Recycling. Economic facts and performance

Tags: Central Bucks, waste stream, communities, Massachusetts, Newspaper Recycling, Clear Glass, Pennsylvania, Target Collection, collection, Quincy Central Bucks, program TABLE, U.S., program results, DISPOSAL COSTS, collection data, Quincy, private contractor, metric tons, collection figures, The County, performance, municipal programs, municipal waste stream, municipal waste disposal, private cooperative, waste disposal, resource recovery facilities, solid waste management, waste disposal costs, waste collection, private contracts, household, Central Bucks County, Pennsylvania, private contract, private collection
Content: RECYCLING ECONOMIC FACTS AND PERFORMANCE JAMES J. BINDER AND PATRICK J. CALPIN Alternative Resources, Inc. Concord, Massachusetts
ABSTRACT As the recycling ethic takes hold at the state and municipal level, municipal officials and private con tractors are working together to formulate and imple ment recycling programs. The questions What is to be recycled? How should recyclables be separated and collected? Is intermediate processing beneficial? How can recyclables best be marketed? Should the public or private sector perfO!m the service? What are the true costs? are being addressed. Answers, however, are often different for large and small municipalities and regional versus individual municipal programs. While no one approach will be suitable for all appli cations, one can learn from the experiences of operating programs. The paper to be presented will describe two oper ating, recycling programs that are public and private cooperative efforts: one regional (11 communities in Buc s County, Pennsylvania); and one municipal (QUtncy, Massachusetts). InfoImation will be pre sented describing the recycling programs, economics, and performance. INTRODucnON Recycling has emerged as a preferred means to re duce waste disposal; however, debate continues as to
the quantity of waste that can be recycled, the viability of markets, and actual costs. In many states, and cur rently being proposed on the national level, are goals to reduce and recycle anywhere from 25% to 50% of the waste stream. Numerous states now mandate that recycling be integrated into municipal waste disposal plans. Connecticut has mandated that certain recycl able materials will not be acceptable for disposal at resource recovery facilities or landfills after January 1, 1991. Only one state (of which the author is aware), Vermont, sets a recycling goal with a provision for considering economics. VeImont is seeking to recycle 40% of its waste by the year 2000; however, if the cost of recycling exceeds the cost of alternative disposal by 10%, waste need not be recycled. Comprehensive data from operating recycling pro grams is now becoming available and it is possible to document participation rates, performance (tons re cycled), and program costs (revenues). This infor mation will be of value not only to municipalities establishing recycling programs, but also to policy makers setting recycling goals. The paper will present data for two operating programs: the first a curbside, newspaper program in Quincy, Massachusetts, and the second, a curbside program foR Newspaper, clear glass and aluminum for eleven communities in Bucks C::0unty, Pennsylvania. Topics included are a descrip tion of the programs, economics, and performance.
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DESCRIPTION OF RECYCLING PROGRAMS Quincy, Massachusetts The City of Quincy, located just south of Boston, has a population of approximately 90,000. It is a com bination of urban and suburban land uses. Municipal waste is collected weekly by the City under private contract from all residential buildings with four or fewer dwelling units, approximately 28,000 house holds. Waste is taken to a landfill in the southeastern part of the state. Massachusetts is a bottle bill state. In June of 1988, the city completed a feasibility study to assess the economic viability of reducing high waste disposal costs (on the order of $901 ton for transport and disposal) by implementing a recycling program. The feasibility study addressed recycling of newspaper, glass, plastic, aluminum, and metal as well as com posting of yard waste, i.e., leaves. The city elected to initially implement recycling of newspaper and the composting of leaves, since these materials represented the greatest volume of recycla bles in the waste stream, and hence, the greatest po tential of reducing waste disposal costs. In addition, newspaper is relatively easy for the homeowner to re cycle (bundle and tie or place in brown paper bags at curbside), represented a simple means to introduce people to recycling, and was the least expensive of the recycling options to implement. In the feasibility study it was estimated that with a mandatory program 10% of the municipal waste stream (400 tons, 3636 t) could be recovered as news paper and magazines. This was based on operating history from other newspaper recycling programs in Massachusetts. It represents a 75% participation rate coupled with recovery of 90% of the available news and magazines. The proposed recycling program pro vided for curbside pickup of news every two weeks. Continuing its practice of private waste collection, the city solicited private bids for collection of newsprint and for marketing the collected material. Bids were evaluated in January 1989 and a contractor selected in February. The program was officially announced by the city in March followed by an intensive public ed ucation in March and April. Curbside collection was initiated on May 1, 1989, under a voluntary program. The contractor uses a 15 cu yd packer truck for col lection. The contract between the city and the private con tractor is a fixed price, lump-sum contract for one year. It includes the cost of news collection, delivery and sale to a local broker. The newspaper is baled and shipped overseas to Italy where it is used to make tissue paper.
Central Bucks County, Pennsylvania In 1984-85 a group of eleven communities joined together in Central Bucks County, Pennsylvania, to develop a solid waste management plan. The combined population is approximately 80,00.0 The communities include both rural and suburban land uses with pop ulations ranging from less than 2000 to 10,000. There are approximately 20,000 households in the region. Pennsylvania is not a bottle bill state. Municipal waste is collected by private contract, predominantly with private contracts between collec tion companies and individual homeowners. As a re sult, some communities are served by several collection contractors. One community licenses only one private collector for collection of the entire municipality. All waste collected is landfilled; landfill disposal fees are approximately $55 per ton. This does not include the cost of collection or transport to the landfill. Home owners pay as much as $225 I household on an annual basis for waste collection, transport and disposal. The draft solid waste plan was completed in late 1986. It recommended curbside collection of news paper, glass, aluminum and metal. Collected materials were to be taken to a marshalling area for storage and direct sale to end users. In 1987 the County announced A Plan to initiate a recycling program by establishing satellite marshalling areas (minimal processing: alu minum beverage cans are briquetted, clear glass and newspaper are loaded loose without processing on larger transfer vehicles for shipment to market) that would transfer materials to an intermediate processing center. The County marshalling facility was to be op erated by a private contractor who also would be re sponsible for marketing the recyclables. The Central Bucks communities decided to participate in the County program, thereby taking advantage of the sat ellite marshalling yard that was to be established in the Central Bucks area. Negotiations between the com munities and the County were concluded in 1988. In termunicipal agreements were signed between the eleven communities with one community serving as the lead contracting party and administrator. Man datory recycling ordinances were passed in each com munity. Bids were solicited for private collection of newspaper, clear glass and aluminum (beverage con tainers) from each household, every two weeks. One private contractor collects recyclables from all eleven communities. A comprehensive public education pro gram was initiated in November of 1988. Pickup com menced on May 1, 1989. Each household was given two 5 gal containers, one for clear glass and one for aluminum. Newspaper is bundled (tied or bagged) and placed alongside the
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TABLE 1
TARGET PROGRAM ECONOMICS,'" QUINCY, MASSACHUSETIS (Newspaper Recycling)
COSTS Collection and marketing of recyclables (contract, fixed price)·· Public education Monitoring total cost per household per year Cost per household per month AVOIDED DISPOSAL COSTS (4,000 tons··· @ $91/ton) SAVINGS
$249,500
15,000
15,000
$279,500
$
9.98
$
.83
$364,000 $ 84,500
· ·· ***
Estimate based on one year program and target tonnages -for actual performance see Table 7. Figure of $249,500 includes a market cost of ($15/ton) for newspaper. Target is 4,000 tons U.S. (3,636 tons metric); break-even tonnage is 3,070 tons U.S. (2,791 tons metric).
containers. A matching state grant was obtained for purchase of collection vehicles (three pickup trucks and compartment-type Eager Beaver trailers), collec tion buckets, and public education programs. The col lection vehicles and trailers are leased to the private collection contractor. The contractor picks up the recyclables and delivers them to the County marshalling yard. The collection contract is a lump-sum, fixed price contract. It is a three year contract with price adjustments on an an nual basis. The communities share in the revenues resulting from sale of the recyclables by the County. Recyclable revenues are pegged to recognized indices. The quantities of recyclables targeted for recovery are as follows:
Aluminum Clear glass Newspaper
150 tons 950 tons 1500 tons 2600 tons
(136 t) (864 t) (1364 t) (2364 t)
These estimates are conservative, representing approx imately 8% of the waste stream.
TABLE 2 PROGRAM ECONOMICS,'" CENTRAL BUCKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA (Newspaper, Clear Glass, Aluminum) COSTS
Collection service (contract, fixed price)
$239,500
Collection vehicles (three 1-ton pickup trucks, three goose-neck trailers)
79,306
Collection buckets (45,000 5-gallon buckets)
80,550
Public education
25,000
Monitoring
15,000
Administration by lead agency
10,000
Total cost
$449,356
Cost per household per year
22.46
Cost per household per month
1.87
ESTIMATED REVENUES FROM SALE OF RECYCLABLES
Newspaper (1,500 tons u.S. @ $O.O/ton)
$
°
Clear glass (950 tons U.S. @ $29.60/ton)
28,120
Aluminum (150 tons u.S. @ $924.00/ton)
138,600
Total Revenue $166,720
AVOIDED DISPOSAL COSTS (2,600 tons U.S. @ $55/ton)
$143,000
NET COSTS (costs less revenues and avoided disposal costs)
$139,636
STATE GRANT
$229,276
SAVINGS
$ 89,640
*
Estimate based on one year program and targeted
tonnages - for actual performance see Table 8.
TABLE 3 COLLECTED TONNAGE, QUINCY AND CENTRAL BUCKS PROGRAMS (May I, 1989 - July 31, 1989)
Program
Newspaper
Clear Glass
Aluminum Beverage containers
Quincy Central Bucks
700 (636). 835 (759)
-250 (227)
-- 29 (26)
*() metric tons
PROGRAM ECONOMICS Tables 1 and 2 present a summary of program eco nomics for Quincy and Bucks County. The economics are based on a one year program and targeted tonnages. Tables 7 and 8, depict program economics based on perfoIluance data from the operating programs.
P ERFORMANCE At the point of preparation of this paper, three months of performance data were available from the Quincy and Central Bucks County programs. See Ta bles 3-8.
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Program
TABLE 4 COMPARISON OF COLLECTED TONNAGP TO TARGETED TONNAGE
Newspaper
Clear Glass
Aluminum Beverage Containers
Collection*
Target
Collection*
Target
Collection*
Quincy Central Bucks
2800 (2545)** 3340 (3036)
4000 (3636) 1500 (1364)
1000 (909)
950 (864) 116 (105)
150 (136)
*
Three-month collection figures projected to annual figures by multiplication by four.
**
) metric tons
TABLE 5 PARTICIPATION RATES (Percent)° May 1989 - July 1989
May
June
July
Average
Quincy
29
27
24
27
Central Bucks
46
52
51
50
number of households participating divided by total households served
TABLE 6 PROJECTED PERCENTAGE OF WASTE STREAM RECOVEREDo
Program
Newspaper
Clear Glass
Aluminum Beverage containers
Quincy Central Bucks
7% 8.H
2.5%
0.3%
These figures represent the percentage of the total waste stream recovered in the recycling programs. They are based on collection data for May-July 1989 multiplied by four; annual waste generated estimated at 40,000 tons (36,364 tons metric).
TABLE 7
PROGRAM ECONOMICSo, QUINCY, MASSACH USETTS (Newspaper Recycling)
COSTS Collection and marketing of recyclables (contract, fixed price) Public education Monitoring Total Cost per household per year Cost per household per month AVOIDED DISPOSAL COSTS (2,800 tons U.S. @ $91/ton) SAVINGS (Loss)
$249,500
15,000
15,000
$279,500
$
9.98
$
.83
$254,800 ($ 24,700)
*
Estimate based on results of three months of data
(May-July 1989) projected to a one year program
TABLE 8 PROGRAM ECONOMICSo, CENTRAL BUCKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA (Newspaper, Clear Glass, Aluminum)
COSTS
Collection service (contract, fixed price)
$239,500
Collection vehicles (three I-ton pickup trucks, three goose-neck trailers)
79,306
Collection buckets (45,000 5-gallon buckets)
80,550
Public education
25,000
Monitoring
15,000
Administration by lead agency
10,000
Total cost
$449,356
Cost per household per year
22.46
Cost per household per month
1.87
ESTIMATED REVENUES FROM SALE OF RECYCLABLES
@ Newspaper (3,196 tons U.S.
$O.O/ton)
(144 tons U.S. @ $1.16/ton)
$
167
Clear glass (1,000 tons U.S. @ $29.70/ton)
@ Aluminum (116 tons U.S.
$825.00/ton)
29,700 95,700
Total Revenue $125,567
AVOIDED DISPOSAL COSTS (4,456 tons U.S. @ $55/ton)
$245,080
NET COSTS (costs less revenues and avoided disposal costs)
$ 78,709
STATE GRANT
$229,276
SAVINGS
$150,567
*
Estimate based on results of data (May-July 1989)
projected to a one year program
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CONCLUSIONS The following conclusions can be drawn from the results to date: (a) Recycling can be implemented with significant reductions in the quantity of waste needing disposal. (b) Revenues from sale of recyclables in themselves do not offset the cost of a recycling program. Addi tional savings resulting from avoided disposal costs can result in waste disposal savings to a community. At current recovery rates in Central Bucks, this occurs when disposal costs are in the $60/ton range (not crediting state grant). At current recovery rates, a
disposal fee of $90/ton will be required for an eco nomic break-even in Quincy. (c) Improved participation will be required for the Quincy program for savings to occur. The same is true for the Central Bucks program if the state grant were not considered. (d) Public education is crucial to program success. The author will provide (at the conference) revised tables to this paper to reflect a full year of program results. Key Words: Economics; Market(s); Performance; Source Separation
121

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