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April 1, 1998
John H. Skinner
Today's intensely competitive solid waste marketplace is forcing solid waste collection and recycling operations to undergo dramatic changes.
Experience has shown that both private and public operations can succeed if they understand the market in which they operate and if they use the full range of tools available.
Recycling and collection system managers are learning to retain control of their destiny by building flexibility into their systems, not by becoming captive to any particular operational mode, and by using competition as a tool to improve operations.
In a number of recent competitions for residential solid waste collection and recycling services, local governments have learned that they can get lower bids by allowing municipal employees to engage in managed competition with private service companies.
While local governments can contract out some or all of their solid waste operations, they never can contract out their accountability to protect public health and the environment and to achieve waste reduction, recycling and diversion objectives. Privatization and municipalization are only the bookends in a range of options that include constructive and mutually beneficial public-private partnerships.
Competition works as well in the public sector as in the private sector, and municipal employees are beginning to show that they will compete for business and that they can win publicly-tendered service contracts. This broadens the competitive field and in the end, the customers will be the winners.
To hear about these and other collection innovations, mark your calendars for May 11-15 for a double-barrel program in Tempe, Ariz., at SWANA's 9th Annual Waste Reduction, Recycling and Composting Symposium and at SWANA's 2nd Annual Collection Symposium.
For the price of one admission, you can attend your choice of technical sessions from either symposium. The symposia are co-sponsored by SWANA's Arizona Chapter and World Wastes magazine. In addition, there is a workshop for local governments on making source reduction and reuse work in your community which is sponsored by the National Recycling Coalition's (NRC) Source Reduction Forum and the Southwest Recycling Association.
Featured speakers include: Will Ferretti, NRC's Executive Director, Chaz Miller, NSWMA's Manager of Recycling Services, and Bill Wolpin, World Wastes' Editor and Publisher.
Team up with SWANA in Tempe and stay on the cutting edge of developments in the solid waste reduction, recycling and collection field.
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