solid waste cost management

25th Annual SCS Engineers Landfill and Solid Waste Seminar – Register Now

March 23, 2018

About the Seminar
The half-day landfill and solid waste seminar provides updates on the latest regulatory, policy, and technological developments in the solid waste, landfill and landfill gas industries.

A $100 registration fee includes continental breakfast, seminar materials, lunch, and certificate of completion. To register, please complete and return the registration form located on the SCS website for download. Additional instructions will follow with your confirmation.

Who Should Attend?
Solid waste management professionals, landfill managers, supervisors, and operators. For attendees already possessing landfill experience, topics will provide a fresh perspective and cover important regulatory and technological updates. For those new to the field, topics will cover essential information on all aspects of landfill development, operations, monitoring, and management.

Continuing Education Credits
Full event attendance provides four (4) CPE/T contact hours toward DPOR requirements
for Class I and Class II license renewal, as well as three (3) Continuing Education Units for SWANA Certification Program.

About SCS Engineers
Founded in 1970, SCS is an employee-owned environmental consulting firm specializing in solid waste management and environmental engineering services. SCS opened its Reston, VA office in 1971. Our other VA locations include: Richmond, Virginia Beach, and Winchester. Presently, we have over 800 employees throughout the United States.

Roanoke | April 5, 2018
Richmond | April 13, 2018
Seminar fee is $100. Complete a separate form for each registrant and kindly attach registrant’s business card.

Questions? Contact Heather Blake for answers.

Thanks for attending!

Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

Get a Firm Handle on Solid Waste Costs to Optimize Performance

February 15, 2016

Getting a firm handle on the solid waste agency costs to provide optimal services is a critical ongoing focus for any professional solid waste manager. Today’s SCS blog focuses on the most important financial tools available to optimize agency performance and project feasibility.

Solid waste agencies are under more pressure these days to provide high-quality waste collection, facility enhancements, and landfill operation services. Coupled with the pressures from ratepayers and local government “lean and mean” initiatives to keep rates and expenses low, has many solid waste agencies struggling. Balancing real cost escalation factors such as rising fuel, material, and labor costs against the push for keeping static rates is challenging. Further, full cost accounting is difficult because agencies often support activities not directly related to normal operations or provide “free services” such as street sweeping or collection and disposal for community events (i.e. fairs, farmers markets, runs for charity, art shows). Allocating shared costs across agencies is complicated and at times inaccurate adding to the agency’s overhead.

The scarcity of reliable data available to benchmark solid waste management operations handicaps timely comparisons among solid waste systems. Benchmarking rates or service fees for collection and disposal is challenging, but not impossible using financial tools now considered critical to focus on an agency’s primary policy and management issues. These tools are the basis for budgeting, cost accounting, financial monitoring and evaluation aimed at recovering sufficient money to cover recurrent operational expenditures of the agency’s services as well as to stock up capital for new investments or extensive maintenance.

A Pro Forma Model is a financial tool crafted from the market dynamics influencing the life cycle of a specific project, cost center, or program. In the solid waste business, every project is unique, and the design of the pro forma financial model should reflect these differences. To accommodate the various types of business models needed to analyze the feasibility of recycling projects, we’ve developed different types of pro forma models that allow us to tailor the financial statements to the particular project. Thus, each client receives models that have the maximum flexibility to model multiple scenarios of facility size, energy production/co-generation, site locations, and changes in operations.

For example, we have had clients wanting to evaluate the feasibility of a single stream recycling program with multiple cart sizes, evaluate alternative landfill cover systems, and collection equipment and whether or not a change from manual to automated collection made long-term economic sense.

Another client, a private waste hauler, wanted to evaluate the business case for implementation of a leachate evaporator. The cost of leachate disposal was increasing, and our client needed to make a business case for the project. In each of these cases, a pro forma model was developed to help quantify the capital and operating costs of the proposed facilities or programs and then compare these long-term costs against current programs.

The results of these modeling efforts enabled the clients to quantify the payback or return to the agency.

The use of financial tools to evaluate the agency’s cost of service is another important area where pro forma modeling is used. Such cost of service studies evaluate the financial aspects of solid waste management programs and remain critical to ensuring sustainability of the agency. In short, these studies show how an agency determines the means to fill the gap between cost and revenues, alert authorities to options of how financial sustainability can be improved, and determine if privatizing some services is a reasonable option.

Example of a pro forma model used for projecting agency long-term cash flow.
Example of a pro forma model used for projecting agency long-term cash flow.

The lack of specific financial monitoring and analysis of data is one of the significant barriers to being able to sustain any envisioned improvement of an agency system. This concerns budgeting, cost accounting, financial monitoring and evaluation aiming at recovering sufficient money to cover recurrent operational expenditures of the collection service as well as to stock up capital for new investments or significant maintenance. Many agencies do not know the actual cost of providing specific services. Before strategic decisions are made, an important step is to establish a full understanding of the historical or current costs for the provision of the services and the respective revenues. The studies serve to project financial sustainability in the short-term as well as in the long-term.

The growing national trend toward privatization of government-provided services demonstrates that the public sector solid waste agencies must operate efficiently and cost-effectively if they wish to continue providing these services to its citizens. Municipal governmental agencies must optimize the performance of their service utilities to ensure that costs are contained; while at the same time, service levels and customer satisfaction remain high. In fact, it is necessary for public agencies to think and act like the private sector service providers and spearhead efficiency gains and identify cost reduction measures to reduce operating costs while improving customer satisfaction.

In conclusion, the use of financial tools to evaluate current and proposed solid waste programs and facilities is an increasing trend across the nation by many solid waste agencies. These tools provide a useful vehicle for finding optimal management solutions, while at the same time, providing quick answers on their projected financial performance for political decision-makers.


Contact Marc Rogoff, the SCS National Expert on Solid Waste Rate Studies or read more about using financial tools to balance current and future rates while planning for high-quality waste collection, facility enhancements, and landfill operation services.

Related Articles

Conducting a Feasibility Study of a Small Community Solid Waste Infrastructure Needs, an SCS Whitepaper

Economic Feasibility 101 – Understanding the Tools of the Trade, in MSW Management 

Can ADCs Work for Your Landfill? A Recent Feasibility Analysis Provided Some Valuable Lessons, in MSW Management 

Solid Waste Planning, City of Killeen, Texas, in Waste Advantage

Regional Waste Management Authority Uses Pro Forma Model for Short and Long-term Operational Excellence and Budgeting, an SCS Blog

 Solid Waste Planning Services


Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am