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Articles from 1998 In July


Why Don't We Build it in the Road?

Transfer stations seem to be in their heyday as an increasing number of communities turn to long-hauling their solid waste to large, regional landfills.

While this disposal option might look more cost-effective on paper, the distance that collection vehicles must travel could cancel potential savings due to vehicle wear and time lost.

This is where transfer stations come in. Because transfer vehicles require a much larger payload and only a driver, their operational cost per ton is significantly less than that of collection vehicles.

And if the haul distance is far enough, the savings in transportation costs incurred by using a transfer vehicle rather than a collection truck can offset the transfer station's cost even more.

Transfer station design can take many forms and usually is dictated by community needs, site considerations, facility size and economics.

Transfer stations can be as simple as vehicles dumping waste over a retaining wall into trailers or containers. However, open-top, compactor and mini-station facilities represent more sophisticated options.

While the open-top and compactor facilities are on two-levels - an upper level for dumping and a lower level for the transfer vehicles - transfer stations also can be built on one level and bulk-loaded by grapplers or end-loaders.

Transfer stations generally are enclosed within buildings to contain litter, noise and odors, and to provide a more comfortable working environment.

Its architecture depends on cost, aesthetics and location. For example, some facilities are built without doors because they usually are kept open. And in some cases, such as when a site is operating, but the actual building is still under construction, a facility will not be enclosed.

The selection of a facility type and enclosure depends on the site's size, operating mode, configuration, traffic, potential environmental impacts, aesthetics and cost.

Transfer station variations include:

Open-Top. In this most common transfer station, the waste usually is dumped on the floor and pushed through a hopper into an open-top transfer trailer located below the hopper.

Waste also may be dumped directly into the trailer. A pedestal crane, backhoe or similar equipment distributes and levels the trailer's load. The trailer's large size allows it to hold maximum legal loads without compaction.

Advantages of an open-top transfer station are:

* minimal mechanical equipment;

* the ability to handle large waste volumes;

* relatively low operating costs; and

* operational flexibility.

Compactor. Here, waste is dumped into a hopper feeding a stationary compactor, which compacts waste into a specially designed transfer station. Although this facility has higher operating costs due to its mechanical equipment, it has some benefits:

* it can be used in restricted sites; and

* it uses transfer trailers that are smaller than those used for open-top facilities that may better comply with height restrictions.

Mini-Station. The mini-station, or "rural drop-off center," is tailored to rural areas with low waste volume and is provided in lieu of curbside collection. These stations, which usually are not enclosed, also can serve to supplement residential waste collection.

Some mini-stations use small compactors, and the containers, usually roll-offs, are picked up periodically.

Location is Everything Deciding on direct haul vs. transfer haul is more than a matter of initial costs. For example, what is the impact on the existing collection system if a transfer station is added? Even if direct hauling is more economical, the additional hauling time spent by collection vehicles may require adding more routes, vehicles and crews.

Also, if the current system works well and customers are satisfied, there may be resistance to changing the system.

However, a transfer station's benefits to a community include:

* a more convenient waste disposal point, eliminating long distance travel;

* reducing traffic to the distant landfill site;

* a high level of management flexibility, particularly when they are hauling to a regional facility (public or private) and not to their own; and

* allowing a change of disposal sites as locations or fees change, without affecting the rest of the waste management system.

Transfer stations can reduce many operational and financial headaches - when carefully planned. As the following two case studies show, thorough analysis is key to integrating a transfer station into an existing solid waste system.

Slashing Travel Time in Scottsdale The city of Scottsdale, Ariz., experienced unprecedented population growth in the 1980s. However, hand-in-hand with the economic boom came a waste disposal challenge.

To complicate matters, the future availability of the local landfill, which was owned and operated by an outside agency, was uncertain, and thus the city needed an alternative. In particular, Scottsdale desired the flexibility to transport different kinds of waste to a variety of locations.

Once the city determined that a transfer station would meet its needs, it hired Camp Dresser and McKee, Cambridge, Mass., to help design and manage the facility.

The project team located a site next to the Tournament Players Club of Scottsdale, home of the Phoenix Open. Because the area includes exclusive neighborhoods and elite golf courses, the transfer station had to blend in with the surrounding desert landscape and architecture.

Scottsdale's growing population and the project's $2 million budget mandated a flexible and cost-effective design.

Designed to control noise and odor, the new single-hopper, or open-top, transfer station can handle 500 tons per day (tpd), with the expansion capability to handle 1,000 tpd.

The building can expand without interior columns because it was designed to span length (150 feet) rather than width (80 feet). All electrical and plumbing were designed to allow permit capacity to double. In addition, twin tunnels were built.

Tipping takes place inside to control outside odor and noise. Because the building length in front of the hopper is 125 feet, various sized collection vehicles can empty their waste easily.

Design flexibility lets different trailer lengths into the hopper, and a height clearance of 23 feet allows collection vehicles to operate with their beds up.

Inside, high-pressure odor control sprays (120 gallons per hour, 1.5 horsepower, 1,000-pounds per square inch pumps) with atomizing fog nozzles are located above the hopper and main tipping areas to stifle odors. The spray ensures better dispersion and minimizes water on the tipping floor.

The Scottsdale facility, which opened in July 1996, has reduced travel time to the landfill from the city's northern areas, increasing the collection vehicles' productivity by 30 percent.

"The new transfer station allows us the flexibility that is needed in the changing solid waste field," says Pete Chavez, Scottsdale's solid waste management director. "The facility accepts recyclables that can be transported anywhere in the greater Phoenix area."

Blending into Santa Fe As Santa Fe, N.M.'s existing landfill neared closure, the city and county of Santa Fe selected a new, more remote landfill site.

The municipality's objectives were to minimize traffic on the access roadways to the new landfill and to continue the old landfill's high level of service.

The answer: Build a transfer station adjacent to the closed landfill.

"To provide for the area's future growth, we considered our waste needs for the next 20 years," explains Cindy Padilla-Cessarich, Santa Fe's solid waste management director.

Operational since May 1997, the Santa Fe transfer station can handle up to 500 tpd.

The 44,000-square-foot facility features separate drop-off areas for pick-up trucks, automobiles and collection trucks. This setup eliminates traffic and increases safety. Two hoppers handle peak waste disposal.

To build the site, the city had to move and replant 400 pinon trees, some of which were more than a century old. The displaced soil was used to close the existing landfill, which saved more than $1 million in cover soil cost.

Since residents were concerned that the facility was close to their neighborhoods, engineers designed it in a Santa-Fe architectural style.

An administration building located at the site looks like the transfer station architecturally and houses showers, bathrooms, computer capabilities and a large conference room.

The scalehouse includes two scales and a computer system and will be integrated with the administration building and city accounting department.

With a little hometown homework, the Santa Fe transfer station is serving as an aesthetically pleasing and efficient solution to the area's waste disposal challenge.

* Scales: Cardinal Scale Manufacturing, full electronic hipless motor truck scales.

* Stationary electric transfer "Grappler" crane from Northshore Manufacturing.

* Dust control misting system by NuTech Environmental Corp.

* Odor control system by NuTech Environmental Corp.

* Average amount of refuse accepted daily: 250 tons/day.

* Capacity: 400 tons/day. Maximum day - 550 tons/day.

* Waste sources: city vehicles only.

* Employees: three-man staff at transfer station, not including the truck drivers.

* Service area: North Scottsdale, Ariz.

Transfer Station: Freightliner tractors; Steco aluminum trailers; Weighmaster software (Information Systems Inc.)

Amount of refuse: Average tonnage is 280-300 tons/day. Peak is 410 tons/ day. The transfer station is open six days a week from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Waste sources: * Private/self-haul (pick-up trucks etc.).

* City of Santa Fe/residential and commercial.

* Commercial (all private commercial haulers).

Employees: 1 superintendent, 3 supervisors, 6 drivers, 2 operators, 5 compliance technicians, 3 account technicians.

Service area: County of Santa Fe, - 110,000 people.

Local tipping fees:

* landfill: $25/ton.

* transfer station: $60/ton.

UPDATE: APR Declares PVC Recycling Unfeasible

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) bottles should not get a second chance on life, according to the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR) and the Vinyl Institute, Morristown, N.J.

"We are being told that it is not economically feasible to convert PVC bottles into pellets," says Gary Pratt, APR board member and president of P&R Environmental Industries, Youngsville, N.C.

PVC packaging is said to contaminate the recycling of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and high-density olyethylene (HDPE) bottles, and its removal is costly for recyclers and reprocessors.

"The whole plastics recycling industry would run more smoothly if PVC was not part of the post-consumer packaging waste stream," says Steve Babinchak, president of St. Jude Polymer Corp., Frackville, Pa., taking into account capital costs invested in sensors, the cost of testing to determine quality levels and the number of shipments from recyclers each year that are rejected because of PVC contamination.

Recently, Dean Foods, a Midwest dairy based in Franklin Park, Ill., began using shrink PVC labels that are difficult to completely remove from milk bottles.

"PVC was chosen because of the bottle shape we were using - PVC adhered best," says Dave Rotunno, director of marketing and advertising. "At the time, we were not aware that most recyclers couldn't handle PVC in the system. We're working with suppliers to find a suitable solution. And in the interim, we're asking customers to remove the label before recycling."

The APR's Market Development Committee and the Vinyl Institute were scheduled to meet in June to discuss possible solutions so that PVC can be used and recycled effectively in the future. The association also has plans to begin a study documenting the costs of removing PVC from the recycling waste stream.

Agreement The city of Rochester, Minn., has selected Rust Environment and Infrastructure, Greenville, S.C., to implement a response action plan for the Rochester Sanitary Landfill in Olmsted County.

Awards Portman Equipment Co., Cincinnati, has received GNB Technologies' Environmental Award for recycling batteries.

Richard DeYoug, chairman, president and CEO of American Disposal Services Inc., Burr Ridge, Ill., has been selected as Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year in the Services category for the Illinois/Northwest Indiana region.

Environmental Resources Management, Exton, Pa., was ranked as the third largest of the "Top 20 Hazardous Waste" consulting firms in the Engineering News-Record "Top 500 Design Firms" 1997 listing.

Contracts Earth Tech, Long Beach, Calif., has been awarded two contracts valued at $11 million for remediation services at two Pennsylvania Superfund sites.

CH2M Hill, Denver, has been selected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as the prime contractor for the 10-year, potentially $300 million Region IX Response Action Contract for remedial design and remedial action at Superfund hazardous waste sites in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands, and approximately 140 Tribal Nations.

Increased Production Freightliner, Portland, Ore., has doubled daily production of Class 8 over-the-highway trucks manufactured in Mexico for U.S. export.

Initial Public Offering Waste Connections Inc., Roseville, Calif., offered 2 million shares of common stock at $12 per share at its IPO on May 22, 1998.

Merger USA Waste Services Inc., Houston, has merged with TransAmerican Waste Industries Inc.

Negotiation Bedminster Bioconversion Corp., Marietta, Ga., has completed negotiations to provide Marlborough, Mass., with a waste recycling system.

Selling Your Business: When to Say "Go!"

With all the consolidation occurring in the solid waste industry, you may be contemplating jumping on the bandwagon and selling your business to a larger corporation.

Perhaps visions of early retirement and a life of leisure have convinced you to check out your options. Or maybe a corporation has approached you with an offer.

Before you jump into negotiations, however, you should take the time to think it through and do your homework to ensure that you will have no regrets further down the road.

If the thought of selling your business is intriguing, you first should identify your goals from both a financial and non-financial position. These might need to be reviewed from immediate- and long-term perspectives, depending upon your family and stage of life.

One of the more common reasons that negotiations fail is when the seller decides - at the last minute - that he is not ready to sell. No matter what your situation, your personal needs and goals are important and should be reviewed and considered before entering negotiations.

Issues that could influence your decision to sell your business and how you want the sale to be structured include:

*Current quality of life. Are you still excited about your business and its future? Do you wish you had more time for the trips you always wanted to take? Do you want the ability to spend more time with your family? The quality of your health also should be considered.

*Business goals. What are your business goals and can they be achieved with your current resources?

Evaluate your position in the market: Can you compete effectively into the future? Have the growing costs of insurance and bonding made it impossible for you to compete for larger contracts? Do you have the resources to keep up with changing laws and regulations?

Would selling your business provide the resources to grow it better and faster than you would be able to without the added capital? Will there be advantages to your customers, such as new trucks and lower costs?

*Retirement goals. Do you have enough money saved to pay college tuition for your children or buy that retirement home you always wanted? Would you be better off running this business and saving money on an ongoing basis, or selling it and investing for the future?

*Goals for your employees. The costs of health insurance plans and retirement benefits are on the rise. Can you provide competitive wages and benefits to retain employees in a shrinking labor pool? Do your managers have greater career and salary goals than you can provide? Would their job security be a major concern for you in negotiating the sale?

*Succession planning. Do you have a child or loyal employee who wants to own or manage the business someday? Can they make the move now, or could you arrange a management position for them with the potential buyer? How will they react if you decide to consider selling your business? It pays to work out these issues ahead of time, so you don't burn bridges with family members and trusted employees.

*Estate planning. This may take a substantial amount of time if it involves the restructuring of more than one business. The size of your family and the estate also may contribute.

*Career goals. You should think about how you want to spend your time after the sale. Do you want to retire? Do you want to become a manager and run the usiness without having the ownership responsibility?

Another option is to remain with the business short-term as a transition manager to help the new management team or to serve as a mentor to a younger person you have in mind to take over your operation. You could become a consultant for the buyer.

Most acquisitions contain a non-competition clause that prohibits you from providing these services to a competitor, but you could try to sell your services to another type of business.

Reflect on your strengths and what you enjoy doing most both professionally and personally.

Doing Your Homework Either prior to or as you begin negotiations, organize a team of professionals that you trust and are comfortable with

Don't skimp; hire top quality professionals. This is probably the largest transaction of your life, and you want to reap the maximum value for your company. Your team should include an:

*Attorney. Hire a lawyer that is familiar with estate planning, the tax strategies of selling a business and who has experience in negotiating the sale of a business. The deal should favor both you and the buyer from a tax standpoint.

Be aware that many deals are not cash alone. Some offer a mix of stock ownership and cash, partnerships or interest pooling. Your attorney, with your accountant, will analyze which structure best suits your needs. The attorney also will perform due diligence and will interpret documents, agreements and complications.

*Accountant. This professional will provide the necessary financial statements and reports to report the financial condition of your business. This will help the buyer determine your company's value and establish a purchase price. You will need to provide the accountant with current and correct information to speed up the process and receive an accurate and desirable purchase price.

Ideally, your accountant will consult with your attorney on the transaction's tax structure. *Engineer and/or environmental advisor. This professional prepares the specific documents on the operation's size and scope, such as available yards of landfill airspace.

They also will determine if any environmental concerns may require remediation. By obtaining accurate information, your business will be valued fairly, which will help avoid the problems of discovering a factual discrepancy late in the process.

Investment counselor. After the transaction is complete, hire an investment counselor to help you manage your newly acquired wealth. Before you enter into negotiations, know the condition of your service contracts. For example, if your contracts are going to expire soon, the appeal of your business will be affected because the new owners may not have any guaranteed revenue.

You should hold off selling the business until you can re-negotiate those contracts and re-position yourself better financially. To a prospective buyer, your revenue's quality is just as critical as its quantity.

Finding the Right Buyer Remember, money isn't everything. Find a buyer with the right blend of financial benefits and corporate culture.

Choosing the wrong buyer can cause much heartache and disappointment for your employees and customers.

You can research potential buyers through:

*Recent acquisitions. Have a candid conversation with the buyer's recent acquisitions - both the former owner and the employees who now work with the new employer. Ask them about the transition and how they feel about the buyer's actions before, during and after the sale.

*Site visits. Visit one of the buyer's operating locations and talk to employees and the manager. Observe how the employees are treated. Also, meet the operating vice-president or other key executives that you and/ or your business would be working with.

*Marketing strategies. Determine the buyer's marketing plans for the year and the basis for its strategies. Some corporations create their plans at a central headquarters while others rely on general managers (GM) to determine the budget and plan for their specific operating locations.

Ask potential buyers about their projections for growth in current markets and commitments to new markets. Request to be briefed on acquiring companies' five-year plans.

*Management structure. Some companies have a clean sweep, centralized approach to management, holding most operational control at the main office.

Others are decentralized, giving decision-making authority largely to the local operation's GM.

Find out how the buyer approaches management decisions and determine if this fits your vision for your business and employees.

*Financial practices. Ask about the potential buyer's short- and long-term growth goals and financial commitments. How does it manage its debt? What is its financial track record? Ask your accountant for an opinion on the buyer's financial well-being.

*Operational structure. Inquire about the buyer's current operation's locations. How does it integrate acquisitions into its structure? Will your company be considered a regional operation for a specific area or will it be a regional tuck-in? What are its specific plans for that operating area? Does it correlate with your vision and goals for the business?

*Marketing and employee communications materials. Ask the buyer for annual reports, employee benefit packages, press releases and recent articles featuring the company for additional insights into its culture and business practices. Review these materials carefully and read between the lines to find out what the company really is saying to its employees and customers.

The information will provide you with an overall company image that will control and manage your business.

After you have gathered and thoroughly researched this information, compare each buyer's strengths and weaknesses, and the deal that they have presented to you. Decide which offers the best overall fit and opportunities for you and your employees ,and options for profit.

Has the buyer gained and kept your trust, confidence and respect throughout the negotiations? If so, and you feel confident that all other issues and concerns have been resolved, close the deal.

*Asking price *Billing information *Business description *Competition descriptions *Copies of major contracts *Current assets listing *Debt obligations *Depreciation and amortization schedules *Description of ownership structure *Employment agreements *Environmental assessment reports *Financial projections (if available) *Financial statements and history *Fleet and route information *Letter of confidentiality *List of stockholders *Market descriptions *Operation plan *Outstanding lawsuits *Payroll information *Permits *Personnel files *Preferred method of payment *Public relations efforts *Services *Statistics on operations *Tax records

1.What is your management structure and philosophy (i.e. centralized, decentralized)?

2.How will my employees and customers fare with the sale of the business?

3.What is the culture of your business? Do you have this defined?

4.May I have a copy of your annual report, prospectus and press releases on earnings? (If the company is privately held, ask to see the financial statements.)

5.What is the current financial state of your company? What is your track record? How do you manage your debt?

6.Can you structure the deal to meet my financial and tax requirements (i.e. cash, cash and stock, stock, pooling of interests)?

7.Will you continue to service the local accounts with the same or better service?

8.What is your operational structure? May I see the organizational flow chart for the entire company and for an individual operating location?

9.How is your marketing handled? Can I have a copy of the marketing plans for an operating location and/or the company?

10.What are my future opportunities with your company? What are the opportunities for my employees?

HAZARDOUS WASTE: Kansas Community Creates Low Cost, High Use Hazwaste Facility

When you build it, be prepared for how many will come. That's what the city of Lawrence, Kan., discovered after it constructed a successful household hazardous waste (HHW) facility in 1994.

The facility, which serves the city of Lawrence and surrounding Douglas County (population 82,000), is managed by Lawrence's Waste Reduction and Recycling (WR/R) division. The WR/R division strives to contain the costs of operation, education and payroll by:

* using 40 volunteers in conjunction with paid staff;

* sourcing specific waste streams without a contracting company;

* buying supplies in bulk; and

* controlling disposal costs through a product reuse program.

The 864-square-foot facility is open April through October on the third Saturday of each month. Once bulked and drummed, the HHW is transported into one of five bermed containment areas to await collection.

In 1997, the facility recorded more than 1,335 participants and collected 57,656 pounds - 69 percent of which was contracted for treatment, energy recovery or disposal through an environmental service firm, and 7 percent of which was recycled. Additionally, more than 13,819 pounds were redistributed through the product reuse program.

The HHW operating costs for 1997 were $87,827 - which includes salaries, equipment/supplies, disposal, training, administration/ utilities and public education/advertising. The total operational cost per participant was $65.78, with a $14.68 total disposal cost per participant. On average, each person using the facility paid a disposal cost of 76 cents per pound and dropped off 43 pounds.

In 1997, participation increased 45 percent, which meant that it was time for the facility to plan for growth. Since adding staff or extending the facility's hours were not options, the city evaluated the site's efficiency and incentives, then made improvements in four areas:

* Improving in-house technical abilities. Coordinating collection can be difficult, so efforts concentrated on keeping a consistent work flow and safely processing materials. Although the program manager could contract with a full-service hazardous materials management company or a limited number of hazmat personnel, the city chose a more cost-effective route: Train its own workers and limit outsourcing to transportation and disposal of hazardous materials.

* Creating volunteer benefits. Since the facility's inaugural year, soliciting volunteers has become more formalized. Its corporate sponsorship program allows companies throughout Lawrence and Douglas Counties to join with the WR/R division. Partnerships help recruit volunteers, conduct additional outreach, provide public recognition and reduce volunteer burnout. Technical training also is provided and helps in volunteer retention.

* Capitalizing on non-regulated wastes. In 1997, 53 percent of the wastes collected were non-regulated materials. Because of such large volumes, the city sought less-expensive disposal options. For example, latex paint considered suitable for reuse was diverted into the product reuse program.

The remaining three non-regulated waste streams were sourced separately for recycling at no cost: Used motor oil was combined with materials from the city's drop-off oil recycling program for use as alternative-derived fuel at regional cement kilns. Lead-acid batteries were sent to a retail battery store, and barrels of used antifreeze went to a local radiator shop. Once emptied, the barrels were returned for reuse at the next collection - saving the city $4,536.

* Cashing in on the product reuse program. In 1997, 24 percent (13,819 pounds) of the wastes collected were diverted through the product reuse program, saving $4,231.19 in disposal costs. Latex paint comprised the majority of this material, while the remaining 1,099 pounds included pest control products, household cleaners, hobby supplies and automotive products.

Next, the city gave the product reuse program a "make-over" to increase public understanding. The WR/R division sent flyers and made phone calls to churches, non-profit groups and associations explaining the program.

Inaccurate record-keeping was improved by using a database to track items, and monthly summaries noted the volumes, weight and Department of Transportation classification of materials.

The result? The facility's work loads are more manageable; volunteers receive more attention; costs are reduced; the product reuse program has improved; and the staff and fund effectiveness has been bolstered.

RECYCLING: Scrap Tire Expert Predicts Pile-up Problem Will Vanish

Car and truck tires are discarded at the rate of about one tire per year per person in America. But this isn't a problem, according to Robert H. Snyder, a chemist who spent 50-plus years in the rubber and tire industry.

"Within a period of perhaps three years, we may be able to conclude that the national scrap tire problem in the United States has been solved," he says. "By the latter part of 1998, we will be reusing scrap tires at the same rate at which they are being generated. At that point, the existing stockpiles (estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1994 at 3 billion tires nationwide) will acquire some value and soon be depleted."

In his book "Scrap Tires Disposal and Reuse," Snyder says the solution to the scrap tire problem will be hastened by the establishment of profitable, commercial scrap tire enterprises and markets. But before this can happen the following should be addressed:

*The "tire jockey." The jockey, who collects used tires from tire dealers for a fee, plays a significant role in determining where used tires wind up - sold as used tires; sold to a recycler, retreader or someone who turns them into fuel; or landfilled.

To make a profit, the jockey tries to avoid landfills with tipping fees. When scrap tire prices become deflated or fees become too high, dishonest "gypsy tire jockeys" will illegally dump tires that can't be sold.

* Recycling tires into other products. This usually involves chopping and sometimes grinding, which can be troublesome because tires contain dissimilar materials.

For example, modern tires are difficult to process because they contain rubber and wire for the steel belts. Fortunately, virtually every tire component has commercial value, provided they can be separated and recovered economically.

* Correct equipment. Rubber compounds are surprisingly abrasive. Just look at a well-traveled highway. A new surface is rough, but after a few years, tires "polish" it smooth. These factors create a need for rugged, expensive, high-maintenance, special processing equipment.

Equipment used to chop tin cans, scrap tires, auto bodies, appliances or steel barrels is virtually useless.

* Tire Derived Fuel (TDF). By far, the biggest use for scrap tires - more than two thirds of all reused tires - is for TDF. The biggest TDF consumers are cement kilns, followed by pulp and paper mills, electric utilities, industrial boilers and dedicated tire-to-energy plants.

There are other interesting applications for processed scrap tires, albeit in smaller quantities, in road construction and repair, including asphalt, crack and joint sealers, road patching and railroad crossings. Unfortunately, there have been problems in using tire chips in highway construction, such as fires that have started in retaining walls and embankments made from tire chips used a subgrade or backfill.

Tires can be applied successfully to:

* rubber mats;

* large agrimats used in horse and cow barns;

* playground mats;

* "playturf" rubber chips; and

* chips for equestrian areas.

Tire chips can replace wood chips used to turn the sludge from sewage plants into a high-grade compost for horticultural use. Chips also can be used as a lightweight aggregrate fill on highways, as a sub-grade thermal insulation to eliminate frost penetration and heaving on gravel roads in cold climates, as backfill behind retaining walls and to replace crushed stone in septic field drainage systems.

Crumb rubber can be used as a soil amendment on golf courses and on football, baseball and soccer fields, or in fishing reefs, parking lot bump stops, landscape timbers, mailbox posts, etc.

Proponents of tire pyrolysis see promise in this destructive distillation that produces a variety of products from liquid petrolem gas and gasoline to steel and silica. However, Snyder questions this process' economic profitability. The main problems are the considerable energy required during pyrolysis and the inability of derived products to compete economically with other sources. For example, tire chips probably are used directly as fuel or in other applications because they have a higher market value than the products that could be produced by pyrolysis from scrap tires.

Finally, government, both federal and state, help in solving the scrap tire problem is needed, Snyder says. This includes state regulations as well as funding for regulation and stockpile cleanup programs.

New Uses for Old Plastic

In the past 30 years, plastic has evolved from being perceived as a marvelous man-made material to being synonymous with everything fake and environmentally unfriendly. But now, thanks to a legion of environmental entrepreneurs, plastic has a renewed future, one that is both environmentally responsible and increasingly profitable.

While aluminum has been the recycling darling of those charged with the challenge of finding markets for the materials amassed at recycling centers and material recovery facilities (MRF), plastic, on the contrary, generally is viewed as a nuisance at best.

Let's face it, as far as recycling goes, plastic eats up a lot of space and doesn't fetch commanding market prices. But the first rule of the marketplace always has been supply and demand - and demand is increasing for a variety of products made from recycled plastic.

"The uses are as endless as your imagination," says Sue Beard, co-owner of The Plastic Trading Co., a national recycled plastic products distributor based in West Palm Beach, Fla.

"The awareness level is greater and is coming from a lot of different directions," she continues. "Municipalities are becoming environmentally conscientious. They're getting grants and putting [recycled plastic building materials] in the specs. A lot of contractors and architects who wouldn't even talk to us a few years ago now are contacting us because the building specs call for recycled plastic materials."

Many new home buyers are requesting recycled lumber, Beard adds. In addition to lumber, recycled plastic is being used in variety of ways - including lobster traps, sea walls and bridge fender systems. Hotels are using recycled plastic milled into tongue-and-groove ceiling panels, and restaurants have recycled plastic booths and tables.

Of all the innovative recycled plastic products currently on the market, plastic lumber reigns king. Primarily derived from recycled high- and low-density polyethylene and polypropylene, plastic lumber is carving out a share of the traditional wood building material market, although the former still is more expensive.

"It's very prevalent here in Florida," Beard says. "It's a no-brainer: [Plastic wood] doesn't rot. There's no splintering, and it doesn't accept graffiti."

"I installed a boat dock 22 years ago, and I haven't replaced one board," attests Ervin Vincent, president and founder of N.E.W. Plastics Corp., Luxenburg, Wis. "It's still blue. Plastic wood doesn't need painting. It's faded a little over the years, but that's all."

Indeed, the long-term cost-effectiveness of plastic wood has given rise to scores of recycled plastic lumber companies nationwide, the majority of which are producing dimensional lumber. However, several companies have capitalized on recycled plastic's versatility and are filling niche market demands.

"We create a number of plastic lumber products," Vincent says. "But we also make other plastic products such as railings for manure spreaders and fencing."

Established in 1973, N.E.W. started out recycling plastic bottles through pultrusion, a continuous pipe extrusion process. The majority of its raw material is milk jugs and water bottles, which are delivered pre-chopped and washed by vendors. N.E.W. does some sorting and washing in-house but does not have the sewer system to handle large quantities.

Other companies, such as Wonderwood Industries Inc., Leeds, Ala., do everything from receiving the raw, unsorted plastics to producing the final products. To curtail contamination, Wonderwood separates its raw plastic manually. According to Ray Donaldson, Wonderwood's president, once a load is chipped and mixed, it is virtually impossible to separate contaminated material from the rest of a load.

"Now that we get in the actual scraps, we don't have any problems," Donaldson says. "I've been in the business long enough to know what to look for."

To ensure quality, companies such as C.R.T. Laboratories Inc., Tustin, Calif., sample periodic loads using thermal and physical property tests to determine polymer percentages and detect contamination.

"We make sure the materials are what the sellers are representing them to be," explains Ken LeJeune, C.R.T.'s laboratory director. "Some manufacturers can use mixed loads. Others cannot have them at all."

While many recycling processes require pure loads, others are less particular and can accept mixed loads. Such is the case with U.S. Plastic Lumber, Boca Raton, Fla., maker of Earth Care recycled plastic products. While its wood lumber requires a purer polymer mix, the plastics used to manufacture its tractor trailer bed product doesn't need to be as clean, according to John Long, vice president of sales and marketing.

"The end-use applications are based on the raw content material," Long notes. "There are different uses for different plastics. It's just a case of matching up the appropriate material with the end-use application."

U.S. Plastic Lumber now has a patent for a fiberglass reinforced recycled plastic that is being used for railroad ties. The patented process was developed in conjunction with Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J., and now the company is putting it to use in other applications such as pilings.

In addition, U.S. Plastic Lumber, one of the nation's largest recycled plastic manufacturers, offers a full line of fabricated decking lumber, institutional, residential and architectural product lines.

To further expand its market share, U.S. Plastic Lumber has acquired seven plastic recycling companies in the past year and a half. Many industry professionals see this as a market trend. "I'm seeing a lot of bigger companies buying out the smaller ones," Beard observes. "There's not any decline in the market. It's been a learning process. Those with the deepest pockets have survived."

"It's a tough market," adds Bob Hill, project manager of recycled plastic lumber for Bedford Industries Inc., Worthington, Minn. "There's some backyard companies that think they can get rich quick, and I'd tell them quickly you have to work hard at it."

While some companies are looking to expand, Bedford got into plastic recycling merely to close the production loop by converting residual materials from its manufacturing process into profitable products. The world's largest producer of twist ties, Bedford started mixing its plastic ribbon scraps with milk jugs to produce plastic lumber.

It now has an arrangement with Minnegasco, a Minneapolis-based public utility, to take excess plastic utility scraps and recycle them into utility post guards and other products for the utility company. "It's a neat closed-loop system," Hill says.

Bedford's recycling efforts have not gone unnoticed. Recently the company was honored with Minnesota's Waste Wise Award.

In addition to taking utility pipe scraps, Bedford also receives approximately 5,000 pounds of dairy jug seconds each month, along with industrial scraps from several industries.

"Every little bit helps," Hill says about this volatile market. "Last year, plastic was going for 36 cents a pound. Lately, it's been going for between 12 cents and 18 cents a pound. The recyclers have to make a buck too, or it just isn't worth it."

In spite of the added cost of trucking, Bedford receives recycled plastics from a number of recycling facilities throughout the tri-state region of Minnesota, South Dakota and Iowa. For many, the distance between the raw material and the processing facility definitely is restrictive.

"We're fortunate to have an end-user nearby so we don't have to pay as much in transportation," says John Chamberlin, recycling coordinator for the Orange Grove Recycling Center, a regional MRF in Chattanooga, Tenn. "We sell to the highest bidder, but the majority of our plastic goes to Image Carpets [Summerville, Ala.]."

Orange Grove began as an educational facility for the disabled back in the 1950s. Initially, a local Budweiser distributor bought curbside aluminum collected by students as part of a vocational training program. Since then, the facility has become a full-grown MRF.

Orange Grove works with the city of Chattanooga to reduce waste volumes at the municipal landfill. "We don't get rich," Chamberlin says. "You have to keep in mind, we're still a training facility [in addition to] being a business. The plastic market fluctuates greatly.

"Some of the people I sell to are brokers who can afford to stockpile materials and wait for the market to go up," he continues. "But we're a private, non-profit organization, so when we get a load, we sell it. We can't afford to stockpile it."

Educating the public about recycling, and specifically about plastic recycling, is Chamberlin's greatest challenge because most people are not aware of the number codes at the bottom of plastic containers.

For example, syrup bottle plastic looks like soda bottle plastic, but the two are entirely different polymers. Oil and antifreeze containers have the potential to contaminate whole loads, he explains.

"A half cup [of contaminated plastic] in a 2,000-pound bail ruins the whole bail," he says.

While distribution and public awareness challenge the burgeoning plastic recycling industry, there is little doubt it is here to stay due to new applications that are being developed. However, as with other recycling efforts, it appears consumers are lagging behind the industry when it comes to closing the plastic loop.

LANDFILLS: Should You Keep Your Landfill Wet?

Is recirculation a cost-efficient option for handling leachate? Under the appropriate circumstances and at the right site, this management practice could produce significant savings.

Leachate recirculation can be used in one of the two types of landfilling.

The bioreactor method (a vessel-contained or in-ground, biologically managed system for encouraging rapid waste degradation) can stabilize waste more quickly.

Operating a landfill as a bioreactor hinges on the ability to distribute moisture and micro-organisms to all of the waste.

The other method is dry tomb (insufficient moisture in the landfill).

To determine if recirculation is an effective leachate management option for a particular landfill, site personnel can compare their operation and maintenance (O&M) costs to that of other leachate management practices and determine the amount of leachate requiring disposal.

A site is a good candidate for recirculating leachate if:

* the site's characteristics are optimal (i.e., waste type, waste permeability, regional weather conditions, stage of cell operation);

* the method is permitted in the landfill's state;

* O&M costs currently exceed 5 cents per gallon or $100,000 annually; and

* leachate volumes currently exceed one million gallons per year.

Before establishing a leachate recirculation program, develop a comprehensive plan that includes determining leachate generation, storage capacity, distribution method design and recirculation operations.

The five primary methods of implementing a leachate recirculation program are: horizontal wells/trenches, surface application, vertical wells, spray irrigation and injection needles. A combination of these methods provides the most flexibility for adapting to regional weather conditions, accommodating various operating requirements and managing different stages of landfill cell operation (from active through post-closure).

The leachate re-circulation system that has proven to be the most effective for post-closure is a dedicated horizontal distribution system that incorporates a high permeability blanket of material and leachate pipes within for even distribution.

For an active landfill, the working face spray method (a water truck with a rear-mounted spray bar with nozzles sprays leachate onto the working face) appears to be the most economical and efficient. The procedure is simpler and faster (30-45 minutes to fill a 5,000-gallon water truck, and 10 minutes to spray), and provides excellent distribution (covers a 30'x30' area). No pipes need to be inserted in the waste, and landfill operations can continue around the water truck.

In addition, leachate evaporates in the summer months, helping to reduce the landfill's liquid volume. Re-circulation can be performed year-round and with any waste type.

Leachate recirculation, in addition to simplifying operations and improving a site's "green" image:

* Reduces amounts of leachate to manage, which eliminates the need to haul and process leachate off-site at an average cost of 10 cents per gallon.

* Increases waste degradation/stabilization and improves refuse compaction, which can lead to lower risks and lessened long-term closure costs. Refuse decomposition typically takes more than 30 years in a non-recirculated landfill, but recirculation can reduce this period by 10 years to 15 years.

* Improves waste degradation and compaction densities, which help increase air space (by 10 percent to 50 percent), while gas production increases proportionally with the waste increase.

As with all new practices, there are potential disadvantages and challenges to leachate recirculation. For example:

* Ponding, seepage, increased leachate and localized accumulation;

* Excess leachate production and disposal;

* Insufficient liquid levels in arid climates;

* Equalization/storage capacity during wet weather;

* Additional demands on site operation and leachate extraction systems; and

* Regulatory implications for air emissions and odor control.

Most of these potential problems can be minimized through planning, design and operational procedures.

New Facility Northern California's first tire recycling and crumb rubber factory has opened at the Davis Street Transfer Station in San Leandro, Calif. Bay Area Tire Recycling will operate the tire factory under contract with Waste Management of Alameda County, a subsidiary of Waste Management Inc., Oak Brook, Ill.

New Offices JPS Elastometrics Corp., Holyoke, Mass., has opened a European sales office in Motherwell, Scotland.

Superior Services Inc., Milwaukee, has moved its corporate office to One Honey Creek Corporate Center; 125 South 84th Street Suite 200,; Milwaukee, WI 53214. (414) 479-7800. Fax: (414) 479-7400.

New Landfill Eastern Environmental Services Inc., Mt. Laurel, N.J., has opened the Lawrence County Regional Landfill, Bridgeport, Ill., a 85-acre site designed to accept municipal solid waste and industrial and non-hazardous special waste.

Permit Keystone Environmental Services Inc., Shoemakersville, Pa., has received a permit from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to handle and store non-hazardous, residual waste.

Websites Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc., Washington, D.C.: www.sri.org, and Scrap magazine: www.scrap.org

Ametek Inc., Paoli, Pa.: www.ametek.com

Rehrig Pacific Co., Los Angeles: www.rehrigpacific.com

Infiltrator Systems Inc.: www.infiltratorsystems.com

Managed Competition's Brave New World

In late 1997, Sacramento County, Calif.'s Waste Management and Recycling Division (WMRD) faced losing a chunk of its business. When the county's Citrus Heights area - 22,000 of its 165,000 households - incorporated into a city, its solid waste business suddenly was up for grabs.

Like its private counterparts, WMRD, which had been providing solid waste services for the past 30 years, received a request for proposals (RFP) for solid waste collection, processing and disposal.

The RFP was a new experience for WMRD. Could it successfully bid against private haulers to keep Citrus Heights customers? It had the experience: WMRD historically had provided the community with automated refuse collection, automated bi-weekly green waste collection, bi-weekly three-bin recycling collection and neighborhood clean-up collection.

The RFP called for curbside collection under a variable rate structure. The bids were to include processing and marketing of green waste and recyclables, as well as refuse disposal.

The city specified automated, weekly refuse collection and automated, bi-weekly green waste collection. Weekly recyclables collection was required, and while the method was left open, the RFP asked bidders to demonstrate how they would assure that the city met the state's 50 percent diversion mandate. It described the city's interest in two areas:

*source separated and

*commingled collection and processing [sending refuse and recyclables to a wet material recovery facility (MRF)].

In addition, the city requested proposals with special pickups for bulky items and Christmas trees, backyard service for a fee or free to disabled customers, billing and collection, periodic AB 939 reporting and a customer service center. The bidders were given only six weeks to submit their proposals - a timeframe that sent Sacramento County staff scrambling to "think private" as they reached for the golden ring: a 7-year contract with an option for three 1-year extensions.

Designing a Winning Proposal WMRD developed a bid team that included three staff groups and Omaha, Neb.-based HDR Engineering Inc. consultants. In developing its proposal, WMRD looked at other municipalities that successfully bid against the private sector, such as the city of Charlotte, N.C., which bid under managed competition for collection services in 1996. (See "Governments Winning the Bidding War," World Wastes, July 1997, page 72.)

Citrus Heights' proposal evaluation criteria had two major thrusts: *Use an efficient, proven approach for a low-cost bid to garner technical and cost evaluation points.

*Provide a comprehensive presentaStion to gain points for the other evaluation criteria.

Based on this, WMRD formed strategic, technical and policy groups to review the RFP and develop its submission:

*The technical group researched the strategies needed for the winning bid, identified any resulting policy changes that needed approval and developed the proposal.

*The strategic and policy groups dealt with issues involving the general approach toward preparing the bid, the approval of any required policy decisions and handled communications with the county board of supervisors.

The board of supervisors approved a policy allowing WMRD to set up a separate Citrus Height Service Group (CHSG) for the bid - an entity that was consistent with the separate accounting required in the RFP.

It enabled CHSG to use unit pricing for the area - distinct from the county system - that was below the current rates throughout the county and in Citrus Heights.

This "unit pricing," which was possible due to Citrus Heights' proximity to the county's North Area transfer station, placed WMRD on equal footing with the private companies.

The board also approved a policy that said the public sector bid should include only variable ("go-away") indirect and overhead costs. These are the costs that would "go away" should the county lose Citrus Height's business.

The county first evaluated whether the second RFP methodology, commingling recyclables and yard waste, even made sense. Based on past evaluations, WMRD believed this approach was neither economical nor practical.

However, the costs of both methods were calculated and compared to ensure that separate collection of recyclables was the most economical.

The analysis showed that the RFP "wet MRF" approach was more expensive because the high MRF costs for the commingled waste stream far exceeded the reduction in collection costs from single cans.

In addition, at the time of Citrus Heights' RFP, WMRD was receiving bids or implementing recycling and green waste programs with contractors for the entire unincorporated county area.

Anticipating the Citrus Heights competition, WMRD asked for committed separate unit costs from the successful private bidders for these services.

Assessing the Competition In managed competition, bidders must determine what strategies and costs the competition will use and assess what the winning costs need to be. The Sacramento bid team anticipated competitors' costs based on knowledge of the Citrus Heights system and of the facilities and strategies that the competition would use.

For example, although the county's Kiefer Landfill is closest to the collection area, using cheaper regional landfills and other processing facilities also were evaluated. This assessment was performed before any optimization strategies were used and knowing that the RFP-specified cost to provide service in Citrus Heights with the existing county-wide system configuration would be approximately $14.80 per household.

The county's analysis predicted that private bidding would be competitive with the county's current system and that optimization to trim costs in Citrus eights would be critical to submitting a successful bid.

When developing a proposal, bidders should know collection route productivity and other system costs in detail. From its history serving Citrus Heights, Sacramento County already had time measurements from routes in that area. Using software manufactured by RouteSmart, Columbia, Md., the county compared routing scenarios. The bid team used this data to compare different work shifts and routing.

The county decided to "direct dump" Citrus Heights' refuse, greenwaste and recyclables. The North Area Transfer Station (NATS), which serves the public and commercial haulers in addition to WMRD collection trucks, is only three miles from Citrus Heights and uses an AMFAB compactor for roughly 400 tons per day.

The facility has an open-top transfer chute in the back. The team determined that the Citrus Heights system would be most competitive if the gravity chute was used for direct dumping of targeted loads rather than dealing with processing through the station with the rest of the public and commercial users.

Optimizing Citrus Heights' System The bid team's optimization strategies included:

*Changing to four 10-hour workdays for the CHSG.

*Establishing minimum productivity (higher than average) for service area.

*Using temporary employees during peak demand periods.

*Using reserve labor as needed. *Cross-training operators.

*Using NATS to maximize on-route time.

*Establishing driver safety incentives.

*Using only one supervisor per service area for all collection services.

*Minimizing backyard pickups, overtime and lost time due to equipment downtime. The equipment optimization strategies included:

*Using other trucks in county system for backup.

*Crediting truck salvage values annually.

*Getting guaranteed maintenance costs and fleet availability from a maintenance service provider.

WMRD, satisfied with the Heil 7000, 26-cubic-yard, Peterbilt chassis trucks, had ordered seven new units. These trucks were to be delivered around the bid time, fulfilling the RFP's new truck requirement.

Public Sector Contracts In managed competition, it is important to establish subcontracts, or Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), with private subcontractors and internal working groups.

These contracts hold the bidders/ groups to the performance terms and agreed-to costs. Internal providers should share the responsibility to the proposed budget.

In the CHSG's case, the group intends to establish the MOU internally with the county for:

*county equipment;

*maintenance group for vehicle maintenance services;

*county utility billing services;

*public education; and

*transfer (reload) services for refuse, recyclables and greenwaste.

Equipment maintenance, utility billing and support groups in the WMRD for public education and transfer services were key bid elements.

During bid development, the county submitted cost proposals for the services and worked directly with the bid team to develop strategies and sell the services in the proposal.

The county also established agreements with subcontractors for transfer hauling, processing and marketing mixed recyclable and green waste. The contracts were competitively bid, which enhanced CHSG's proposal.

The county was able to start this process before the Citrus Heights bid because it already was implementing green waste programs and planned to change the curbside program from using three bins to a commingled, automated collection can system.

This additional step meant securing bids from the subcontractors to supply the transfer haul services using the county's North Area Station. The bids from subcontractors for transfer were less than the WMRD transfer haul costs, and therefore, the cost of direct dumping into subcontractor transfer trucks at NATS for greenwaste and recyclables was used in the bid.

Bid Proposal and Presentation The bid proposal and presentation included graphics and a detailed description of the services provided. The strong points included:

*Service satisfaction. According to surveys, 88.9 percent of Citrus Heights residences rated its current WMRD service as "good" or "excellent" - which exceeded a national survey indicating 77 percent customer satisfaction.

*Proven programs. The processing and marketing strategies for recycling were presented by the subcontractors and based on existing proven and competitively bid programs.

*Community involvement. If the city contracted with CHSG, it would retain jobs for its residents in the CHSG and with the can supplier.

*Low-cost options. The bid proposal contained lower cost options for used containers and bi-weekly recyclable collection.

*Convenient, efficient integrated billing. The county utility billing section proposed one bill that included other county services and presented a comprehensive quality-monitoring program.

*Education programs. WMRD proposed award-winning education programs with a detailed program description and schedule.

*Diversion. CHSG detailed how the 50 percent diversion goal would be exceeded.

The Results Come In Out of the three bids Citrus Heights received, CHSG's proposal offered the best quality at the lowest price. CHSG's bid was approximately 10 percent less than the next lowest bidder for the 60-gallon container. The CHSG also was the lowest of all four RFP cases comparing the 7-year present values of the bids.

The major optimization strategies taken when developing the bid became the winning factor: Switching from five 8-hour days to four 10-hour days, which eliminated one route, and using NATS in the resulting routing yielded savings of approximately $1.30 per household per month.

Other factors that made CHSG's bid leader of the pack included:

*minimal transition (since CHSG was the current provider);

*assistance in preparing AB 939 documents;

*two additional lower-cost options; and

*use of the county household hazardous waste drop-off facilities. In March 1998, the Citrus Heights city council awarded its solid waste contract to CHSG.

Sacramento County's bid in Citrus Heights is another addition to the growing list of public entities that have faced managed competition and have come out on top.

By using a detailed approach to making systems efficient, benchmarking against the competition and preparing a professional, comprehensive proposal, the public sector can compete - and win - in this ever-increasing competitive industry.

CHSG = Citrus Heights Service Group WMRD = County system as a whole

Refuse trucks *CHSG: 8 refuse fully automated Heil 7000, 26 cubic yard. Recyclables: same (5 trucks) green (3 trucks).

*WMRD: 112 full automated refuse vehicles. It uses a variety of other vehicles including rear loaders, claws and light vehicles.

Containers *CHSG: 74,000 38/60/90 fully automated carts (RRS Industries).

*WMRD: 420,000 38/60/90 automated carts (RRS Industries).

Customers *CHSG: 22,000 residential; 4,000 multi-family. *WMRD: 138,000 residential; 16,000 multi-family.

Services CHSG: Residential refuse/ recyclable/green waste collection processing and disposal.

WMRD: residential refuse/recycling/green waste collection. The county also owns and operates a 4,000 ton-per-day landfill (Kiefer Rd.) and two transfer stations. Commercial refuse collection is provided by 12 permitted commercial haulers.

Employees CHSG: 16 full time. WMRD: 303 full time - 203 in collection operation.

Service area *CHSG: 13 square miles. *WMRD: 866 square miles.

Local tipping fee rates: $28.05/ton. 60 gallon rate = $12.90/household/month. WMRD: $14.50/household/month.

1998 Design Contest Winners

As the industry consolidates and becomes more competitive, it's important to pay attention to details - including truck and container designs. A clever logo, eye-catching painting or a sharp photo can be just as important as customer service when building your company's reputation.

The 1998 Design Contest winners were chosen because they had clean, positive images that did not interfere with the overall business message being conveyed. Of the dozens of entries World Wastes received this year, including a photo of "Keiko the Whale," the judges chose the following designs, as they are sure to earn high marks with customers.

Best Overall Design City of Logan, Utah Good ideas can be inexpensive. Working as a city of Logan, Utah, Environmental Health Department volunteer, Nate Smith took an interest in increasing community recycling. So, with fellow Utah State University student, Ryan Olsen, he pitched the idea of painting recycling bins.

The city, which serves approximately 24,000 residential customers and 1,500 commercial accounts, was game. Consequently, Olsen, an art student, sketched proposals with a rainbow trout theme, a predominant sport fish in Logan Canyon streams and northern Utah. Smith went to businesses in the area where the Galbreath recycling bin would be placed, soliciting donations to fund supplies; Mayor Darla Clark provided the paint.

By 1995, the city's first decorated bin, which was located at Mount Logan Middle School, was completed. "The Fish Bin" was so well-received that in spring 1996, department officials and Smith met with the students to brainstorm additional designs.

The Green Tree Frog motif, which Olsen painted along with other front load bins in summer '96, won a majority vote.

Each front-load bin is manufactured locally and has its own theme, such as a pheasant or leaf, according to Roger Sunada, environmental health department director. In addition, Sunada says, "the bins have helped to accentuate community interest in waste reduction, recycling and the environment by becoming landmarks in the community - and the paint is holding up very well."

Best Roll-off/Tilt Frame (Tie) Pacific Coast Recycling, San Jose, Calif. Rolloffs Hawaii Inc., Kaneohe, Hawaii

Father and son team Mike and Carl Salinas are so busy serving their 475 residential, commercial and industrial customers in California's San Francisco Bay, Central Valley, Monterey and the Peninsula areas, they've made work their hobby.

"Not having the time to own a hot rod, I wanted to incorporate a design into a work truck that I could see everyday," says son Carl Salinas, co-owner of Pacific Coast Recycling, San Jose.

Consequently, he hired Heinrichs Auto Painting & Body Repair, San Jose, to paint his 1996 Peterbilt 379 longhood and 500 Caterpillar engine, which was built by Commercial Containers, San Carlitas.

The flame design is not unique to "Pete 3," which is assigned to Christina Actkinson, transportation manager. Several trucks in the company's fleet of 15 trucks and more than 700 containers are decorated.

The company also owns two transfer yards in the Bay area.

Rolloffs Hawaii Inc.'s winning design also resulted from a personal pastime.

Rolloffs' owner Bob Henriques is a pro-street, classic car enthusiast whose personal collection includes several restored 1930s vehicles, such as an original 1939 Ford Firetruck that was restored and converted into a roll-off truck. Several employees at the Kaneohe, Hawaii-based company also are auto enthusiasts, so a few trucks have special artwork in addition to the uniform, custom-painted company lettering and logo.

The artistic design on "Mr. Rolloff," a 1998 Western Star truck and Spartan Truck Equipment body, incorporates a racing theme that was created by employee Blake Medeiros and custom painter Sam Generalao. The truck recently participated in a Waikiki parade, and "the enthusiasm it generated further makes the truck shine and makes it a part of the ohana [family]," says Linda Henriques, vice president.

Attention to detail, including design, is valued by the company. "As a family owned and operated business, we've always made the extra effort to provide prompt and dependable service, and our business has continued to grow," she adds.

What was once a two-truck, 30 roll-off bin business formed in 1978, now comprises 19 roll-off trucks and four front loaders that serve construction, commercial, industrial, residential and municipal accounts on the island of Oahu.

Best Side Loader City of Visalia, Calif. When creating its side loader truck design, the city of Visalia, Calif., just had to venture outdoors. Located at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Visalia has a history of preserving oak trees. Consequently, the "Twocan Truck" design signifies the area's foothills and trees in a color palette used by many of the city's recycling programs.

Designed in 1994 by department head Roy Springmeyer, local Heil equipment distributor Dick Townley of Ruckstell California Sales, Fresno, and Public Works Manager Fred Cisnero, the split-container truck, along with the split-container system, handles collection of recyclables and refuse in one container and one truck. Together, all the elements complement each other, says Tom Baffa, solid wastes services manager.

Both the mechanics of the 1996 model 320 Peterbilt truck and Heil 33-yard, model 7000 packer body, and the system's design have not gone unnoticed. Solid waste officials worldwide have come to observe the split-container system in use. It also has won several awards, including The California Resource Recovery Association's (CRRA) Innovation in Government Award for having an "innovative industry program" and the League of California Cities Helen Putnam Award for its "quality, environmental partnership."

With its fleet of 30 residential collection vehicles, 12 commercial collection front loaders and five roll-off units, Visalia covers approximately 30 square miles and is responsible for refuse and recyclables collection for 26,000 residential customers and 1,500 businesses.

Best Rear Loader Ace Sanitation Co. Inc., Cliffwood, N.J. "At Ace [Sanitation Co. Inc.], it's more than just a garbage, it's a way of life," says John Glauda, president.

The motto is fitting for this 35-year-old family business. Based in Cliffwood, N.J., Ace has a fleet of 30 Volvo, Peterbilt and Mack trucks that serve more than 16,000 residential customers and 2,000 commercial customers in New Jersey's Monmouth and Middlesex Counties.

The design and lettering for the award-winning rear loader Volvo truck and Leach packer body was created by John Glauda Jr., operations manager, and Ken Navetta, assistant operations manager. All Ace vehicles, including those for service and sales, have uniform designs.

In addition to garnering the attention of World Wastes design contest judges, the fleet's streamlined design and clean appearance has attracted the interest of other industry professionals. Ace has received three first place trophies and one second place trophy at the 1997 U.S. Diesel Trucking Nationals in the "Best Roll Off," "Best Packer Truck," "Best Fleet" and "Best Appearance" categories.

The pictured vehicle is operated and maintained by Danny White.

Best Front Loader Capitol Sanitation Services Hyattsville, Md. Bobby and Dottie Cohen founded Capitol Sanitation Services, Hyattsville, Md., in 1979 with a single, 20-cubic-yard rear loader collection vehicle. When their son Scott took over the business in 1993, he decided to build on the company's name and reputation for service, efficiency and professionalism with a bright, clean color scheme.

The award-winning "Truck 302," a 1998 Heil half-pack, 28-cubic-yard dump style refuse body mounted on a 1998 Mack MR688S cab, and chassis, features a tri-color design and the U.S. Capitol building to play off the company's name and service area. Capitol services the District of Columbia, northern Virginia and Maryland's Montgomery and Prince George Counties.

According to Cohen, all 12 vehicles in Capitol's fleet, including roll-off dumpsters and front loader trucks, have uniform artwork to promote employee pride and customer confidence in the company.

Best Sweeper Sweeping Plus Corp. Maspeth, N.Y. Sweeping Plus Corp., Maspeth, N.Y., knows the importance of a squeaky clean image. The company keeps areas looking beautiful by sweeping parking lots, roadways and landscapes.

In accordance with its business, Sweeping Plus wanted its trucks to depict cleanliness with bright colors and a sleek design. Thus, Michael Christina, president, commissioned the first truck artwork in 1993.

While it specializes in sweeping parking garages, the company is building its business and reputation by adding shopping centers, malls, hospitals and carnivals to its client base. All vehicles, including six sweepers with GMC or Ford trucks and Swartz or Tymco bodies, have uniform designs.

Best Vacuum Tank Truck US Liquids, Ft. Worth, Texas

When you're the new kid on the block, people take notice. US Liquids, Ft. Worth, Texas, went public in August 1997, so its image and design is very important.

Operating a fleet of approximately 175 vehicles that collects non-hazardous liquid waste from restaurants, car washes, vehicle repair facilities and wastewater from industrial manufacturing processes, the company transports waste to treatment facilities in Texas cities such as Houston, San Antonio, Austin and Dallas, and across the state line to Shreveport, La.

The contest winner, a 1998 Kenworth model T800B powered by a 500 horsepower Cummins N14 engine, has a paint scheme and design created by the company's transportation department employees.

The container and bed is a Dominator, which was built and designed at Keith Huber Inc., Gulfport, Miss.