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City of Loveland Solid Waste Division. Diversion Versus Disposal: Determining the Costs. Conventional Industry Assumptions. Landfill space is abundant and inexpensive in Colorado. Recycling markets are far away.

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City of Loveland Solid Waste Division

  • Diversion Versus Disposal: Determining the Costs


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Conventional Industry Assumptions

  • Landfill space is abundant and inexpensive in Colorado.

  • Recycling markets are far away.

  • Many smaller communities don’t have access to facilities to sort and process recyclables for market.

  • Diversion, while it may be a good idea, is too expensive relative to cheap disposal.

  • No federal or state mandates to divert materials from landfill disposal.


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Community and Program Information

  • Loveland population: 60,000

  • Solid Waste Division operates as an enterprise fund in an open, competitive market with private waste haulers.

  • City has approximately 96% market share.

  • Households served: 22,000 single-family, duplex, and triplex.


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Historical Perspective

  • 1992: flat monthly fee of $5.75 for up to ten bags collected weekly.

  • No incentive for waste reduction/recycling.

  • Worker injuries from lifting heavy bags of grass.

  • Increased worker compensation costs.

  • Community interest in recycling.


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1993: New Program Implemented

  • Base rate currently $5.25/month.

  • Volume-based, “pay-as-you-throw” rates for refuse.

  • Curbside and drop-off recycling and yard waste composting.


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PAYT Options

  • City trash stamp: $1.00 for 32-gallons.


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PAYT Options

  • Trash carts:

    32-G $5.00/month.

    64-G $10.00/month

    96-G $15.00/month

  • Carts used by about 70% of City customers.


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Program Compatibility with Collection Equipment

  • Residential front loaders: manual or automated collection.


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Recycling Services

  • Curbside collection: Glass bottles and jars, metal cans and plastic bottles in green bin; mixed paper in blue bin.

  • Drop-off: all curbside materials, plus scrap metal, appliances, batteries, tires, TVs and motor/cooking oil.


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Yard Waste Composting Services

  • Curbside pickup: 96-gallon cart provided for weekly collection April through November for $6.00/month.


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Yard Waste Composting Services

  • Free drop-off for Loveland residents.

  • Materials accepted: branches, leaves, grass clippings, garden trimmings and lumber.

  • A-1 Organics produces high-quality compost for wholesale.


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The Results

  • Residential diversion rate has exceeded 50% annually since ’93.

  • Average weekly trash setouts decreased from three to one 32-gallon bag.

  • Workers are staying healthy since yard waste (and increasingly refuse) containerized.

  • Customers are very happy with services.


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Determining Costs

  • Since more than one-half of residential waste stream is diverted from landfill disposal, is it cheaper or most expensive than disposal?

  • How do we determine costs per ton for disposal versus diversion?


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Cost Methodology

  • Each activity area (refuse, recycling and yard waste) has its own assigned personnel and equipment.

  • Costs specific to an activity are charged solely to that activity.

  • Across the board expenses (work clothing, printing, postage, etc.) are allocated among the three activities, based on the allocation of labor.

  • Costs are inclusive: labor, benefits, supplies, services, equipment, transfers, PILT and capital.

  • Refuse includes landfill disposal fees, while income from sale of recyclables is credited against recycling expenses.


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2005 Data

  • Disposal Expenses: $1,749,624

  • Disposal Tons: 16,339

  • Cost Per Ton: $107

  • Diversion Expenses: $1,489,318

  • Diversion Tons: 20,756

  • Cost Per Ton: $72


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The Bottom Line

  • In 2005, diversion was $35 per ton cheaper than disposal.


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Key Factors

  • Pay-As-You-Throw rates encourage a high level of waste reduction and recycling.

  • As diversion increases, the cost per ton decreases.

  • Aggressive recycling and composting efforts pay big dividends.

  • Yard waste makes up two-thirds of all diversion tons – the low-hanging fruit.


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New Initiatives

  • Automation of recycling and single-stream, fully-commingled cart-based collection: 2009.

  • Automation of refuse collection: 2010.

  • New fleet and five-year replacement schedule in future.

  • Add new recyclables and compostables, when feasible: aseptic boxes, textiles, other plastics, food waste, etc.


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Summary

  • Plan for high levels of diversion.

  • Create incentives for residents to recycle: PAYT.

  • Make waste diversion and recycling convenient.

  • Provide drop-off options, especially for yard debris: These are cheaper per ton than curbside.

  • Understand costs and how they are allocated.

  • Waste diversion does make economic sense for Colorado.


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