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Articles from 1997 In August


Diverse And Conquer

With a great deal of elbow grease and an open mind, a stand-alone C&D recycling center can be not only profitable, but rewarding. The key word to remember is "diversification." If you diversify operations, you stay flexible. If you stay flexible, you remain in business.

Ocean County Recycling is a C&D recycling center located on 20 acres in Toms River, N.J. Currently, the company accepts three types of debris and manufacture 16 products. Integrating various facets of the construction materials industry into the business has helped the company evolve into a prosperous recycling center.

Opening a contracting company in 1978 proved to be integral to the C&D recycling center's success.

While this business expanded into a 150-person operation, the turning point occurred with

the purchase of a concrete crushing operation. This gave the company a competitive edge. Now, it was capable of manufacturing a product that could be used in the business, while it had a low-cost disposal method for all the mistakes.

Twelve years after the contracting business began, the Northeast's economy went flat, and it seemed as if every contractor in New Jersey was bidding on the same job at prices that were just over cost. The history of the construction business shows similar downturns nearly every six years. Finding new business niches became necessary to keep afloat. One area that was identified (that didn't have much competition) was concrete recycling and with some effort, this became a viable venture.

The company diversified in four areas: equipment, labor, product and business ventures.

Flexible Equipment Buying a specific machine and hiring labor for each different product manufactured can price a company out of the market.

Using one piece of equipment for a number of applications is more economical. By increasing equipment capabilities, a recycling company can avoid high capital investment and labor costs.

To increase our equipment capabilities, consider simple innovations such as combining different screen sizes in a machine to produce various products.

For example, in a tub grinder, two quarter-moon screens are at the bottom of the tub. By keeping two 2" screens in the tub while processing stumps, a uniform landscape mulch is produced that is accepted widely by nurseries and landscaping contractors.

By replacing those 2" screens with one 1" screen and one 51/48" screen, a material is produced that can be tilled into sandy soils in order to add organics to dead soil and grow grass or plant shrubs.

Also, integrating several pieces of equipment often increases the efficiency of the individual machinery. For example, place a trommel screen in tandem with a tub grinder to produce two completely different products, mulch and topsoil, without the burden of moving by-products twice.

Remember to consider logistics when setting up equipment, however. Keep the loaders at the facility close to every product that they are involved with, thus reducing travel time and the need for additional equipment.

For instance, when one loader is supplying the front-end material for topsoil and mulch operation, position it no further than 50 feet from loading a truck with the end product from your concrete crushing operation.

Cross-Trained Labor Training individuals to be knowledgeable about all of the facets of this business is the key to labor diversification - a practice defined as "cross training."

Employing individuals who are able to operate different types of equipment and handle various aspects of the business increases a company's efficiency and reduces the need to hire additional labor as it expands into new areas.

Hiring individuals with diverse capabilities and business knowledge helps the operation run smoothly. This is vital when a position is vacated or left unattended.

When this situation occurs, the diverse labor force can be shuffled around to ensure that all bases are covered.

Product Expansion Beware: During certain times of the year, particular products are more in demand than others.

It is not a good business practice to use all of the profits from one manufacturing operation to drift through a period of slow sales and make it to the next peak sales period. Manufacturing supplemental products during this time produces added revenue and stable cash flow.

Seek new markets for your products. As the recycling market becomes increasingly saturated, such ventures are essential.

Business ventures The root mulch market is not your only option for the trees and stumps. When the company attempted to increase the customer base, the answers from end users were always the same: either "I'm getting this material for such-and-such dollars. How much cheaper is yours?" or "This is how much I'm going to pay you. Take it or leave it."

As competition increased, however, the company had to find new business ventures.

After sorting through a variety of information, the company discovered a Canadian firm that was producing a bio-fuel from bio-mass or wood-based material - a possible market for wood products.

At the time, it was only using bio-mass, but after negotiations, the company became its United States partner, guaranteeing at least 11 initial plants in the States.

We now had a new market for our tree stumps and wood.

However, a new problem arose. Although the one plant could meet the demand, it was doubtful that the other plants would provide enough material. In order to run efficiently, each plant required 100 tons per day (tpd) of bone-dry wood, which equates to between 150 and 175 tpd of clean stumps, trees or wood.

Through an agreement with New Jersey-based Stevens Institute of Technology, the company began using a method of decontaminating chemically-treated wood and returning it to its original state. It found a stable market - utility and railroad companies with telephone poles and railroad ties - and cultivated a relationship with a major university that would provide knowledge and assistance in developing new products and ideas.

Within the last year, the company had entered into partnerships with three professionals who have expertise in distinct areas.

The first partner's expertise is in the waste industry; he has developed waste-to-energy plants in Florida and New York and is very knowledgeable about the co-generation field, an area to potentially sell the bio-fuel product.

His brother, with a financial and legal background, will assist in obtaining grants from the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense, both of which are interested in the company's technology to decontaminate wood.

The third partner owns a large environmental engineering firm. He will be a vital force in designing the machine needed to implement the company's wood-decontaminating technology.

And, after entering into an agreement with another Canadian firm that recycles tires, the company has adapted a machine that had been developed only to process tires into one that is capable of processing plastics, telephone wire and other materials into reusable products.

The Road To Success Each of the components has been integral to diversification: They interact and affect one another. For example, equipment diversification reduced labor needs, and product diversification was the catalyst for new business ventures.

Most of the ideas originated out of necessity. By applying ingenuity and industry savvy to new ventures, other companies can create their own diversification plans.

What does the Construction Materials Recycling Association (CMRA) do? Its board of directors held its initial meeting in Chicago in May and set these goals: * CMRA will gather all literature and research on recycled C&D products, identify the holes present in this research and instigate credible research, if necessary. This research will give recyclers the ammunition needed to prove their products' applicability.

* CMRA will investigate where - and if - C&D recyclers fit into the federal SIC codes. This determination will help entities, such as zoning officers and insurance companies, place the C&D industry in a favorable niche.

* James McElvenny, the board's vice president, will head the establishment of an industry web page.

* A survey will be conducted to record in-depth information on each member company, such as types of material handled, equipment and willingness to move the equipment and do joint ventures with other companies.

* The Construction Materials Recycling Seminar, which serves as the annual meeting, will be held October 5-8, 1997 in Minneapolis.

Civil Service Statute Upheld In Hawaii

A county violated state civil service laws when it privatized the operation of a landfill, thereby displacing government employees who had worked at a predecessor facility. As a result, the contract between the county and the private operator is void, and the landfill operation must be transferred back to the county (Jack T. Konno v. County of Hawaii, et al., No. 18203, Hawaii Supreme Ct., Feb. 28, 1997).

For many years, the county of Hawaii owned two landfills and operated them with county workers. Then, in 1991, county officials considered constructing and operating a new landfill using a private contractor.

The labor union that represents public employees in the state agreed to outside help in constructing the new facility, but opposed private operation. The privatization effort stalled until late 1992 when the county administration changed hands. Thereupon, the county went forward with privatizing construction, operation and closure of the new landfill. After competitive bidding, it awarded the contract to Waste Management of Hawaii in April 1993.

County officials did not seek certification from the personnel director or from the civil service commission that the worker positions at the new landfill could not be filled through normal civil service procedures. In addition, the county did not consider the privatization decision to be subject to mandatory bargaining. Instead, the 10 landfill workers who were affected by the privatization were given the choice of either resigning from the government and working for the contractor or working at other civil service jobs.

In May 1993, the union filed a lawsuit in a state court claiming that the county had violated merit principles and civil service law and requesting damages and an injunction. Waste Management joined the suit on the side of the county.

After holding hearings, the court in mid-1994 ruled in favor of the county and upheld the contract's validity. (The union also filed a complaint with the state labor relations board on various collective bargaining issues not directly related to the contract's legality.)

On appeal, the Hawaii Supreme Court addressed the policies behind privatization and civil service, and examined the approaches taken by courts in other states. The court concluded that the state's civil service laws were intended to cover work that has been "customarily and historically provided by civil servants."

The court found that the workers at the new landfill performed, for the most part, the same duties as the employees at the old landfill who held civil service positions.

The landfill workers at the new site "are performing a service that has been customarily and historically provided by civil servants," the court said. As the legislature did not expressly exclude the privatization process from coverage, the landfill worker positions are "still within the civil service," the opinion concluded.

The high court overturned the circuit court's decision and sent the case back with instructions to enter a judgment in favor of the union and to issue an injunction barring private operation of the landfill. However, the circuit court also was directed to oversee the transition to county operation "consistent with practical and public interest concerns."

In the same vein, the California Supreme Court has ruled that the state cannot hire private companies for work that civil servants can perform (Professional Engineers in California Government v. Dept. Of Transportation, No. S042591, May 15, 1997).

The ruling - which state officials say will delay nearly $500 million in future transportation projects - nevertheless allows the state to contract out whenever it can show that private companies can do the work more cheaply, that state employees lack the ability or that an emergency exists and public safety is at stake.

The high court said that state officials failed to support their claim that restrictions on private contracting create additional expense or safety risks.

Under a state constitution provision adopted in the 1930s, the state must use civil service employees whenever possible. State engineers, invoking the constitutional requirement, convinced a Sacramento judge to issue an injunction in 1990 restricting the ability of the Department of Transportation to award private contracts.

After the injunction took effect, state lawmakers passed a bill that called for more private contracting on road construction projects. California Governor Pete Wilson pointed to that law when he refused to obey the injunction, and an intermediate appeals court sided with him.

Overturning the appellate decision, the supreme court, by a five-to-two margin, found that the state law conflicted with the California constitution and was adopted without sufficient evidence that private contracting was necessary.

Rock, Paper And Slivers

Every recycled commodity is a story. In fact, processing facility operators are writing new chapters every day. Lessons learned be-come the springboards to new methods, increased efficiencies and ultimately more profit.

Four of those new chapters follow, each spiced with the experiences from the past. While every story is different, they all contain a common element: innovative people aimed at improving their operation.

Prepping Paper In The Desert McKinley Recycling, Albuquerque, N.M., is on a mission to process mixed office paper and old corrugated cardboard (OCC) into the cleanest possible feedstock for its parent company's mill, McKinley Paper Co., Prewitt, N.M.

Just opened in June, this is the second recovered fiber plant owned by Australia-based Amcor in the United States.

McKinley Re-cycling of Phoenix also supplies the mill, which makes linerboard from the OCC. The of-fice paper is sold separately.

To ensure quality paper with low processing costs, McKinley Recy-cling installed two fiber sorting systems and a baler infeed conveyor.

"We were looking for something that could process primarily OCC and office paper," says David Anderson, general manager.

OCC is separated mechanically from the office paper using an incline conveyor to feed into an OCC Sep-arator, manufactured Bulk Handling Systems, Eugene, Ore., which separates the smaller paper from the OCC.

Next, fines and contaminants are removed by a Debris Roll Screen, also made by Bulk Handling, on the office paper sort line. Bottle caps, dirt and other debris are shaken out of the paper, according to Anderson. Then, the office paper is sorted by hand into different grades.

The processing capacity is 20 tons per hour (tph) and the equipment fits nicely into the 30,000-square-foot building which stands on six acres.

McKinley Recycling employs 25 people and runs one eight-hour shift daily. Due to the mechanized sorting system, Anderson doesn't have to maintain a large sorting staff and thus saves on overhead costs. How-ever, as the paper volume increases, more staff will be added, Anderson notes.

OCC is baled and loaded onto rail cars for transport to the company's mill. The office paper is sorted into "computer printout," "white ledger" and "office paper" categories before baled.

Although just getting started, An-derson is pleased that there have been no quality problems. "So far, so good," he says.

As for the office paper and OCC sources, Anderson says they primarily work with print shops, offices and manufacturers throughout New Mexico. McKinley provides some collection service using Bobtails and tractor trailers.

Independent haulers also supply the facility.

The operation is designed to keep the mill's raw ma-terial costs to a minimum, Ander-son says.

MRFing In The Mountains South Lake Tahoe Refuse company, a multi-million-dollar collection and processing operation, has provided service for the resort hills of South Lake Tahoe and El Dorado, Calif., and the casino-laden Douglas County, Nev., since 1962.

This long-term relationship be-tween the customer and hauler proved vital to the areas' compliance with California AB 939. Working hand-in-hand with South Lake Tahoe Refuse, the cities developed a plan to meet the 25 percent recycling requirement by 1995. Douglas County also chose to work with the California cities and to offer recycling opportunities through the company.

The challenges to this partnership were many: curbless, hilly terrain; seasonal residents; and a customer base that spanned two states with differing attitudes on recycling.

To overcome the glitches, the city of South Lake Tahoe, El Dorado and Douglas County formed the South Lake Tahoe Waste Management Auth-ority, a regulatory governing panel established to oversee the management of the cities' and county's solid waste and recycling program. A voting representative from each of three service areas dictates any service change, and the vote must be unanimous.

The board members agreed with South Lake Tahoe Refuse general manager, Jeff Tillman's proposal of conducting a feasibility study on the options to comply with AB 939.

The study evaluated two recycling methods: curbside collection of multiple materials and a "dirty" material recovery facility (MRF). The dirty MRF option was selected by the authority, in part, because of an "unlimited" service agreement with the California resort areas which allows households to throw as much refuse away as they choose, a tactic designed to discourage illegal dumping in the forests.

Also, due to the area's "unsteady," seasonal customer base that required easy refuse collection, Tillman and the authority concluded that a dirty MRF system would work the best, "guaranteeing 100 percent participation," according to Tillman.

An added bonus to choosing the dirty MRF system was that it would allow the company to re-spond to changing market de-mand for material.

In 1995, the company invested $2 million to build and equip the MRF while its 30,000-household customer base extended the current franchise agreement 25 additional service years. Tillman believes that the guaranteed tonnage will cover the company's investment.

In the summer, vacationers generate 350 tons per day (tpd), requiring two daily shifts. However, in the winter, the pace slows to 150 tpd and one operating shift.

What Tillman refers to as "a simple MRF," is actually 28,000-square-feet of building and processing equipment on a five-acre site. After visiting other MRFs for brainstorming, Tillman installed a sorting line with bunkers and purchased an HRB 918 two-ram model baler, which is used for all recyclables.

To collect the refuse from the 32-gallon residential containers, Tillman maintains a fleet of seven four-wheel drive, one-ton fork trucks to traverse the hilly and snowy terrain.

Tillman also operates with Peterbuilt 42-yard front-loaders with Maxon bodies. Back at the MRF, the 4WD trucks empty the contents onto an open floor and a front loader pushes the materials onto an incline conveyor.

During meetings and through on-line training, employees are instructed on which materials to pick out. Currently, employees hand-sort corrugated cardboard, old newsprint, magazines, glass bottles, three types of plastic, aluminum and tin cans.

On the floor, they sort out ferrous metals including white goods and steel, in addition to wood waste and construction and demolition debris.

Additional pieces of equipment - such as small conveyers to transport plastic into drop boxes - are being added to give the cities more opportunities to maximize recovery. "This opens up two extra bunkers for sorting more paper products," Tillman says. "Allocating these bunkers for plastic was an inefficient use of space because it took a while to fill up."

After all the sorting is complete, bales are prepared and delivered to various end users or brokers. Residue - food waste, non-recyclables and unrecoverable materials - are packed and transported to the Story County (Nev.) Regional Landfill, where the company has a 60-year disposal contract.

The MRF uses an Amfab TransPak pre-load compactor (Harris Waste Management Group Inc., Peachtree City, Ga.). According to Tillman, the compactor has eliminated the necessity of heavy duty trucks.

"We've gone from 45 minutes loading time per truck to only five minutes," he says. The new system packs 24 tons per load, greatly reducing landfill trips.

So far, Tillman says the diversion rate has hit a 28 percent high - a percentage achieved without any customer rate increases. As for the future, Tillman says they must "regroup and discuss the plan to reach 50 percent recycling by the year 2000."

In addition to setting sights on a wood waste mulching project, he reports that South Lake Tahoe Refuse will continue to look for new and unusual items to pull from the waste stream.

"We've found pine needles make great erosion control material," he says. "We bale them and place them around Lake Tahoe as a substitute for hay. The problem is supply can't keep up with demand."

Processing, Canadian-Style While planning to expand operations, Salish Disposal, a 200-tpd combination transfer station and recycling facility based in Abbotsford, British Columbia, set goals to increase efficiency and reduce pollution.

This construction and demolition (C&D) waste and municipal solid waste processor originally used a pair of diesel-powered, hydraulic excavators equipped with buckets to move and load material onsite, but that method, according to co-owner Don Mayhew Jr., generated fumes. "Here in the valley, we are concerned about air quality," he says.

Also, Salish needed to streamline its workforce of six manual laborers into a more productive shift.

To minimize pollution, Mayhew and his partner, Murry Blackham, purchased three electric-powered Builtrite Model 2100, pedestal-mounted material handlers from Northshore Manufacturing, Two Harbors, Minn., to pick, sort and load out the incoming waste.

"There would be virtually no fumes generated and the motors would be quieter, " Mayhew says.

To further improve the handlers' ability to pick and sort, the manufacturer provided a special grapple which rotates to allows operators to grab and sweep material on the tipping floor.

To maximize recovery rates, Salish's pickups are routed to segregate material within the packer truck - a process that makes sorting on the tipping floor faster and more efficient. After the waste is dumped onto the tipping floor, two of the handlers will pick the pile apart to grab the recyclables (wood waste, cardboard, paper and some industrial-grade plastics and metal) and set them into separate piles. The remainder - all the non-recyclables - is passed to the third handler which, in turn, loads containers designated for landfill delivery.

Because the Vancouver-area's water table is high, landfill space is at a premium. Therefore, material that cannot be recycled at Salish is sent to a landfill in Roosevelt, Wash.

Salish reports excellent recovery rates - as high as 90 percent for much of the C&D waste processed. "We see a good deal of wood and other C&D waste through this facility," says Mayhew.

The shredded material is sold to Canadian Forest Products for manufacturing pressed board. The roofing material is processed in a trommel screen where the gravel is shaken off the shingles, drops through the screen and is sent for reuse in new shingle manufacture.

Similarly, concrete is pulled out, run through a crusher and then sold for road base material. The rebar is separated magnetically and recycled.

Since becoming fully operational in May 1997, the results have been impressive, Mayhew says. "We were able to reduce the manpower by half, yet we still saw an upturn in processing capability. We upped our production by about 60 tpd, even with the reduced workforce."

Salish's future looks as promising as the operation itself. "We built this site with expandability in mind," he says. "We currently run six days a week, 12 hours a day. However, we hope to bring some additional haulers on board which should get us up to a 24-hour-a-day operation."

A Glassy Operation Glass Recycling Group (GRG), Salt Lake City is able to cost-effectively turn contaminated waste glass into a salable product which might soon be used to make kitchen countertops that look like marble.

GRG is supplying Columbia University, New York, with processed glass for research and development of such a product, according to Richard Leonard, GRG's principal.

The company has set up shop inside Western Fiberglass' plant in Salt Lake where it will be recycling local waste glass which Western Fiberglass will use to make fiberglass. GRG has developed a glass grinding system that can be used by any MRF, Leonard says.

The system allows GRG to screen paper and other contaminants from the glass, producing a usable product for multiple applications, including pottery, partitions and as a cement substitute.

Next, Leonard plans to take this mobile pulverizing system into communities. "From the start, we needed something portable," he says. "One problem with recycling glass has been the expense of setting up facilities, and the expense of transporting the glass to that facility.

"The shipping costs just eat the profits due to the weight of the glass," he continues. "We decided to develop a system which could be set up in every community, however it is needed," he explains. "The whole process can fit on a 40-foot trailer."

The system allows GRG to not only process glass bottles, but plate and windshield glass. For fine grind, the processing capacity is five tph and 15 tph for cullet. GRG added the equipment earlier this year and so far, it is processing 60 tons per month (tpm). Leonard hopes that figure will go to 100 tpm soon.

"New end uses of waste glass are being identified continually. We want to be able to provide these new uses with a clean usable product," says Leonard. Soon, GRG will be grinding local waste glass for Owens Corning. With the contamination issue nearly moot, the residentially collected glass now is fair game.

Leonard hopes to link up with MRFs and municipally-owned drop-off sites for more container glass. GRG has taken a step in that direction by establishing a drop-off site on its parking lot for container glass delivered by independent haulers. Leonard hopes that more MRFs will be interested in supplying GRG with glass residue rather than paying to landfill it. Local tip fees are $22 per ton.

In addition to continuing the research and development with Columbia, targeting hotels in Las Vegas for container glass collection is next on the list, says Leonard. Also, CRT screen recycling is a possibility. A facility in Eloy, Ariz., at another Western Fiberglass is planned.

"I hope to move glass recycling forward by lowering costs, increasing efficiency and providing income to each MRF that recycles glass," Leonard says.

landfills: Growing Up, Not Out

When you need the space, which way do you go: up or out? That was the question faced by one Florida county landfill.

The problem? Located along Florida's west coast, Charlotte County has experienced growing numbers of retirees moving into its community, increasing the demands on roads, utilities and its Zemel Road Landfill.

Faced with deciding how to provide additional landfill capacity, the county had to determine which was the more cost effective way to add to the facility's life span: vertical or horizontal expansion. The original operating and closure permit limited the site to 98 feet at closure with final grades of 10:1 slopes.

The county, with the help of Tampa, Fla.-based HDR Engineering Inc. conducted an elevation study which concluded that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) would consider a five year landfill permit renewal application, allowing an increased landfill elevation to 130 feet with a 3:1 slope.

Using Zemel's contour data - provided by a construction quality, aerial survey - the consultants compared Zemel's permitted design for Phase I and II with the alternative design, specifically the landfill's remaining volumes at 98 feet versus the proposed elevation of 130 feet. (Three-to-one side slopes and 20-foot-wide terraces were assumed.) In addition, the data was compared against the landfill volumes already effectively used, as noted by the topographic survey.

Based on these results, Zemel's remaining life was estimated with assumptions of per capita waste generation (6.9 pounds per person per day), current county recycling rates (40 percent), assumed compaction density (1,200 pounds per cubic yard) and final top elevation. These assumptions also were used in the county's closure financial responsibility report to the FDEP for 1996.

The report concluded several potential advantages to modifying the landfill's design: * Increased landfill life. Increasing the landfill's elevation to 130 feet at closure would increase Zemel's life span to the year 2020 - 11 years more than the original projections.

* Environmental benefits. Increasing the elevation to 130 feet will not require expanding the landfill's footprint, which, compared to expanding the existing cell, would minimize the stormwater and wetlands impact on an adjacent parcel.

* Construction and capital cost savings. Reconfiguring the existing footprint would require minimal capital construction costs as Zemel would be filled daily as part of the overall design.

Expanding onto an adjacent county owned site, however, would require construction of at least a 100-acre, double lined landfill cell, with costs estimated between $18 million and $22 million. This new cell also would require bond funding with an additional fund reserve account, underwriting costs, payments for municipal bond insurance, etc.

* Develop capital reserve account with additional landfill capacity. The county's existing bond payments for Zemel (slurry wall, leachate treatment plant and injection well) will end in 2011. Debt service is approximately $1 million per year, paid from tipping fees.

So, instead of reducing tipping fees in 2011, the county could deposit the amounts previously paid for debt service into a reserve account collecting interest for eight years, until landfill expansion ultimately would be required.

* Spread landfill closure costs over additional years. The county's budget department typically places additional funds into the landfill's closure account to pay for long-term maintenance, as required by FDEP.

With the new landfill projections, the county could defer payments into this account for several years or spread the needed payments over the 11 additional years.

While not every landfill design study can result in large cost savings, public landfills should evaluate design options which may result in improved economics and enhanced landfill life.

"Thinking out of the box" in Charlotte County resulted in construction cost savings which will be passed along to the county's ratepayers in terms of reduced long term disposal costs and capital expenditures.

Landfilling Hazwastes Declines 3 Percent MINNEAPOLIS - For the second year running, hazardous wastes landfills report a drop in the amount of waste received, according to Minneapolis-based Environmental Information Ltd.'s (EI) annual survey of hazardous waste landfills.

In 1996, the 21 permitted and operating landfills in the United States and Canada took in approximately 2.63 million cubic yards of hazardous wastes - almost 3 percent less than they received in 1995. Prices for both bulk materials and drummed waste decreased accordingly, and operators indicated that they do not expect a firming in the market this year.

With the opening of a new Sub-title C landfill last February by Waste Control Specialist, this already competitive market is experiencing increased competition. All told, 22 facilities are battling for a total waste stream that is unlikely to grow in 1997, the report continues.

"Excess capacity is inherent to the landfill business because of the way such facilities are permitted and constructed," says EI's chief analyst, Cary Perket. "The real issue is that the companies have allowed competitive forces to drive prices below levels that provide shareholders with a reasonable return on investments, even when those investments have been devalued."

The survey results as well as follow -up interviews show that the landfills are being dramatically affected by actions the industry is not taking, such as generating lots of landfillable waste or cleaning up contamination.

The bottom line, according to the report, is that a boost in the number of remediation jobs is the only realistic source of additional landfillable hazardous waste - namely, contaminated soil.

The vast majority of operators indicate that the industry is still holding off on cleanups and several tied their fortunes to developments in the ongoing debate about how to reauthorize the Superfund program, the report reveals.

"The EPA is clearly backing away from stringent cleanup standards," EI's lead researcher Michael Welch says. "No environmental manager wants to be in a position down the road of explaining to corporate why he or she contracted a cleanup that now isn't necessary.

"So, even though prices are low and getting lower for landfilling, it's not surprising that cleanups are on hold pending new, less demanding requirements," he says.

Handling Med Wastes: Regs On the Rise WEST CALDWELL, N.J. - Although a few states regulate sharps disposal in residential areas, household medical wastes generally are not regulated. However, many states, such as New York, Arizona and Wisconsin are considering regulations - particularly sharps disposal - and may adopt new programs to protect solid waste workers.

New York began a pilot program in 1995 to encourage the use of puncture resistant containers for needle disposal. Ultimately, the state's Department of Health hopes to be able to draft legislation for household medical waste disposal.

A similar, voluntary program has existed in Pasco County, Fla., since 1992. Sponsored by seven major healthcare facilities and administered by the county, approximately 14,000 residents can dispose of household-generated sharps in free containers. Since the program began, sanitation workers experiencing needlesticks have been reduced to zero.

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, 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.

legislation: Bringing In Outsiders Gives Family Business A Boost

At an upper Midwest waste handling firm, the business is a family affair. G.L., the 68-year-old found-er and owner has three sons and a son-in-law who are all active in the business.

In addition to the family members, there's Howard, the chief financial officer (CFO). While Howard understands that he will never have any equity stake in the family business, this CFO has a lot to be happy about: annual profit-based bonuses and a chance to lead the company's next generation executive team. Howard is the same age as G.L.'s middle son.

The waste firm seems to have handled one of the challenges that family-owned business face: motivating and rewarding key, non-family employees without surrendering ownership.

Many family firms could not grow or survive without outside help. Some company founders sooner or later realize that their heirs have no interest in or aptitude for the business. Others may want to bring in aggressive sales people or, just for variety, new blood.

Fortunately for many small- and medium-sized companies, within and outside the waste management field, attracting outside talent has not been difficult. "It's almost a buyers' market because of all the downsizings by public companies," says a consultant who specializes in family-owned businesses.

The bigger challenge is keeping key non-family employees motivated. Public companies accomplish this by awarding stock or stock options to give employees equity ownership, however small, in the company. Small family firms, however, rarely give away equity to outsiders, fearing the erosion of the family's interests.

"Some families view their ownership as sacred," says a Maryland estate planning lawyer. "They wouldn't dream of giving away 1 percent of the stock to outsiders."

Howard's experience shows that family-owned businesses can comfortably hold on to their equity while allowing senior officers to participate in benefits that family members enjoy.

Howard was working in an accounting firm when G.L.'s company hired him away five years ago. Now, says G.L., the family expects Howard to be "in charge of the executive team" that will succeed him. For his part, Howard says he hasn't any doubt he'll be compensated fairly. In fact, his employment contract provides that, after the trust takes effect, he will receive annual bonuses pegged to a portion of the company profits.

"The arrangement will make sure that [Howard] gets rewards as if he were a shareholder," says G.L.

Not exactly, says Howard. "My bonuses are capped at two times my base salary." So, if company profits soar, he will receive less than family members.

But is Howard complaining? No way. "The owner bends over backwards to make me feel like a family member," he says. "And I do feel like a family member."

Other ways exist to provide such a comfort level, including longer-term bonuses, retirement plan enhancements, generous expense accounts and fringe benefits.

Of course, an easy solution - although, for some firms, it's a matter of principle - is to divest a portion of the stock to outsiders. Jack R., whose family owns a West Coast hauling firm, says he has reduced the total company stake owned by him and his children to 60 percent. For his company, though, letting go of stock was a matter of necessity: Without outside investment, he would not have had enough money to pursue some acquisitions.

Businesses don't necessarily have to surrender stock to create an incentive. Instead, they can "design incentive programs that simulate true equity," says a consultant in the Los Angeles office of Deloitte & Touche. Some companies pretend that certain senior employees own specified numbers of shares.

Then, if the family's real shares appreciate over a defined term, the "shareholder" may collect the cash value of the increase. Closely -held companies would perform an annual appraisal of the stock.

Such phantom-stock plans also can be good incentives. For example, a company might say that if sales reach only 70 percent of a target, then the payoff on the rise in value of the phantom stock will be only 70 percent.

Families can safely delegate daily management to professionals, giving them the tools and freedom to do their job. In turn, these professionals can make a big difference in a business' success.

Acquisitions Canadian Waste Services Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Houston-based USA Waste Services, has acquired one landfill, 13 collection operations and three transfer stations from Waste Management Inc.,Oak Brook, Ill., for $180 million.

City Carton Co., Iowa City, Iowa, has purchased the operations and assets of Waste Management Inc.'s (Oak Brook, Ill.) Midwest Division of Durbin Paper Stock, Rock Island, Ill. This newly-acquired recycling facility will serve Durbin's more than 300 recycling customers.

Agreement Leach Co., Oshkosh, Wis., and Wagon Engineering, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, signed a license and technical assistance agreement under which Wagon will produce and market the Leach 2RII rear loading refuse collection body at Wagon's new Kuala Lumpur manufacturing facility.

Award The Long Island Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers has presented its 1997 Quality of Life Award to the Town of North Hempstead for its newly completed, 1,200 tons-per-day solid waste transfer facility. The new complex features a two-lane drive through tunnel for high speed load out operations and provides for C&D, yard waste and curbside collected recyclabes transfer operations.

Consolidation Superior Services (West Allis, Wis.) has merged its former Lake and Northwest Regions to create the Midwest Region in an effort to streamline the company. The newly created region will be managed by Gary Blacktopp and includes Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois and Missouri .

Contracts Waste Management Inc. (Oak Brook, Ill.) has been awarded a three-year contract to transfer and dispose of 1,750 tons per day of municipal residential waste from the Borough of the Bronx in New York City.

Denver-based Geraghty & Miller Inc., an international environmental and infrastructure firm, has been awarded a contract to provide environmental engineering services including remediation services, compliance monitoring and engineering design.for U.S. Coast Guard facilities I

Fiscal American Disposal Services Inc. (Burr Ridge, Ill.) has closed on a larger credit facility with its bank group increasing the committed amount from $125 million to $200 million. The amended facility will reduce the company's borrowing costs and increase its financial flexibility.

Grant The Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance has awarded the City of Hutchinson, Minn., $100,000 to implement its plan to convert the existing NaturTech (St. Cloud, Minn.) containerized composting system from processing wastewater treatment biosolids to treating source separated organics from businesses, schools and residents.

New Distributor Hi-Rise Recycling Systems Inc. (New York City) has signed an agreement with Ecolo Odor Control Systems (Ontario, Canada) for the right to private label its odor control dispensing system in multistory buildings as Wilkinson Odor Control in the United States.

People Presona Inc. (Waco, Texas), a manufacturer of single-ram balers, has named Michael W. Lockman as its new president. Lockman will manage all aspects of the company's U.S. operations.

Lone Star on the Recycling Frontier

Recycling collection was taking its toll on the city of Plano, Texas. Toiling 10 hours a day, collecting high tonnages, workers were subject to significant injuries. To counteract high workers' compensation costs and to increase collection efficiencies, Plano began to investigate automating their recycling collection.

Innovation is no stranger to Plano which can list a string of "first in Texas" attributes after its name. For example, it was the first to establish a household hazardous waste reuse facility for the general public and the first to operate a composting facility. It also was one of the first cities to provide curbside recycling collection.

The city, which provides residential collection to 52,278 single-family households, already is experienced in automation. In the last five years, it has converted from twice-weekly trash collection using plastic bags to once-weekly trash collection using 95-gallon carts, recyclables with 18-gallon totes and landscape waste with biodegradable bags or manageable piles.

Plano collects recyclables in a two-sort stream (commingled and newspaper/magazines) using a Crane Carrier with a Dempster Recycle-Pak body. The material is taken to the Brown-ing-Ferris Industries Inc. (Houston) Recyclery in Plano for processing.

Touch And Go The city decided to test a semi-automated cart system to collect its recyclables, retrofitting existing trucks.

Several problems occurred during the pilot program. First, to modify the trucks, the city had to remove the front support of the two-sort bin, which caused the entire assembly to flex during the dump cycle, resulting in major and minor cracks to the bin structure.

To solve this problem, the equipment services department used an A.R.E./Otto (Charlotte, N.C.) face plate and completely redesigned and fabricated a system which was placed on the bodies. The new system is 250 pounds lighter, causing less strain on the hydraulic system and less fatigue and stress on the main supports and welds. It handles 32- or 68-gallon containers and doesn't flex while dumping.

This heavy duty unit latches to the cart, and uses two air cylinders which becomes a safety feature if one of the cylinders fails while the cart is in the dump position.

The pilot used 32-gallon containers distributed to 8,000 homes. This size was chosen in anticipation of resistance to a larger container by residents with limited garage storage or alley space.

Residents were surveyed five months into the pilot program; 32 percent reported insufficient capacity with weekly collection. A majority of the rest of the participants said weekly collection would be enough. The average weekly set-out rate increased from 48 to 68 percent.

City-wide implementation of this program would have increased collection costs significantly; route size would have to be reduced, requiring more trucks and personnel. In addition, the 32-gallon cart proved to be less efficient because certain items would not empty during the dump cycle.

Plano replaced the 32-gallon with 68-gallon carts for 1,500 customers. Those requiring weekly collection dropped from 77 to 40 percent with 25 percent requiring twice monthly collection, and 7 percent needing monthly collection.

However, the weekly set-out rate for those with 68-gallon carts was 52 percent compared to 68 percent for customers with the 32-gallon carts. Consequently, collection productivity was improved significantly.

Measuring Results The pilot program's impact on participation and volumes collected was impressive. For example, 29 percent of the participants started recycling for the first time. Plano attributed this to the convenience of the automated system.

Also, commingled tonnages in-creased an average of 14 percent, and newspaper tonnages increased an average of 8 percent.

However, the amount of per weekly set-out decreased from 22.16 pounds to 16.59 pounds which coincides with the increased frequency of set-out and the insufficient capacity.

With the 68-gallon cart, the average participant recycles 24.63 pounds per week (18.94 pounds of newspaper and 5.69 pounds of commingled material). The 68-gallon cart also is more efficient and enables the city to add materials in the future.

Projecting volume increases city-wide would increase diversion from its current 15 percent to 22 percent. Combined with the tonnages from the landscape waste collection and composting program, the city could reach 36 percent diversion, which would save $75,265 in disposal costs.

A ton-for-ton cost avoidance wouldn't be realized, however, since Plano is a member of a regional disposal district and pays a disposal cost based on the percentage of tonnages delivered. Revenue from additional recycling tonnages based on this year's markets would increase by $49,028. The previous year's recyclables would have brought in an additional $293,354.

Using the decrease in workers' compensation it experienced with the conversion to semi-automated trash collection, the city would save $60,875. Obviously, as workers compensation costs reduce, so do the number of man-hours lost due to limited duty or no duty. This would result in an additional $25,631 savings in back-up personnel costs.

On the other side of the balance sheet, the city would have to buy the split carts (using a 10-year funding period) and would have to pay the approximate $2,500 retrofitting cost per truck. Plus, increased participation and volumes would require two new routes.

The cost of providing semi-automated collection city-wide would increase the solid waste budget by $356,522 annually (see chart on page 35). However, savings and increased revenue would offset some of these expenditures.

The program's incremental cost of $145,723 represents a minimal increase compared to the benefits of a 7 percent increase in diversion, improved working conditions, and, most importantly, more satisfied customers.

Over the next few months, the city will test split carts and will evaluate its options in preparation for expansion of the program next fiscal year.

Number and types of refuse trucks: 16 automated refuse. Crane Carrier with Heil Rapid Rail (24 cubic yards).14 Crane Carrier with Dempster Recycle Pak (33 cubic yards). 8 rearloaders for landscape waste and special collections. Crane Carrier with Pakmor 20 cubic yards. 1 boom truck.

Containers: Refuse: 95-gallon, Otto and Rehrig-Pacific. Recycling: 32- & 64-gallon, Otto.

Customers: 52,411 single-family households.Employees: 59.

Service area: fast-growing metropolitan suburb of Dallas.

Services: Recycling; construction and demolotion debris removal and/or recycling; business and industry (commercial waste collection), appliance recycling; household hazardous waste collection.

Local tipping fees: $24.71 per ton at transfer stations and landfills.

recycling: Recycling Lightens Mercury's Load

A little is all it takes to cause major contamination - at least in the case of mercury waste. In fact, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), just a half teaspoon of mercury can pollute an 18-square-mile lake.

As a result, mercury waste disposal is under close scrutiny by federal and state hazardous waste regulators. And one source of mercury waste, fluorescent lamps, is no exception, particularly because of its recycling potential.

Approximately one-half billion fluorescent lamps are discarded annually nationwide. Globally, the 50 tons of mercury used in fluorescent lamps represent only about 0.3 percent of all the mercury released on the planet. But whether or not fluorescent tubes are a major environmental hazard, much is being done "just in case."

In addition to federal hazardous waste regulations, several states have passed their own regulations on discarded lamps. And in states such as California, Illinois, Florida and Minnesota, these rules are even more stringent than their federal counterparts.

Also, new non-mercury lights such as Fusion Lighting's Solar 1000 sulfur lamp or long-life lamps like the 100,000-hour Philips' QL induction lamp help reduce the disposal problem.

The majority of fluorescent lamps use one-fourth to one-third as much energy as incandescent lights and will last approximately 20,000 hours. Typically, they consist of a glass tube coated on the inside with a phosphorous material and with cathodes in the aluminum end caps.

Inside is a small amount of mercury of which a smaller quantity is vaporized. The mercury vapor emits ultraviolet energy when electric current passes though the tube from cathode to cathode. The ultra violet energy passes through the phosphor coating causing the tube to glow. The hazards arise when these lamps are broken during disposal.

Mercury is not the only hazardous material in fluorescent lamps. Until 1979, ballasts contained polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a carcinogenic material and a probable cause of liver damage, skin irritations and reproductive and developmental defects.

One of the several liquid dielectric fluids used to replace PCBs in ballast capacitors after 1979 was di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP). Unfortunately, DEHP also is a probable carcinogen and considered to be a hazardous substance.

After 1985, DEHP was no longer used in ballasts in four-foot fluorescent lamps, but used in ballasts for eight-foot lamps and high-intensity discharge lamps until 1991.

Considering the long life of fluorescent tubes - up to 25 years - ballasts being discarded today are likely to contain PCBs as well as DEHP.

Several options for handling discarded fluorescent lamps and ballasts exist. For example, if a sample lot passes a private lab's Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) test, the tubes can be disposed of as non-hazardous wastes. Those that fail the test, on the other hand, must be sent to a hazardous waste landfill. This is not inexpensive, though - as much as $1 a lamp can be charged depending on the volume and the transport distance involved.

An alternative solution is to recycle and recover the mercury and ballasts. Some companies already are recycling these to prevent future lawsuits since the disposer may become liable if landfill cleanup becomes necessary.

Also, recycling lights is less expensive than either incineration or disposal in a hazardous waste landfill - approximately 30c to 50c for a typical 48-inch fluorescent tube.

Recycling mercury from used lights accounts for only about 5 percent of the fluorescent lamps discarded currently. However, recycling the 500 to 600 million spent lamps annually could recover 34 tons of mercury, 160,000 tons of glass and 3,000 tons of aluminum, according to the Coalition of Lamp Recyclers, Montpelier, Vt.

The recovered phosphorous can be used in tombstones and birdbaths and the recovered mercury can be, among other things, used to make new lamps.

For more information, refer to the EPA Green Light Program's Lighting Upgrade Manual. The manual can be ordered through EPA, 401 M St., S.W. (6202J), Washington, D.C. 20460. (202) 775-6650. Fax: (202) 775-6680. URL: www.epa.gov/dccs/GCDOAR/ waste.html.LS1

Award The Long Island Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers has presented its 1997 Quality of Life Award to the town of North Hempstead for its newly completed, 1,200 tons-per-day solid waste transfer facility. The new complex features a two-lane drive through tunnel and provides for C&D, yard waste and curbside collected recyclabes transfer operations.

Consolidation Superior Services, West Allis, Wis., has merged its former Lake and Northwest Regions to create the Midwest Region. in an effort to streamline the company. The newly created region will be managed by Gary Blacktopp and includes Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois and Missouri .

Contracts Waste Management Inc. (Oak Brook, Ill.) has been awarded a three-year contract to transfer and dispose of 1,750 tons per day of municipal residential waste from the Borough of the Bronx in New York City.

Denver-based Geraghty & Miller Inc., an international environmental and infrastructure firm, has been awarded a contract to provide environmental engineering services including remediation services, compliance monitoring and engineering design.for U.S. Coast Guard facilities I

Fiscal American Disposal Services Inc. (Burr Ridge, Ill.) has closed on a larger credit facility with its bank group increasing the committed amount from $125 million to $200 million. The amended facility will reduce the company's borrowing costs and increase its financial flexibility.

Grant The Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance has awarded the City of Hutchinson, Minn., $100,000 to implement its plan to convert the existing NaturTech (St. Cloud, Minn.) containerized composting system from processing wastewater treatment biosolids to treating source separated organics from businesses, schools and residents.

New Distributor Hi-Rise Recycling Systems Inc. (New York City) has signed an agreement with Ecolo Odor Control Systems (Ontario, Canada) for the right to private label its odor control dispensing system in multistory buildings as Wilkinson Odor Control in the United States.

People Presona Inc. (Waco, Texas), a manufacturer of single-ram balers, has named Michael W. Lockman as its new president. Lockman will manage all aspects of the company's U.S. operations.

PASADENA, CALIF. - Four Northern California communities soon will be putting their waste tires back to work - not on the road, but in the road.

In late June, the California Integrated Waste Management Board, Sacramento, announced funding for four road and trail paving projects that will use a mixture of waste tire rubber and asphalt concrete.

According to the Board, the projects will use tire rubber at a rate of 20 to 30 pounds per ton of asphalt concrete.

The Board hopes that the four grants, totaling $180,000, will help toward its goal of diverting 75 percent of the approximate 3 million waste tires generated annually by the state.

The public works departments in the cities of Richmond and Sacramento will receive $40,000 each, while Sacramento County's Regional Parks, Recreation and Open Space Department and the city/county of San Francisco's Public Works Department will receive $50,000 each.

Funding for the grants came from the Tire Recycling Management Fee, a 25c charge that consumers pay on a new tire purchase.

Contracts Waste Management Inc., Oak Brook, Ill., has been awarded a three-year contract to transfer and dispose of 1,750 tons per day of municipal residential waste from the Borough of the Bronx in New York City.

Denver-based Geraghty & Miller Inc. has been awarded a contract to provide and conduct environmental engineering investigation and remediation services for U.S. Coast Guard facilities

Fiscal American Disposal Services Inc., Burr Ridge, Ill., has closed on a larger credit facility with its bank group increasing the committed amount from $125 million to $200 million.

The amended facility will reduce the company's borrowing costs and increase its financial flexibility.

Grant The Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance has awarded the City of Hutchinson, Minn., $100,000 to implement its plan to convert the existing NaturTech (St. Cloud, Minn.) containerized composting system from processing wastewater treatment biosolids to treating source separated organics from businesses, schools and residents.

New Distributor Hi-Rise Recycling Systems Inc. (New York City) has signed an agreement with Ecolo Odor Control Systems (Ontario, Canada) for the right to private label its odor control dispensing system in multistory buildings as Wilkinson Odor Control in the United States.

People Presona Inc. (Waco, Texas), a manufacturer of single-ram balers, has named Michael W. Lockman as its new president. Lockman will manage all aspects of the company's U.S. operations.

Weigh Up And Pay Up

Private haulers hoping to penetrate closed markets look at it as a marketing crowbar. Haulers that control their markets see it as a looming nightmare of competition.

Municipal solid waste departments believe the issue is a fait accompli, as the privatization movement rumbles on. Commercial customers with light weight trash pray for it, while those with wet, heavy trash wish the idea would dry up and blow away.

Residential customers don't think about it and won't, until it arrives, at which point, they will torture haulers with local political initiatives that will confuse the issues of whether or not to buy on-board scales and dictate what kinds of scales to buy and when.

Municipalities versed in the to-and-fro of political issues probably hold the most realistic views on charging by weight, and some already are testing the waters. At least one - Oakland Park, Fla. - has taken the plunge and installed a charge-by-weight program on its commercial routes.

The results? While the city's collection revenues have declined, collection costs have declined more, while recycling revenues have risen.

Greg Gomez, manager of the mu-nicipal services division, says that he has pushed his superintendent and staff to find and solve the problems related to charging by weight - but as of yet, they can't find any problems to solve.

Ten months after installing the system in June 1996, Gomez was required to give a problem status to the city.

"My report was two paragraphs," he says. "We just didn't have any problems."

Come on? No problems? Gomez ponders the question for a minute and then lights up. "Yes, I made a mistake as the program got un-derway. I forgot that the hand-held computers we use needed backing up. We weren't doing that, and as a result, we lost a day of data downloading."

No big deal. The program got back on line as soon as Gomez discovered the hand-held computers could be set to back up the data automatically during downloading.

Oakland Park is a small municipality with a population of 28,000. It provides full-service solid waste removal and recycling pick-ups for residential single-family homes as well as commercial accounts, which include businesses, condominiums and multi-family housings.

In 1992, it altered its disposal method with a move from landfilling to incinerating. The higher costs of incineration caused the disposal costs to skyrocket.

Additionally, the city's aggressive recycling programs stirred some concerns among commercial condominium and multi-family property managers. "They were recycling like mad, but receiving no benefits in terms of their costs," Gomez says. "We couldn't develop a special fee just for them. In looking at our options, we decided that we had to go to weight-based collections for all our commercial customers."

Gomez searched for charge-by-weight precedents and technologies that he could tailor to the city's operation, but found "no precedents that fit us," he says.

By 1994, sensing that the available technology could be integrated into his operation without causing undue disruptions, Gomez asked LTS Scale Corp., Twinsburg, Ohio to develop a system.

While LTS supplied the scales, Cardinal Scale Manufacturing Co., Webb City, Mo., handled the integration of the software system that connects the reader and the on-board computer.

Cardinal also provided the software that conveys the data from the truck computer into the management and billing offices.

LTS installed static-weighing fork scales on Oakland Park's five front end loaders, which required replacing the existing forks with new ones containing 10K National Type Evaluation Program (NTEP) approved load cells. The standard LTS system includes: a bolt on fork attachment with a multiple flexure design, a junction box, weigh position switch and wash-down capabilities.

System options include: Texas Instruments radio frequency (RF) identification reader, RF identification tags for the containers, a Psion hand-held on-board computer with a cradle, a printer, automatic hydraulic op-eration and software for automatic billing.

Oakland Park purchased the full package with all the options. "We believed automation would prevent errors, possible misuse and delays," Gomez says.

The operation sequence requires the driver to place the container on the scales and energize the hydraulic lift. As this happens, the system takes over. The RF reader checks the tag number on the container and matches the account in the system database. The hydraulic lift raises the container to a "weigh" position and stops. The weight stabilizes, and the system records gross weight. The lift completes the dump sequence, returns to the weigh position and records tare weight.

The cycle ends as the lift returns to a "down" position. The computer automatically calculates the net weight and records it in an on-board computer that connects to the scales through a cradle.

At the end of the route, the driver removes the computer from the truck and plugs it into a cradle in the office to download the data. "You load the transaction file, which is essentially a bunch of scale tickets, into the office system," says Cardinal's Stephen Cole.

"The system then updates all the customer information and generates a series of reports detailing customer activity," he continues. "The office system then generates an ASCII file that the billing department uses to generate invoices."

Oakland Park's Results Ten months into the program, Gomez and his staff reported the results.

The city serves 879 commercial accounts. Of those, 710 - or 74 percent - reduced their waste removal costs.

About 400 accounts realized savings of 20 percent to 50 percent, and 169 customers paid more under the weight-based system than the volume-based system.

Revenues declined accordingly. Customers paid nearly $500,000 less in hauling fees. The city's report projects that annual trash removal revenues will decline by about $600,000.

Some customers saw their removal costs decline from as much as $20,000 a year.

Those accounts with heavy refuse, such as restaurants, ended up spending $12,000 to $20,000 more annually.

Still, the winners far outpaced the losers. To assuage the ill will of the losers, Oakland Park has introduced a consulting service designed to help customers reduce the weight of their solid waste and boost recycling capabilities.

These services include a reference library and an outreach program that assesses disposal and recycling practices and develops programs to improve performance.

The overall decline of removal revenues, of course, chills the outlook of private haulers pondering charge-by-weight.

"It really isn't such a big deal," Gomez says. "From a true cost accounting point of view, our finance people have welcomed the change, because it makes the business easier to manage and it provides a way to compensate for lost revenues by taking advantage of new collection efficiencies."

Before installing the scales and starting the new billing, Gomez first reorganized his routes. Because container size and pick-up frequency don't matter under a charge-by-weight system, he replaced many two-cubic-yard containers with eight-cubic-yard containers - dramatically reducing the number of weekly stops.

"We went from 108,000 annual pick-ups to 92,000," Gomez reports. "That let us reduce our fleet by one truck and our labor force by two drivers.

"Once we established the lowest number of pick-ups, we created new routes," he continues. "If we were cutting our customers' costs, we should be able to pick the best time to provide our service. That didn't work out all the time, but it did in many cases."

Customers faced with higher costs complained. But they also looked for ways to reduce their waste streams. The city's monthly average tonnage dropped by 241 tons, and recycling tonnage increased by a monthly average of 64.52 tons - a 52 percent increase.

Gomez handles the increase in recycling with the two-cubic-yard containers he had taken off the refuse routes and with the collection truck he didn't need anymore. "By converting the smaller containers and the truck to recycling, we have no cost increase related to the increased recycling," he says. "The lower collection costs and higher recycling revenues compensate for the lower collection revenues. Everyone is happy."

Interfacing With The Office When the University of California, San Diego, issued a request for proposal for refuse removal, the specifications required the generation of reports showing waste amount per building across the campus.

Coast Waste, a division of USA Waste Services Inc., Houston, won the contract, satisfying the university's requirement with an on-board, weigh-in-motion scale from Hardy Instruments Inc., San Diego.

Coast's Eric DeJong asked his software supplier, AOL Technologies/ WAM, Reno, Nev., to integrate the scales into Coast's existing system. "That took a little bit of back-and-forth between the two companies, but the system is working well," he says. "We can pull monthly reports per building and report how many pounds of waste are pulled from each."

Every day, DeJong's drivers download a routing program into the on-board package. A screen in the truck tells the driver the route, stop by stop. After making a pick-up, the driver scrolls down to the next stop and moves through the route in order. At day's end, he removes a card from the on-board system and downloads the data into the office system. "From there, we can generate a report that gives the weight per building, per stop, per container, and so on," DeJong says.

Coast Waste runs 75 front loading trucks and has installed the Hardy system in two of them. One truck handles the university account, and the other audits Coast routes to track profitability by account.

While this system runs smoothly, some haulers have run into problems related to system integration that are dependent on two or more companies: The scales won't "talk" to the on-board computer which miscommunicates with the office billing system.

However, companies are striving to find ways to correct such occurrences. In January 1997, Hardy developed its Strategy System, a fully-integrated proprietary system, from scales and readers through on-board computers to office management and billing software designed to automate record-keeping.

"If you are buying from two different vendors, you have to make sure they are absolutely married," suggests Dave Ness, Hardy's president.

Rick Talbot, director of marketing and sales at Vulcan On-Board Scales, Kent, Wash., says that customers should be able to choose the scale systems that is best for their operation and then find a software system that will operate it.

"There are all sorts of on-board scales and on-board computers," he says. "Depending upon how you want to manage your organization, it may mean that my scale will work best - or that another manufacturer's scale will be better for you." The key is, of course, doing your homework beforehand.

Talbot believes it's important to develop standard interfaces so the end user can select the proper system for your needs. Some operators don't want sophisticated systems; they want something to record and print the time, date, weight and that's it. Others want all the bells and whistles.

"There is a lot of confusion in the market today," Talbot says. "For the time being, I think the key thing is to buy technology that can grow. Does a scale have a port so you can add to the system? Does the company offer a family of products for all of the vehicles in your fleet? Will the same scale software interface work with all of those systems?"

In the end, operators must weigh the options before weighing their pick-ups.

Automating Installations Like refuse collection companies, transfer stations, recycling centers, and landfills face ever-increasing pressures to automate operations. These pressures originate from governments seeking to reduce solid waste streams and an increasingly competitive marketplace that requires refuse businesses to understand and tightly manage costs.

"Regulations are driving all of these kinds of businesses toward the use of more technology," says Chris Bagley, general manager of Sooner Scale Inc., Oklahoma City.

"Landfills, for example, have always kept records on computers," he continues. "In the past two years, however, they have been tying scales into these systems. In Oklahoma, legislation prompted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) goal of reducing solid waste streams by 25 percent and passed by the state in 1995 requires landfills to have truck scales and to weigh on-site."

Since then, a number of states have adopted legislation that mandates certain reductions.

"Different states have set different goals, often higher than our 25 percent guideline," EPA environmental engineer Steve Levy says.

He points out that government regulatory requirements do not singularly drive the adoption of technology. "I think the privatization movement influences the need for technology as well," he says. "More and more communities are using private haulers and privately-operated disposal sites. When a municipality picks up the refuse and carries it to its own facility, it doesn't matter how much tonnage comes in. Those departments have their annual budgets, usually from property taxes, and they run the facilities with that money.

"To some extent, if they don't weigh the refuse, the more tonnage they estimate, the lower their unit costs look," he continues. "But, when you enter into full-service contracts - including put-or-pay contracts with waste combusters - you pay on a tonnage basis because the private operators have to track costs. So, private landfills, recycling centers and transfer stations need technology to do that."

San Francisco-based NorCal Waste Systems Inc. exemplifies the technology needs of private vendors. The company owns 22 subsidiaries, including residential and commercial haulers, transfer stations, recycling centers, and landfills. In addition, it manages some municipality-owned facilities.

"The function of scales at our landfills is to weigh and transmit data into our information management system," says Bill Durbin, NorCal's director of information technologies.

"When a truck comes across the scales at a landfill, a reader identifies it. That information is stored in the computer system along with the weight of the refuse being delivered."

NorCal has a home-grown reporting and record-keeping system that knows each truck's tare weight, number, routes, route jurisdiction and that jurisdiction's waste composition.

As the trucks arrive, the system routinely tracks daily information such as the amount of refuse generated, collected and landfilled.

Before building the NorCal system, Durbin first answered a key question: What are the business goals that technology can help achieve? For a landfill, the business requirements might include billing or simply collecting weight and providing that information to whoever does the billing.

"At NorCal, we do both," Durbin says. "We own landfills, and we operate some for others. Both of these kinds of businesses have different technological requirements. For one, we collect information and pass it along. For the other, we manage the profitability of the business. The first requires relatively simple record-keeping, while the second involves sophisticated tracking and reporting.

"We use this information to manage our business and to meet California's regulatory requirements on reporting the amount of refuse generated in a community," he continues. "We're not on the bleeding edge of technology, but we are capitalizing on technology that's proven."

Anchorage Strikes Gold

The municipality of Anchorage, Alaska knew one thing: A dilapidated 19-building apartment complex had to be destroyed. However, once the wrecking ball struck, the resulting rubble would be a disposal headache.

With the local landfill nearing capacity in an estimated 10 to 15 years, Anchorage faced steep tipping fees and possible buried profits if it landfilled the C&D debris.

It needed an innovative solution, and during the bidding process, it found one: Alcan Environmental Inc. proposed a plan that promised a 95 percent diversion rate. The reduced waste not only would conserve the landfill's life and reduce costs, but also would produce a myriad of salable products.

According to project manager Les Boczonadi, Alcan realized during bidding that it would not be feasible to landfill the estimated 18,000 tons of debris from he demolished apartments.

By salvaging and processing marketable waste, Alcan saved the municipality an estimated $475,000 in landfill tipping fees.

Alcan's demolition plan focused first on segregating asbestos from each building. In the project's early stage, the company realized that the buildings contained large quantities of ferrous metals and aluminum siding that could be recycled. During demolition, the various waste streams were segregated.

"As we were bringing the buildings down, we were concentrating on as much of the large dimensional segregation as possible," Boczonadi says. "The wood beams we uncovered were old-growth Douglas Fir, number two or better. Material like that isn't used these days."

Aluminum siding, non-galvanized piping, cast iron and black iron were separated from the wood debris.

Alcan demolished each building in about one day. One track excavator tackled the initial demolition, while another separated the materials. A third excavator loaded a tumble grinder with wood and other grindable materials, which included flooring, wood and sheet rock.

Prior to grinding, high-inertia swinging hammers provided high production with the tolerance to pass through small pieces of contaminant that may not have been separated. In addition, carbide-surfaced hammertips were used to provide long wear life.

A tumble grinder was used in temperatures ranging from -5 degrees F to 20 degrees F. Alcan tented the tumble grinder and put two 300,000-BTU propane heaters beneath the unit.

Operating at up to 1,100 cubic square yards per hour, the grinder processed wood materials from one 16-unit apartment building in just under two, seven-hour days.

Inclined at 30 degrees, its tumble tub has more than 200 square feet of prescreening area to separate the fines before they came in contact with the rotor.

In addition, the rotating screen acted as a cage to prevent the debris from reversing out of the tub, and feeding it back to the rotor below.

With only oversized materials contacting the hammer- tips, the wear costs were reduced.

95 Percent Recovery The initial phase was completed by the end of 1996 - a few months ahead of schedule.

The results were impressive: While the wrecking ball caused 11,000 tons of debris, only 500 tons were landfilled.

Wood and metals, the highest-quantity materials salvaged, had significant resale value. "There is a large market for recycling dimensional lumber and turning it into furniture," Boczonadi notes.

Alcan salvaged more than one mile of 16" x 16" wood beams and at least a half mile of 8" x 16" wood beams.

It also recovered 4,500 2" x 10" x 18" floor and roof joists. The company denailed the wood material, in preparation for auction to the furniture market, according to Boczonadi.

Much of the remaining wood was stockpiled at a regional composting facility. A portion will be mixed with a high-quality potting soil, while the remainder awaits the results of a feasibility study examining its market potential as compressed chip logs for fireplaces.

After the project is completed, compost remaining at the site will be spread as seed cover for grass on the 18-acre lot, which will be rezoned for a new building project.

Since Alaska has no smelting facility, the metals had to be hauled to the lower 48 states for processing. After the metals were recycled, they were sold to a buyer.

In the final phase, the concrete foundations were removed. The concrete will be excavated and crushed, and the crushed product will provide fill material to extend an existing land bridge at the Port of Anchorage.