforces regulations on importing contaminated materials for recycling into the country. China’s Operation Green Fence puts restrictions on what material China will accept, rejecting materials that don’t meet higher standards of cleanliness; that means rejected materials get buried in a landfill instead of being recycled.
Regardless of the type of recycling program, the biggest challenge here at home is now minimizing contaminated recycling material. Communities are struggling to meet diversion goals and provide materials to local recyclers that are free of common contaminants such as liquids left in containers or motor oil. My SCS team has assisted communities in the last few years to address contamination issues and I’d like to share what works best to kick start addressing the issue at home.
Recycling Assessments: Conduct a visual and physical characterization study to identify contamination levels using one of these two methods for the evaluation:
Recycling Technical Assistance: Meet with local businesses and perform a walk-through of their facility to collect baseline waste assessment and material collection infrastructure information. This information can then be used to provide customized recycling and composting recommendations, and implementation support such as employee training sessions, providing signage and collateral, referrals, and multi-lingual outreach services.
Review and Analysis of Community Recycling Programs: Review and analyze your recycling program. An environmental engineer can provide recommendations and assessments on how a recycling program can be enhanced to reduce the quantity of contaminated materials. Services typically include everything from examining outreach materials to the flow of the recycling from generation to transport to processing.
Planning and Implementation of Behavior Change Programs: There is value in providing comprehensive programs and explicit outreach materials for increasing the probability of cleaner recycling. Behavior change programs focus on planning and implementing programs that identify key triggers to encourage action in the community. These programs help communicate the importance and value of specific activities to the community and cross any age and cultural barriers.
Contamination is a global problem and is challenging, but there are steps to minimize the problem in your community.
About Tracie Onstad Bills
Tracie Onstad Bills has been in the Environmental and Resource Material Management Field for over 20 years. Her expertise revolves around commercial recycling technical assistance, environmental purchasing, large venue and event zero waste programs, research and sustainability planning, garbage hauler franchise compliance and review, construction and demolition program / ordinance analysis and writing, climate inventory compilation, research and feasibility studies to help clients with comprehensive waste prevention and zero waste programs. Ms. Bills has a BA in Environmental Science from San Jose State University, is a CRRA Board member and belongs to the SWANA Gold Rush Chapter, National Recycling Coalition and the Northern California Recycling Association. Contact Tracie here.
Learn more on the SCS service pages and read SCS project case studies from across the nation to help fine tune your program: