International environmental consultancy Eunomia Research & Consulting has developed a set of recommendations aimed at tackling the rising cost of illegal dumping across Sacramento, Calif., after cleanup costs have almost doubled in the last three years.
The new report, “Area Wide Illegal Dumping Analysis for City of Sacramento and County of Sacramento,” found illegal dumping had increased by 32 percent in the last three years despite a 40 percent increase in preventive bulky waste collection services in the area.
Sacramento County, the city of Sacramento and Sacramento Regional Solid Waste Authority appointed Eunomia to research the causes of and develop corresponding measures to combat the problem.
The research identifies a wide range of causes of increased illegal dumping, puts forward a package of recommendations designed to tackle the issue and highlights potential funding mechanisms for the proposed new initiatives.
Some of the key report recommendations are outlined below:
- A set customer standard based on a waiting time of maximum of two weeks for bulky collection.
- Two free bulky waste collections in the county (to match those offered in the city) and the addition of two e-waste collections—providing a uniform service across single-family properties, which make up 80 percent of Sacramento’s demographic.
- A multi-lingual education campaign including visual tags on carts.
- The expansion of the existing free dump coupon program to cover all areas.
- The introduction of neighborhood junk waste drop-off sites for peak times and locations throughout the year; for instance, university campuses at the end of each semester.
- The offer of free bulky services to multifamily properties.
- An area-wide citizen engagement, education and outreach partnership program that fosters pride of place in Sacramento.
Eunomia’s report highlights that although multiple agencies are clearing up illegally dumped waste in Sacramento, there is no single organization overseeing activities, existing fines are insufficient as deterrents and there are currently no formal regional awareness raising campaigns or education programs—meaning there is a cultural acceptance of illegal dumping. Eunomia also found that Sacramento’s existing spend on awareness raising campaigns was significantly less than budgets elsewhere—where Sacramento City allocates $40,000 to these activities, the city of Austin, Texas, allocates $70,000 to the cause and the city of Fort Worth, Texas, earmarks $90,000.
“There are long-term savings that can be made if this package of measures is implemented, but their success depends on increased coordination, a commitment from all stakeholders to support prevention methods as well as some market research and some monitoring and evaluation,” said Sarah Edwards, head of Eunomia’s New York office and one of the report authors, in a statement. “We have also identified potential funding streams Sacramento can tap into.”