The initiative to optimize the residential waste and recycling collection system for current and future operations exemplifies the County’s commitment to safe, efficient, and excellent civic services for residents.
The County of Sacramento, Department of Waste Management & Recycling (DWMR) is contracting with SCS Engineers to study and analyze how to optimize the routing, collection, and disposal of municipal solid waste, green waste, organics, and single-stream recycling in the unincorporated area of the county. The analyses will help Sacramento control costs, provide quality services to residents, and lower their carbon footprint.
Using a three-cart system, the DWMR provides weekly residential garbage collection, every other week recycling, green waste collection, and other waste collection services to approximately 155,000 residents in unincorporated Sacramento County.
Currently, vehicles cover 71 routes and collect a total of 151,000 tons of municipal solid waste, 77,000 tons of green waste and organics, and nearly 37, 000 tons of single-stream recycling annually. Materials go to appropriate locations, including the county-owned and operated North Area Recovery Station and the Waste Management owned and operated Sacramento Recycling Center and Transfer Station.
Approximately 60 percent of residential collection activity occurs in the northern half of unincorporated Sacramento County and 40 percent in the southern half. DWMR will use SCS Engineers’ comprehensive analyses and the current residential waste collection and disposal operations to identify options for charting a path forward that will optimize collection efficiencies and reduce collection costs. The analyses examine these areas, as follows:
Regulatory compliance, including comprehensive, cost-effective adherence to all applicable known and anticipated regulations and ordinances
Financial and contractual controls, such as long-term agreements with haulers, processors, contractors, key suppliers, and vendors; infrastructure maintenance and construction
Route logistics and vehicle controls, for example, the number of routes, type of vehicles, safety, carbon footprint reductions, workloads
Community satisfaction with clear communications, ease of disposal, overall convenience, and other factors to continuously improve residential service
The SCS analyses include a model for creating alternative collection scenarios for waste and recycling operations and performing cost modeling. The model gives the County the benefit of insight into many potential options while considering various technology, best practices of the operations staff and fleet crews, and rate structures. The SCS model is in use in cities and counties across the U.S.
“The data and the way it is analyzed and interpreted will lay the foundation for collecting waste and recycling in the unincorporated area of the County,” stated Tracie Bills of SCS Engineers. “The cost savings and environmental benefits are significant supporting Sacramento residents into the future.”
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Bureau of Waste Management, has awarded SCS Engineers (SCS) a contract to provide recycling and organics management technical assistance to local governments throughout the state. Brent Dieleman, SCS’s Project Manager, has years of experience administering these types of programs for the Solid Waste Association of North America.
Pennsylvania ratified “Act 101” in 1988 to manage waste and promote recycling across the Commonwealth. The DEP developed the Recycling Technical Assistance Training Program to help local governments comply with Act 101 by improving and expanding their collection and diversion programs. SCS will help administer and provide technical assistance to this Program. The comprehensive support provides for curbside and drop-off recycling programs, solid waste planning, public education, materials processing, equipment, technical training, environmental protection programs, and organics management.
Additionally, local governments can apply for technical assistance, up to $7,500 per applicant, to help expand and improve their recycling and organics management systems. SCS will work with applicants to assess their needs and refine the scope of their project. Once DEP approves a technical assistance project, SCS will then provide specialized, tailored training to each recipient.
SCS will help each grant recipient address the unique issues and challenges facing their program including, composting, collections, incentive-based programs such as pay-as-you-throw, and siting of new facilities. SCS anticipates providing technical assistance for up to 30 local governments annually.
DEP is tasking SCS with helping them find ways to further promote the Program across the Commonwealth and enable local governments to benefit from it. SCS anticipates presenting the initiative to local landfill owners and operators at a seminar in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on June 9, 2017.
“In recent years Pennsylvanians have recycled nearly 17 million tons of waste, which removed almost 16 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions from the air. That is equivalent to saving the electricity used in 2.18 million American homes per year or taking 3.34 million passenger vehicles off the road for one year,” said Brent Dieleman. “We’re facilitating the DEP to help local governments efficiently expand their recycling programs.”
Recycling markets are moving targets and create volatility that makes it difficult to anticipate market change. However, by controlling contracts you have a much better chance to implement a financially sustainable operation. Tracie and Michelle review managing costs and nine other important components in this engaging article.
Processors and municipalities have many considerations when establishing a recycling contract. Processors who seek legal assistance and are open about their concerns during the process can find ways to develop a contract that is sustainable for both processor and the community being serviced.
About Tracie Onstead Bills and Michelle Leonard