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Articles from 1997 In July

international: Tax Aims To Reduce U.K. Landfill Dependence

Incentive for environmental stewardship in the United Kingdom has arrived in the shape of a new and untested form of environmental regulation - the landfill tax.

Currently, landfilling dominates the United Kingdom's municipal waste industry, accounting for more than 80 percent of all treatment and disposal. Within the next 15 years, though, the majority of active British landfill sites will be filled and used for agriculture or recreation.

The Landfill Tax was implemented in October 1996. The price? Land-fillers now must pay pound7 per ton for non-inert wastes (most household and municipal wastes) and pound2 per ton for inert wastes.

"The money raised by the landfill tax will allow for a further 0.2 to 10 percent matching cut in the main rate of employers' National Insur-ance contributions from April l997," says the Chancellor of the Exchequer. "This will cut employment costs by pound500 million and make it cheaper for businesses to create new jobs."

The Chancellor predicts that the new tax will raise around pound450 million in a year, plus VAT. Additionally, the government intends the tax to force companies and local authorities to improve their environment and cut costs through re-cycling, waste-to-energy, composting and source reduction programs.

For example, recovery and re-cycling of paper and board (which accounted for 8 percent of all the waste landfilled in England in 1994) could potentially save up to pound150 million on disposal and tax costs. Consequently, the new law allows disposers to reclaim up to 20 percent of their taxes - but only if the money is used for local environmental activities such as land restoration and remediation, education, research and/or building maintenance.

Critics of the tax suggest that council tax bills will rise or local government services (collection and disposal authorities, in particular) will be cut, since these agencies are among the largest landfillers in the United Kingdom. It has been predicted that in Ireland, waste will start to flow from Ulster to the Republic where the tax does not apply.

Optimists, on the other hand, see the tax as a significant step towards an ecologically sustainable society since it will generate new labor-intensive recycling schemes and numerous research projects.

Few doubt that the government's fiscal policy and instruments are increasingly being applied to influence behavior in resource management. But, where will the line be drawn? In Denmark, the landfill tax began at 40 kroner in 1987. Next year, it will soar to 285 kroner (pound31) - a 600 percent in-crease.

In the last four years, theBelgian tax has risen by more than 700 percent and now stands at pound50 per ton. If England follows this lead, the result could be a pound25 to pound30 tax by the year 2000, reaching pound50 to pound60 by 2002.

To meet government objectives, waste generators should re-examine their modus operandi and develop strategies to avoid landfilling. The most obvious reduction solution, of course, is to minimize the waste that is being created. However, this requires long-term strategic planning and large-scale reorganization with associated financial costs.

Another alternative is to re-use the materials before they enter the waste stream, though the challenge then becomes finding readily available ways of re-using existing materials. Recycling and other forms of recovery also are viable waste management strategies.

However, these options only will succeed if the necessary infrastructures can be implemented at minimal costs and if markets are available for the materials. The landfill tax will create a core price for legal disposal, which, if properly enforced and policed, will force generators and haulers to find their cheapest disposal outlet. Much then will depend upon how the industry reacts and how it decides to set and pass on these costs.

The problem now is that landfill alternatives simply are not available and that start-up and lead-in times are generally very long, and markets show no signs of even beginning to develop.

Current estimates indicate that approximately 1,400 businesses operating 2,700 sites still need to register with HM Customs and Excise for the tax.

L.A. Recycles: The Next Generation

Experience can be the best teacher, especially if the subject is solid waste. Schooled in refuse management for decades, the city of Los Angeles Solid Waste Division is facing its latest challenge: creating a new automated recycling collection program that will ultimately help decrease its budget.

Collection represents 50 percent of municipal solid waste (MSW) management budgets, according to a recent Solid Waste Association of North America (Silver Spring, Md.) report. Their study reviews several communities' experiences at upgrading their collection systems to incorporate semi- or fully-automated collections.

Los Angeles is the latest city to commit to this type of collection for recyclables. Beginning in late summer, the city will begin providing 90-gallon carts to 720,000 city households.

Based on the results of a recent three-month pilot study, officials at the city's Bureau of Sanitation selected a single-stream cart system to replace a yellow bin manual collection system, costing the city approximately $33 million in cart purchases.

While this system appears to meet the city's objectives of improving collection efficiencies, increasing tonnages, improving convenience to the customer and reducing scavenging, six area material recovery facilities (MRF) will bear the brunt of sorting and marketing.

Prior to the April 1996 kick-off of the Second Generation Recycling Pilot Pro-gram, the Bureau of Sanitation began measures to reduce their overall collection budget for refuse, yard trimmings and recyclables by 25 percent over four years.

These cost efficiencies are being generated from several areas and have totaled 20 percent throughout the 1997 to 1998 bud-get year, according to Drew Sones, the director in the city's Bur-eau of Sanitation:

* In conjunction with a joint labor/management team, a work standard was established for the automated collection of refuse and yard trimmings which has in-creased steadily as drivers and customers become more familiar with the automated collection system.

* Truck availability was increased from 85 percent needed each day to more than 100 percent.

* Pre-and post-trip inspections by drivers were standardized and re-pairs identified at the shift's end were completed at night, and trucks were ready to roll in the morning.

* Radios were approved for installation in each truck, improving coordination and helping to build a sense of teamwork among the drivers in each district.

* On-board computers were approved to help drivers understand their performance better and to identify areas for improvement.

* Process Action Teams (PATs) were formed in each of the six district yards so that drivers, supervisors and managers could meet regularly to discuss and plan for future efficiency improvements. These PATs are currently working on establishing self-directed teams that will ultimately manage their own work load and implement future efficiencies.

The change to the new blue cart system ultimately reduces the number of recycling routes from 134 to 100 which equals a 25 percent reduction in the current collection costs of the yellow bin recycling system.

A total of 15 routes - one for each council district - were chosen to test three collection methods (five routes per method). The selection criteria included:

* low yellow bin participation;

* medium yellow bin participation;

* high yellow bin participation;

* high density neighborhoods; and

* hillside terrain.

The three collection methods were:

* split 90-gallon cart - half for containers and half for paper;

* single-stream 90-gallon cart with all recyclables intermixed; and

* hybrid system 90-gallon cart with recyclables placed in a plastic bag and paper placed loose in the cart.

The split-cart system achieved the majority of the bureau's objectives, such as improving collection efficiencies, increasing tonnages, improving convenience to the customer, improving or maintaining revenue and re-ducing scavenging.

However, in spite of higher contamination, the single stream method was chosen by the city because that system collected more tonnage comparatively and the city could use its existing fleet of packers, which also can be used interchangeably for yard trimmings and refuse collection, says Daniel Hackney, project coordinator of the Second Generation Recycling Program. As for retrofitting the existing fleet, Hackney admits, "it doesn't seem viable."

The city placed a strong emphasis on a system which would discourage scavenging since it causes major revenue problems.

According to Hackney, a large cart with a lid and the commingling in the containers with the paper tends to make scavenging less attractive because it requires more time and energy to retrieve materials and is not as convenient as the yellow bin system where newspapers were neatly stacked.

During the tests, the city found that the hybrid system made scavenging easier since materials were pre- bagged inside the carts. After 12 weeks, these five routes were converted to a single stream.

Mark Miodovski, marketing manager for the bureau notes that "different areas of L.A. are like independent cities. North and South Cen-tral L.A. use buy-back centers for aluminum, therefore the program costs are higher since we lose this revenue." Despite these dynamics, he says, the single stream fared the best for the whole city.

The bureau also noticed that old corrugated cardboard (OCC) collection jumped. "We are seeing more OCC because it's convenient for customers to recycle now. Customers don't have to break down the boxes," Miodovski says. "Compaction rates differ from one side of the city to another. The rate is set depending on the area's recyclables' composition."

One sore subject among some residents was that some carts were being left in the street for the week following collection, says Hackney. Learning of this complaint through community meetings, he noted that a key component in the citywide public education program will be to remind customers of the requirement to remove the carts after collection. "We'll let customers know we are putting teeth into enforcement," he stresses.

Just A Second Cart For Trash? While the single-stream system is less work for the residents, it also allows the greatest potential for possible higher contamination levels. In the pilot, the city measured contamination at 10 percent or less among the split-cart and single-stream collection methods. Given these results, the city is not expecting a serious contamination problem.

"Our largest single-stream contaminants are plastic bags and styrofoam," says Hackney. "You would have thought you'd increase paper contamination, but we learned that it was negligible. The public education from the early days of recycling paid off, because materials were very clean. There were no full cans of soda; materials were rinsed."

However, it is entirely possible for liquid residue and glass shards to contaminate the paper stream. There are quality concerns with mixing glass and paper together, says Ed Hurley, manager of legislative affairs for Jefferson Smurfit Corp., Clayton, Mo.

When asked what types of problems can result from a single-stream program, Hurley says the hazards are plenty at the paper mill, referring to the paper pulping process. "It's like a whirring blender with shards of glass shooting out," he says.

Food waste is another concern, says Hurley. "Recovered paper that is going to be used to make food packaging by mills is very sensitive to any food residue," he says, using pizza boxes as an example.

Single-Stream Processing Hackney admits that not every contracted MRF is designed to deal with a single stream. "MRFs lobbied heavily for a split container," says Hackney. "But the increase in tonnage will pay for the drop in revenue."

Miodovski is confident that the single stream will be most cost-efficient way to recycle.

"The split-cart option was our preference," says Peter Moore, consultant for City Fibers, which owns and operates a MRF in L.A. He is anticipating that single-stream collection means that processors must find more ways to sort materials.

During the pilot program, City Fibers found processing time for single-stream materials to be 12 tph whereas previously, paper was 20 tph and commingled containers were 40 tph, says Moore. Labor costs also increased as it went from running six 12-hour days to 24 hours a day.

Moore understands the city's reasons for wanting to implement a system which would result in significant cost savings, efficiencies and lower workers compensation. The single-stream system allows them to use one truck for each collection (yard waste, trash and recyclables), he says.

What's Next? Following the purchase of the 90-gallon carts, the city will begin distribution in late summer. The system will take about 18 months to implement, according to Miodovski. The West Valley district will be the first homes to get their carts, he says.

To educate residents on the change, the city will embark on a massive publicity blitz using television and radio advertisements and community group presentations. Hackney says the citywide tonnage should be even higher than the pilot results, given that minimal information - a note taped to the new carts - was distributed to residents on the pilot routes.

Moore told city officials they'd have to start all over again with public education to keep out contamination and stressed the importance of training the collection crews to notify residents if they find trash in the recyclables' cart. "The front line guys are the safety net," he says.

The city also re-bid the MRF contracts and switched from yearly to three-year contracts. Plus, for the first time, a floor price was required. According to Miodovski, the board of public works instructed staff to reduce the city's financial risk by securing minimum floor prices in exchange for city concessions when revenue is higher. "The MRFs understand the risk," he says.

The new floor price will be between $5 to $10 per ton. A tiered revenue-sharing component of the contract was designed so that the city can realize some revenue as prices move upward, he adds. Market prices will be reviewed quarterly for adjustments, and MRFs will provide the city with monthly tonnage reports.

A comparison of the costs to recycle using the single-stream cart system versus the bin system in L.A. revealed that the bin averages $1.21 monthly cost per home, whereas the cart averages 7pound. (From the final report; revenue from 1996 was included in this calculation.)

For some residences that are not able to accommodate a 90-gallon cart, smaller carts will be available on a limited basis. People with special needs may get a 30-gallon cart, and apartment dwellers will use 60-gallon carts.

New trucks are a future option, however the city can handle the roll-out using the existing trash and yard waste collection trucks.

"If the tonnage increases, you can get to more households per route because trucks have more capacity, plus people won't set out a large cart as much, resulting in a reduction of routes and drivers," says Miodovski, who stressed that the city's immediate focus is on better and more convenient customer service rather than on addition of materials.

* Between September 1990 and April 1997, every household was added to a curbside collection for recyclables - a total of 720,000 households.

* Program uses a 16-gallon yellow bin for commingled containers, including plastic and glass bottles, metal cans. Paper is tied with string or set in brown paper bag and includes newspaper and household mixed papers, including paperboard, kraft bags, old telephone books, magazines, unwanted mail, home correspondence paper, and envelopes. Corrugated cardboard is set out separate from mixed papers.

* California law requires L.A. to divert 25 percent of its waste stream by 1995 and 50 percent by 2000.

* Existing curbside collection netted a recycling rate between 6 percent and 8 percent.

* L.A. also collects yard waste weekly using 60-gallon green carts. Trash is collected weekly using 60-gallon black carts.

High-Tech Siting

Hounded by legal and technical criteria, finding a suitable landfill site is becoming increasingly difficult. However, geographic information systems (GIS), which are de-signed to analyze and evaluate data based on geographic locations, have become the principal tool for wading through the myriad of concerns in siting a landfill of any size.

A GIS is a computerized system that integrates digital maps with a variety of databases for analysis. A complete GIS hardware and software system allows users to view, update, query, analyze, combine and manipulate data from a wide variety of sources to create new maps and tables.

While a sophisticated technology, GIS is a viable alternative for siting even small landfills, as one New York community learned. Having decided to build a new landfill, Eagle, N.Y., a small town approximately 40 miles southwest of Rochester invited several large waste management companies to explore the feasibility of building and operating the facility.

GIS was used by New York, N.Y.-based TAMS Consultants to select suitable sites by ranking technical criteria and analyzing legal and administrative information.

First, all of the study's data was digitized for GIS use. A 1:2400 scale was selected as the accuracy level because many of the sources for the project were mapped at that scale and no sources were mapped at a less accurate scale.

Primary Stage The legal/administrative criteria included:

* primary water supply and principal aquifers;

* public water supply wellhead areas;

* state- and federally-regulated wet-lands;

* endangered species locations, and/or critical habitat; and

* floodplains, airport locations and parks.

Aquifers and public water supply wellhead areas were mapped from state or municipal sources. State wetlands were digitized from the New York State Department of Environ-mental Conservation (NYSDEC) wetland maps while the federal wetlands were digitized from National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) maps. The town tax parcel maps also were digitized, and parks were identified.

Floodplains were noted using the Federal Emergency Management Agency flood hazard area maps. All of these categories were eliminated from consideration.

Airports within three miles of the town were mapped using Federal Aviation Authority navigational charts. The state requires a buffer between landfills and airport runways to prevent birds from becoming hazards to aircraft. No buffers overlapped the town, eliminating airport safety as a consideration.

A terrestrial biologist reviewed the endangered species and critical habitats within the town and then made a windshield survey to verify the findings. All habitats of endangered species were mapped. Since biological species are not fixed in specific locations and because the habitats were generally small, these locations were not used to eliminate sites. Instead, they became part of the ranking system in the secondary stage.

Finally, using a map of all elimination criteria, overlain with tax parcels, nine potential sites within four parcels were identified.

Secondary Stage The technical criteria included legal issues, slope, soil type and thickness, groundwater depth, proximity to seismic faults and geologic stability or monitorability. However, the feasibility study also had to consider access to both rail and truck transportation as well as land use compatibility. In addition, each site was mapped by an ecologist for existing wetlands not on NYSDEC or NWI maps.

The nine sites then were ranked on each of the criteria.

Slopes for each of the sites were mapped according to U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) contour information. One site measured a 5 to 10 percent average slope, while all others fell between 5 to 15 percent.

The Soil Conservation Service soils map was digitized, and each site was ranked based on the predominant soil characteristics. Rankings ranged from soils high in pervious sands and gravels to those with deep clays, fine tills, and sands and gravels. Five sites scored a top rating.

Soil thickness was considered along with geology, based upon geologic maps, with sites ranked according to stability and depth to bedrock. The lowest ranking was for unmonitorable or unstable land areas, while the highest was for depth to bedrock greater than 50 feet. One site had shallow bedrock (less than 10 feet); the others ranged from 10 to 50 feet.

Proximity to faults also was taken into account. Buffers of 200 feet, a half-mile and one mile were generated in the GIS for faults.

The sites surveyed fell into all three rankings. Five classes of depth to groundwater also were developed, based upon geologic maps and well data. All sites fell into ranges from 10 to 35 feet and from 35 to 50 feet.

Proximity to transportation was determined based on USGS topographic maps and identifies road class and railroad locations. Of the nine sites, five had direct access to rail on the property. Truck access was based on proximity to state highways and on the degree of new road construction that would be needed.

Five sites offered direct access to a state highway, with the remaining sites requiring use or rebuilding of town or country roads for distances greater than three miles.

Only one of the sites had wetlands within the landfill itself; one other required building the access road through the wetlands. The other seven had substantial buffer areas around the landfill cell in wetlands, but no construction would take place in the wetlands. All sites contained wetlands.

Finally, compatibility with nearby land uses was ranked. Sensitive receptors, such as schools and hospitals, were mapped, but none was adjacent to the sites. All sites were isolated; however, all but two had high visibility.

After comparing the data and ranking all nine sites, one was chosen.

In this case, using GIS proved to be efficient and cost effective. Even though hard copy maps for most of the data were available, they existed in several different scales which would have made it difficult to compare.

Further, because the town was small, it didn't take much time to digitize the maps and prepare the database.

Properly applied, GIS allows for flexibility in measuring a myriad of factors and permits each site to be ranked accurately and objectively.

Waste Expo '97:Cool Time In Hotlanta

After Atlanta rose from the ashes of General Sher-man's attack during the Civil War, it acquired a proud analogy to the phoenix. More than a century later, the Centennial Olympics again forever altered Atlanta's identity, globalizing it to the stature of "Olympic City."

And now, less than a year later, Atlanta can add another moniker to its history: "Garbage Central."

OK, well maybe WasteExpo did not leave as big an impression on Atlanta as the War Between The States or an Olympics that was "most exceptional," but to those in the waste industry who attended, the WasteExpo event was a resounding success.

The five-day show, held from May 19 to 23, boasted educational sessions, facility tours, workshops, a three-day exposition and, of course, parties.

Exhibitors made a strong showing as 560 companies gobbled 226,990 square feet of space out of the Georgia World Congress Center, nestled adjacent to Centennial Olympic Park and the CNN Center.

The industry's largest trade show was a bit smaller in attendance this year, as an approximate 12,425 registered attendees trafficked through the center's doors - down from the 13,300 attendees seen at 1996's Las Vegas show. Of attendees, 9,636 people were verified as "registered buyers," according to WasteExpo coordinator, Jacqueline Wolfe of the Environmental Industries Association (EIA), Washington, D.C.

"While our attendance was down from what it was in Vegas, the exhibitors told me that the people they saw were buyers," Wolfe says. "You can have the numbers, but they all might be tire-kickers. The attendee quality is more important than the quantity."

Most exhibitors, such as Michael Ellinger, president of Ptarmigan Machinery Co., San Antonio, agree. "The percentage of executives and potential 'check writers' was up [this year], although the attendance was smaller than the previous two years."

While he admits that the "majority of visitors were browsing," he realizes that these attendees were "the people who will make the decisions when the time comes to buy."

Wayne Zwolinski of SuperSource Inc., Phoenix, which sells integrated software systems, expected the brow-sers. "Of course, the vast majority [of attendees] are going to be walk-bys who say, 'Hey, I'm interested, send my secretary some information, here's my card so you can send me some stuff and let me have that letter opener. That's par for the course," he says.

"But the people who are interested enough to stop in and take time to look at our computer program are those who will buy," he explained. "There were enough of those types of attendees to keep us busy."

Donovan Enterprises' (Stuart, Fla.) April Ashenbeck reports more traffic at WasteExpo '97 than at any other show. "This was absolutely the best waste show and truck show Donovan had ever participated in. We sold nine systems - we never sold a system before at a show. The products just flew."

At the Rehrig Pacific Co. (Los Angeles) booth, William Bloch entertained his share of quality traffic. "As expected, this was a very well-planned event," he says. "We had the serious buyers and were quite satisfied."

However, Lyn-da Kaperonis of Lindemann Re-cycling Equip-ment, Charlotte, N.C., states that although she saw "several good pro-spects who were prepared to buy," most attendees at her booth were "not key decision-makers."

Although she was satisfied over-all with the attendance, she re-ports being "disappointed with the lack of in-depth interest at the booth."

"If you walked around, it just seemed empty," agrees Judy Mathews of Caterpillar Inc., Peoria, Ill. "It was a quiet show. When attendance was down in Las Vegas, I chalked it up to the good weather and the casinos. People would stay for an hour, get their tickets punched just to say that they were there. I thought Atlanta would be good, but it needed more pizzazz and more things go-ing on in the ex-hibit hall."

Kaperonis be-lieves that events such as cocktail hours and continental breakfasts might have helped draw and keep attendees on the exhibit floor.

However, browsing, wandering and mingling is the meat of most trade shows for attendees who are curious about industry innovations. From the spanning windows in the atrium above the exhibit hall, pockets of crowds could be seen rippling down the rows. At most booths, it was either feast or famine, as the attendee volume climaxed on Wednesday and dwindled to stragglers by Thursday morning.

Hits And Misses Browsing was profitable for James O. Daley, senior planner for Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corp., Johnston, R.I., who was able to find "solid leads" for his company. However, he adds, "I wish either Waste Management, Heil or Kann had brought a front load co-collection vehicle to Atlanta."

Norman Wood, business development director for Waste Industries Inc., Raleigh, N.C., says he was pleased with the overall exhibitor number and the enthusiasm of attendees, but notes a lack of "revolutionary new technology" displayed at the booths.

Software companies were a draw for technologically-minded attendees, such as Russell Adkison, logistics coordinator for Waste Management Inc.'s Opelika, Ala., location, who reports "quite a bit of success" from his hours of wandering the floor. "I was looking for some routing software programs, wondering what was out on the market. I was impressed with what I saw."

There were a few surprises in the hall as well, attendees say. For example, Charlie Sedlock, division manager for Hamm Co., Perry, Kan., did not expect to see the number of new landfill processing systems for leachate, and Rhode Island's Daley notes a steady increase "since 1994 in the number of exhibitors and sessions on composting techniques and technology."

Overall, attendees were pleased with EIA's selection of Atlanta and the Georgia World Congress Center for 1997's show.

The center nicely contained all exhibitors, although it was a long haul from booth 815 to 5654. Christina Harris of Marathon Equip-ment Co., Vernon, Ala., praises the convention center's "large aisles, exhibitor services and easy move-in."

"Having a medical waste pavilion was a great idea," adds Mark Taitz, director of business development for Sanitec Inc., West Caldwell, N.J. "It was a good gathering place for attendees with that specific interest. The pavilion idea could carry over to other industries as well."

Many other attendees echo this sentiment. "The show area was too big," says Frank Lederer of Integrated Waste Technology, Jacksonville, Fla. "It should be sub-divided into specific areas. Better grouping of product lines would help."

Kaperonis says that she would like "to see an area separated out for trucks and vehicles that would be starting their engines on the exhibit floor."

Troublesome issues such as accessibility and the $6-a-day parking fees kept the center from scoring high marks with attendees. "Exhibitors should not have to pay for parking at the show," Bloch says.

Ellinger's overall reactions on this year's location are mixed. "The conference center rated an 'A.' Atlanta in general rated only a 'C+,' because the quality of the downtown area is really spotty," he says, adding that he rated the Omni Hotel a "solid F" because it was "grossly understaffed and way over-priced for what it can deliver."

However, "Southern hospitality does exist," says Daley. "Atlanta, and especially Buckhead, was interesting, educational and entertaining. The weather was fine and there were plenty of great restaurants. The CNN Center was right next to the show, and I recommend a tour."

Southern Exposures As the hub of the Southeast, the Atlanta location drew more attendees from this region as West Coast attendance slipped. "We had more than 500 people from California, but that's not as much as we had before," Wolfe reports.

While WasteExpo was only a short hop across Peachtree Street for some attendees, others were still rubbing their eyes on opening day after having crossed the international dateline. According to Wolfe, 1,254 attendees representing 75 countries registered - down from last year's approximate 1,500 foreigners.

"I was impressed by the international participation on my tour of the Athens-Clark County materials recovery facility tour on Friday," says Daley.

"On the bus ride and during the tour, I made contacts with people from Australia, Japan, the Philip-pines, India, France and Thailand," he continues. "I definitely learned that other countries consider the United States to be the leader in solid waste management and are eager to learn from us."

WasteExpo provided an excellent showcase of At-lanta success stories which were highlighted by Fri-day's eight facility tours.

In addition to the Athens-Clark County tour, attendees visited Waste Tire Management's Lawrenceville facility, United Waste Service's Atlanta hauling/transfer station, USA Waste Services' Pine Bluff Landfill and Smyr-na hauling/transfer station and Waste Mangement's Live Oak Landfill and driver/mechanic training center.

The Cobb/Bedminster Co-Com-posting facility tour went off without a hitch, despite recent hardships. Still under construction from two 1996 fires that gutted the 250,000-square-foot facility just northwest of the city, it was prepared for visitors although it is not expected to reopen until later this year.

"We were hoping for a big group, but we only had 20 people on the WasteExpo bus," reports Bedmin-ster's tour guide, Laurie Bonds.

A group of 10 non-attendees who arrived for a separate tour were combined with WasteExpoers and then divided into two groups. "We brought half of them into our sales office and showed a video of how the technology works and answered questions, while the others walked through the facility. And then, we swapped the groups.

"Everything went really well," she continues. "We had a lot of foreigners, but that was expected because we have a huge international interest."

Pulling off the tour required some creativity, though, according to Bonds, who says that when Bedmin-ster made the tour arrangements, there had been only the August 1996 fire.

The subsequent fire, which blazed on Christmas eve, destroyed many integral parts of the facility. For example, Bonds says that the conveyor systems were burned and the tip floor in the main building still is missing the roof. "They had to use their imagination in the room, and I hated that," she says.

Learning Each Day What is a conference without sessions and interactive workshops? From ethics and legislation to management and technology, WasteExpo had the issues covered.

"On average, we ran about three different time slots and had roughly 300 attendees per time slot," says Wolfe, who notes that on Tuesday, session attendance shot up to an average of 570 people at each of the two session times.

After a year spent on each coast, WasteExpo returns to Chicago in 1998. "Chicago will be a good draw. You have all your Fortune 500 companies within a 500-mile radius," says Wolfe, who encourages attendees to register early.

Due to its central location, the Windy City is expected to lift Waste-Expo attendance back to previous attendance heights.

MSW Manager: The Art Of The Practical

In the play/movie "Evita," we hear a recurring theme that "politics is the art of the possible."

In solid waste management, operations are the art of the practical as well as the possible.

The scope, methodology and equipment have to be matched with the community's temper and economy - especially in the field of recyclables collection.

While goals can be set by state commissions and recycling gurus, the program design must be left to the community.

Community resources and participation determine what kind of program will be affordable and acceptable.

This does not mean that governments will decide to ignore the goal set by the state or any other legitimate agency. Rather, it means that the technology involved, and the emphasis on who is to be responsible, may be driven more sensibly by the community and its solid waste professionals.

A good recycling program is one where the maximum participation is married with the least operational cost. The object is not to maximize the purity of the material set out at the curb or to make life as easy and profitable as possible for the materials recovery facility.

Rather, we should strive to maximize the percentage of solid waste being recycled in the least burdensome manner for the residents. Considering the direct correlation between the degree of difficulty required for the residents to meet the program's requirements and participation levels, money invested in public education can be the best ever spent.

Currently, three basic collection methods are used in recycling programs:

* In the first method, every house hold is issued several, small plastic boxes for various types of recyclables. These are collected by a compartmented vehicle from the curb on trash collection day.

* The second type uses a 30- to 90-gallon container split vertically where either all recyclables are on one side and refuse on the other, or where paper is on one side and all other recyclables are on the other.

* In the third type, all recyclables are commingled in undivided, 30- to 90-gallon containers and collected using flippers or an automated arm.

Each method varies in the purity and amount of materials collected, the scavenging encouraged and the economics.

If you haven't been recycling at all, the first step is determine the markets for your recyclables. Don't look for the highest price, but rather at what commodities can be sold and in what form they are acceptable.

Next, calculate the cost to collect it and find out the condition it has to be in to guarantee marketability. Also, determine the level of community support you can expect - how much are they willing to do to ensure the maximum amount of salable material.

This will define the art of the possible for your community.

The rest is pure economics. Use your present fleet, workforce and containers as much as possible. Whatever combination gives you the most bang for the buck and ultimately is supported by your community will be the best system.

Transfer Station Rehab

Transfer stations across the country are getting an overhaul, and the changes are more than cosmetic. In fact, they are fundamental design changes to accommodate the latest round of solid waste recycling and transportation demands.

The goal of rehabilitating a transfer station is to create a blend of efficient traffic circulation, recovering recyclables and finally, transferring waste.

This theory is being translated into reality at the municipally-owned transfer station in Portland, Ore. Metro South, which began operations in 1981, originally consisted of a 30,000-square-foot structure (150-feet x 200-feet) with a 40-feet wide by 12-feet deep surge pit running the building's full width.

It was designed to receive and transfer 400 to 500 tons per day (tpd) on average, with peak tonnages up to 700 tpd. Currently, Metro South serves both commercial haulers and the general public.

* Commercial packer trucks and dropbox vehicles are weighed on the in-bound scale and enter the building at the south end where they unload the waste into the surge pit. The vehicles leave after going through the truck wash (if necessary) and over the exit scales.

* After being weighed on the inbound scale, the general public proceeds to the station and unloads. Their vehicles then are weighed on exiting the facility, and the appropriate fee is charged. This process adds substantially to the problem of vehicles lining up at the exit scale.

Prior to the late 1980s, the transfer trailers were top-loaded directly from a track-mounted dozer in the surge pit. A tunnel was located at the surge pit's west end for the transfer trailer to maneuver into loading position.

The station has undergone two major modifications. First, in the late 1980s after its local landfill closed, Metro installed compactors to condense its waste, which its transferred to a landfill 150 miles east.

The traffic patterns and unloading operations for commercial trucks and general public vehicles remained the same. However, transfer trailer traffic and loading operations were revised:

* The new compactors were installed at the low end of a ramp at the building's east end. The compactors now are top loaded by the same track-mounted dozers which originally loaded the trailers. The loaded trailers are weighed at the top of the ramp.

* Transfer trailers enter at a new entrance east of the main building, travel down the ramp and then reverse up to the compactors for loading.

* A large area was developed at the east end for trailer parking.

The second major change to Metro South was in 1991 with the addition of a 4,000-square-foot household hazardous waste (HHW) facility. This operation is located in the lower elevation area, where the transfer trailers were formerly loaded.

Proposed Modifications Metro South experienced a couple of major problems last year due to an efficient solid waste collection program, an aggressive statewide recycling goal and a lack of other transfer stations in the greater Portland area:

* Waste volumes exceeded an average of 1,000 tpd with peaks up to 2,000 tpd. The facility was designed for 400 tpd average and 700 tpd peak.

* More than 200 commercial trucks and 300 public vehicles used the facility daily with public vehicles exceeding 600 on the weekend. The facility was designed for a daily average of 80 commercial and 200 public vehicles.

* Significant traffic congestion and queuing problems occurred both before the scales and from the scales to the building. Queuing problems also occurred regularly at the exit scale.

* Due to the pit operations and the limited space in the commercial and public unloading areas, limited capability existed to recover recyclable materials.

* Severe flooding resulted in major damage to the HHW facility in February.

After reviewing the options to improve traffic circulation, reduce vehicle congestion and increase the ability to recover recyclable materials, Metro created a plan, which included:

* Widening the entrance roadway by another lane for a total of three, one exit lane and two in-bound lanes. This allows one for commercial and a second for public vehicles, from the site entrance to the in-bound scales.

* The HHW building would relocate to an area east of the transfer building. This new building will have additional space for storage and room for proper identification. Its location also is high enough to eliminate the chance of flooding.

In its place will be a public drop off area for recyclables. And since both groups will now bypass the in-bound scales, traffic will be reduced.

* When the HHW is relocated, it will be necessary for all vehicles going directly to the HHW facility to stop at the inbound scale.

* When the public unloading area is relocated, all public vehicles will still need to stop at the inbound scales for weighing prior to proceeding to the unload area.

Recycling Modifications Removal of the public from unloading in the main transfer building results in the ability to unload nearly twice as many commercial vehicle loads simultaneously into the surge pit. This reduces the traffic congestion generated by the increased waste volumes.

But, even more importantly, it creates space where "rich" commercial loads, or loads containing a high percentage of recyclable materials, can be unloaded onto the tipping floor and these recyclables removed from the waste stream. Metro can segregate the commercial vehicles onto different sides of the surge pit, depending upon their waste composition.

Another proposed modification was to install a sorting line where "rich" commercial loads can be placed. This sorting line is more efficient than on-floor sorting and will maximize the recyclable materials which can be recovered. The recyclable materials sorted from the line are dropped into the drop boxes located at the old public recyclables unloading area.

Rehabilitation of a transfer station requires a program of data collection, operator involvement, management goals and a plan detailing options and implementation. The final operations must meet the owner's specific re-quirements while being flexible for the future.

Refuse Processed: 700 tons per day (tpd) capacity, 1,400 tons per day average transferred each weekday

Compactors: Amfab TP 500 (100 tons per hour) and Shredding Systems Inc. (100 tons per hour)

Waste Sources And Percentages: 1,100 tpd residential packer trucks, 160 tpd commercial packer and drop box loads and 140 tpd private haulers. There is no construction and demolition debris or curbside collected recyclables at the station.

Service Area: Approximately one-half of greater Portland, Ore., area. 400,000 to 500,000 in population

Local Tipping Fees: $75 per ton. There are no all-purpose landfills in the local area.

Factoid: 60 percent of the traffic is private haulers, representing only 10 percent of the waste volume.

Governments Winning: The Bidding War

As a city or county manager, you are concerned about the escalating costs of your solid waste collection operation, your ability to comply with new recycling regulations and the need to upgrade collection vehicles.

To add to your stress, you receive numerous calls from elected officials, urging you to privatize.

You concede to explore this option, and soon a proposal is placed on your desk, submitted in response to your staff's request for proposal (RFP). It presents an innovative approach to providing contractual collection services with these provisions:

* a multi-year contract with a guaranteed annual fee;

* the purchase of new collection vehicles, to be included in the annual fee;

* commitments to meet performance and regulatory requirements established in the RFP; and

* performance incentives, including a gain-sharing program, provided for collection staff.

The proposed annual fee, as well as the terms and conditions of the offering, are attractive and will save your community millions of dollars over the contract term.

Based on an independent review by outside consultants, this proposal is deemed to be the most cost-effective submission among offerings from some of the largest private solid waste firms in the world. To your surprise and delight, the winning proposal was submitted by your own solid waste collection division.

This scenario is becoming more common as governmental agencies use "managed competition" to procure solid waste services.

The managed competition approach presents a new business method whereby public agencies are allowed to develop competitive "bids" to provide solid waste collection, processing or disposal services.

Charlotte, N.C.'s Successful Bid The Charlotte (N.C.) Solid Waste Services Department (SWSD) has a history of providing the city with excellent refuse collection. In 1990, the department implemented a citywide curbside recycling program, which has been recognized as one of the most successful in the country.

SWSD's most noticeable change transpired in July 1994 when it switched from twice-per-week backyard collection to once-per-week automated collection.

From 1990 to 1997, the collection division streamlined its workforce from more than 345 employees to 156 employees a transition that has improved efficiency and increased customer satisfaction.

In January 1997, the city of Charlotte issued an RFP to provide collection services to 31,871 residential units - or one-fourth of the city's collection area. It solicited regularly-scheduled, once-per-week refuse, yard waste and recycling collection services on the same day from the curb (or other designated collection area) and transportation to city-designated disposal sites.

The city also required the winning contractor to provide bulky waste collection on an as-needed basis, with one-week notification. The contract term was five years, with two one-year renewable terms at the city's option.

On February 24, 1997, the SWSD, through a separate accounting division called "SWS-Contract Collections" (SWS-ConCol), submitted a proposal to provide the requested collection services under the terms and conditions stated in the RFP, for a five-year period. The city also received bids from four private companies.

An initial review of the bid prices indicated that the SWS-ConCol proposal was the lowest cost bid, with a proposed annual fee that was $1.1 million lower than the nearest competitor. (At presstime, the Charlotte collection bids were still under evaluation. More information will be provided in a later article in this series.)

HDR Engineering Inc., Omaha, Neb., which helped SWSD with the bid, dubbed this approach "public contract operations" (PCO).

The ABCs Of PCOs PCOs involve the delivery of services by a public agency to a city or county government through the development and execution of a public "contract," which is actually a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the local government and the public agency.

The MOU contains all of the terms and conditions that the local government would include in a service contract with a private company. In the SWS-ConCol case, it will be similar to the agreement included by the city in the RFP.

To respond to the RFP and provide the requested services, the SWSD formed SWS-ConCol, which served as a separate operating and accounting structure.

As illustrated in the SWSD case, service delivery through PCOs enables communities to receive the best elements of the private-sector and public-sector approaches. PCOs meld the performance incentives and automation investments of the private sector with the public sector's goals and policies:

* Private-sector performance incentives and automation investments. The SWS-ConCol staff will have many of the same performance incentives used by a private contractor. The SWS-ConCol collectors will share directly in cost savings, which will be allocated quarterly.

The operators will be cross-trained to perform all tasks related to the four collection services and will be empowered to make on-the-spot decisions to enhance performance and minimize operational costs. Additionally, they will be provided with state-of-the-art collection vehicles which will be financed out of the annual contract fee.

* Public sector policies and service objectives. PCOs allow public policies and service objectives to guide the overall provision of collection services. Employees continue as public sector workers, and savings are reinvested in the community.

Who's Affected? How will PCOs affect the community? For example:

* The employees. Most local government employees have few performance incentives to reduce costs. The PCO approach encourages them to participate in the benefits and risks associated with efficient operations.

* The collection services manager. Under the PCO approach, the collection services manager has the authority and responsibility to op- erate the service contract as a "profit center." The manager knows, in advance, what his or her annual budget will be and is secure that it cannot be chang-ed. He or she also has, in writing, the expected performance parameters.

The manager has the authority to use a portion of the costs savings (proposed annual fee minus actual annual costs) to reinvest in the collection services for efficiency improvements.

* The solid waste agency or utility. Under the PCO approach, the agency is no longer at the mercy of arbitrary budget cuts made by newly-elected officials. The agency can point to an MOU which defines not only the service level agreed to by the PCO, but also commits the local government to provide an annual fee for the services.

* The taxpayer. As a customer, the taxpayer receives the benefits of service from a long-standing public agency as well as significant cost savings achieved through managed competition.

* The elected official. PCOs provide an alternative for elected officials under political pressure to privatize operations. Elected officials can retain public sector control while achieving the benefits of using private firms.

The proposal prepared and submitted by SWS-ConCol met or exceeded all the requirements established by Charlotte for contract collections. In this case, the "public contractor" won.

This victory not only will result in collection equipment improvements and cost savings for this quarter, but may help usher in a new era of redefined and improved service using PCOs.

Don't Get Stuck On Medical Waste

Q: What has a bunch of arms, a bunch of legs and weighs more than a billion pounds?

A: The medical waste generated every year by the country's health care providers.

And this is just the "regulated" medical waste (RMW) that, with some minor exceptions, gets treated before it goes into a landfill or waste-to-energy plant. Of the 160 million tons of solid waste generated nationally each year, three million are classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Washington, D.C. as "other," according to its 1995 Waste Characterization Report.

Think about this: If just one-half of one percent of that three million tons is medical waste, the country's solid waste industry would be dealing with more than 30 million pounds of infectious waste annually in the municipal solid waste (MSW) stream.

Yes, treatment and disposal of these wastes are expensive and can threaten your employees' health. However, medical waste should be viewed as more than just a pain in the neck. By analyzing how industry trends affect your customer base, you can capitalize on the opportunities it presents.

First, you must know what RMWs are. Unfortunately, you will discover that the definitions are varied, and the answer you receive depends on the organization you ask and on the state where you operate. For example, EPA defines RMW only as it pertains to treatment, specifically through incineration, and not as it applies to identification, segregation, transportation, handling or storage.

However, this was not the case in 1988, when Congress enacted the Medical Waste Tracking Act (MWTA), which defined medical wastes as:

* cultures and stocks of infectious agents;

* human blood and blood products;

* human pathological wastes, including those from surgery and autopsy;

* contaminated animal carcasses from medical research;

* wastes from patients isolated with highly communicable diseases; and

* all used sharps, such as needles and scalpels, and certain unused ones.

The act also specified the procedures for handling, packaging, labeling, transporting and manifesting. However, the MWTA was only a two-year demonstration program which expired in 1991. Currently, EPA is considering defining medical waste only as it relates to pending medical waste incinerator regulations, re-quired by the Clean Air Act of 1990, and due to be finalized this July.

In comments on the proposed rules, EPA noted its inclination to adopt New York State's definition which includes all of the categories mentioned previously with the exception of isolation waste.

Another government agency, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Washington, D.C., in its Hazardous Materials (HM) 181 rule, de-fines RMW as a waste or reusable material which contains an infectious substance and is generated in:

* the diagnosis, treatment or immunization of humans or animals;

* research pertaining to the diagnosis, treatment or immunization of hu-mans or animals; or

* the production or testing of biological products.

This rule gives guidance to medical waste transporters on how to package, label, mark and manifest waste as well as how to train personnel.

If you ask the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Washington D.C., it would refer you to its Bloodborne Pathogen Rule which uses a category-based definition and recommends that all human blood and certain body fluids be treated "as if known to be infectious for HIV, HBV and other bloodborne pathogens."

It also requires that employers whose employees may be exposed to bloodborne pathogens in their normal activities have a formal exposure control plan in place, which includes:

* providing information and training upon initial employee assignment to tasks where occupational exposure may occur and continue annual training;

* providing personal protective equipment, handwashing facilities, engineering and work practice controls; and

* offering hazard communication.

To complicate matters, at least 47 states have enacted medical waste regulations, each with slightly different definitions, transportation requirements and acceptable treatment methods. In fact, except where the DOT is involved, states determine all issues related to medical waste definition, transport and treatment.

Health And Environmental Issues Almost 700,000 RMW generators exist in the nation, including hospitals, labs, physicians and dentists. Although representing only about 1 percent of the generators, hospitals are estimated to produce up to 90 percent of the RMW.

The disease-causing potential of this type of waste is the principal concern. Those at greatest risk are healthcare providers, housekeeping staff, law enforcement professionals, solid waste workers and MSW/medical waste transport, treatment and disposal facility employees.

Despite highly-publicized incidents involving improper medical waste disposal in the '80s, there were few documented exposures of individuals. Rather, these events' closed beaches along the East Coast which raised public awareness and resulted in local, state and federal legislation.

These, in turn spurred laws and guidelines to direct healthcare providers to handle their medical wastes in a manner that would protect their employees, sanitation workers and the public from exposure. For example, items such as pathological waste, cultures and stocks of etiologic agents, blood/body fluids, sharps and contaminated animal wastes must be disposed of with special handling, packaging, treatment and manifesting.

It is ironic that medical waste isn't a significant environmental threat except from the impacts that might result from its disinfection - such as air emissions from medical waste incinerators.

Handling Medical Wastes Several years ago, a hospital epidemiology publication noted that household waste bacterial counts were considerably higher than those found in hospital wastes.

Workers who encounter medical waste should know that many combined factors contribute to disease transmission from the waste to the handler. Specifically, a viable, disease-causing organism of sufficient strength, quantity and virulence must be present, along with a means of release and a place to enter, such as through breathing, or punctured or broken skin.

Unless all of these factors are present, no disease can be transmitted. Training in proper handling techniques should be provided if workers are normally exposed to such hazards (see "What To Do In A Medical Emer-gency on page 50").

Business Opportunities Medical waste collection, transport and treatment/disposal currently is a $1 billion industry, with a 3 percent anticipated annual growth rate, ac-cording to a recent study.

The report also states that 43.3 percent of medical waste was treated on-site in 1996 - a figure it predicted would decline to 33 percent over the next five years. Simultaneously, incineration - now estimated to be treating 65 percent of medical waste - is predicted to decline by 25 percent, losing market share to autoclave, microwave and other alternatives.

At the beginning of 1996, there were are approximately 1,000 li-censed medical waste transporters operating nationwide. Of these, 180 hauled more than 50 percent of the waste that is sent off-site for treatment. However, the medical waste industry is consolidating.

There are 115 regional treatment centers that use incineration, autoclaving or microwaving technologies for treating RMW. Pricing for service has decreased dramatically since the mid-'80s, when a dollar-per-pound and above was common.

Now, pricing has leveled off at 18cents to 25cents per pound for large-quantity generators; 25cents and 40cents per pound for medium-quantity generators, and 50cents to $1 per pound for small-quantity generators with prices varying depending on region and competition.

Although volumes will increase, the report noted, growth will be slowed as waste minimization efforts begin. Industry mergers, consolidations and acquisitions are indicators of a maturing, stabilizing market and the shakeout of weaker competitors is expected to continue over the next five years, with fierce pricing competition persisting among the major players.

Further galvanization of public opinion toward environmentally-safe medical waste disposal and regulatory considerations are viewed as primary factors influencing general industry growth.

Over the next five years, the following factors will drive the market: new regulations; stricter enforcement of current regulations; publicity about mismanaged waste; public pressures and population age and size.

With this in mind, the best opportunities for growth within the medical waste industry seem to be, according to the report:

* innovative solutions, specifically incineration alternatives;

* treatment technology development;

* service to small facilities;

* vertical service integration to include disposable supplies, consulting services and hazardous wastes;

* regional disposal facilities; and

* consulting services related to waste management and strategic planning for hospitals, including waste audits.

Treatment Measures such as the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act require that treatment and disposal be performed with minimal negative environmental impact - emphasizing potentially harmful air emissions, such as hydro-chloric acid, mercury, carbon monoxide and dioxins, and on liquid discharges, such as chlorine.

The selection of a proper medical waste treatment technology varies. Currently, there are as many as 50 different alternative treatment system manufacturers in addition to the dozens of incineration and autoclave systems manufacturers.

Larry Doucet of Doucet and Main-ka, Peekskill, N.Y., has developed seven guidelines that can be used to compare technology:

* demonstrated performance;

* technical and performance criteria;

* vendor qualifications;

* environmental and permitting issues;

* occupational health and safety;

* facility infrastructure requirements; and

* economics.

According to Doucet, available alternatives fall into the general categories of mechanical, thermal, chemical, irradiation and biological processes, with each having different strengths and weaknesses.

Once you recognize that potentially infectious medical wastes are regularly present in your solid waste streams, you can capitalize on this niche market by providing value-added, vertically-integrated services for your healthcare customers.

And, you can help to eliminate exposure for your employees and all those handling medical waste by providing proper training and protective gear.

In the event of a spill or emergency involving medical waste clean up, the Medical Waste Institute (MWI), Washington D.C., recommends:

* Use Universal Precautions. Assume that all materials are potentially infectious and never handle them with bare hands.

* Don personal protective equipment with a Frazier air permeability of less than 1.0.

* Contain liquids by applying sorbent material around the spill's perimeter to prevent spreading.

* Spray contaminated areas with a hypochlorite solution (11/45 solution of household bleach in water) and let stand for 30 minutes.

* Add additional sorbent, allowing all liquid to be absorbed.

* Remove sorbent and waste with a shovel and broom. Place all sorbent materials, broken containers and spilled material in double red bags and appropriate biohazard container.

* Clean and disinfect reusable items before disrobing.

* Remove all protective gear and place disposable items in double red bags.

The Institute also recommends that personnel responding to infectious substances releases must have the required blood-borne pathogens training as referenced in CFR ss1910.1030.

For more information, contact MWI at 4301 Connecticut Ave., Ste. 300, Washington, D.C. 20008. (800) 424-2869.

Consistency And Quality Drive Recycling Market

In an effort to expand its marketing of recycled materials, Maryland Environmental Services (MES), Annapolis, has named Richard Keller as its chief of recycling. Keller has worked to increase the purchase of recycled products for the past 20 years.

WW: What are the challenges you will face in your new role as recycling chief?

RK: I will be marketing materials from existing and potential MES material recovery facilities (MRFs) in Maryland. Obviously, the challenge will be to ensure that we obtain the best prices for our materials, especially given the market's volatility.

In order to ensure end markets for the finished products that result from our marketing activities, I also will continue to promote the buy recycled programs both in this state and nationwide. The challenge will be to expand the quantity and variety of recycled products being purchased. Although we're doing a good job of buying recycled paper products, we need to expand into other areas.

There are buying recycled opportunities on the horizon: One is to get more recycled products - such as ceiling and floor tiles, carpet, restroom partitions, insulation and wall board - into public and private buildings. Another is to expand other environmental features, such as waste prevention, less toxicity and energy conservation.

WW: Will the government continue to lead buy recycled programs?

RK: Although the government will continue to provide the leadership role, I think the private sector has embraced the buy recycled effort and will embrace expanded programs. In fact, the National Recycling Coalition's (Alexandria, Va.) latest figures show that approximately $10 billion in recycled products are being purchased by the private sector alone.

WW: How will you market MRF materials?

RK: One strategy that we will consider is using the volume of materials from the various facilities to improve the pricing. Obviously, the more material available for the marketplace, the better the prices will be. From an operations standpoint, MES wants to improve the quality of material going into the marketplace, not only at the MRF level, but also by working with local governments to improve material before it reaches the MRF.

WW: How do you increase the demand for products made of recycled materials?

RK: To improve demand for recycled products, we must continue market development efforts, especially at the local level, and we must improve the buy recycled program.

Buy recycled is no longer a policy issue: We buy recycled products. The trick is to get federal, state, local and private agencies to expand these programs' implementation process. That's one of the reasons that MES, in cooperation with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, has been conducting buy recycled training nationwide (See World Wastes, January 1997, page 6).

This training gives purchasing and recycling officials and using agencies the tools they need to expand their buy recycled programs by answering questions such as: How do you change your specifications? How do you do cooperative purchasing? How do you find recycled products that are out there? How do you do good record keeping and evaluation? How do you do waste prevention?

WW: What are some common mistakes made by communities when establishing their recycling programs?

RK: There are some communities that implement recycling programs all at one time, as opposed to phasing in the programs over time. The experience has been, however, that communities that phase in their program neighborhood by neighborhood have been more successful than others. In general, though, I believe that local communities are successful in implementing recycling programs.

WW: What can be done to stabilize recycling markets?

RK: I don't think there's any way for any one individual or agency to stabilize recycling markets because [the products] are market commodities. However, there are ways for state and local governments and private businesses to temper market volatility. Certainly, ensuring that the materials' quality is always sufficient and supply is consistent is important. This way markets can have some security in terms of the volume that they are getting.

Also, we need to improve the buy recycled program so that there are consistent long-term end markets.