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Analysis of Strategies to Regulate Residential Collection

City of Arvada, CO | Arvada, CO | Completed: 2011

As of 2010, the City of Arvada did not provide residential collection of wastes and recyclables for its residential households, instead requiring residents to subscribe for service with one of the 11 licensed haulers doing business in the City. The City achieved only a 12 percent residential recycling rate, and increasingly its residents had begun to request the City to provide more options for recycling. Further, the City completed a community sustainability plan that identified increased waste diversion as a cost-effective means to reduce GHG emissions, reduce heavy truck traffic on City streets, and potentially reduce costs borne by residential generators.

The City retained the Project Team of MSW Consultants and locally-based LBA Associates to conduct a far-reaching benchmarking and operational analysis of the environmental, business, and cost impacts of increasing regulations on the residential collection system. Specifically, the City was interested in comparing the status quo with three alternative collection systems:
i) Significantly increasing hauler licensing provisions to require bundled refuse/recycling rates and offer cart-based PAYT collection;
ii) Establishing an exclusive contract with a single hauler to provide PAYT refuse and recycling collection, and
iii) Districting the City into four quadrants and implementing exclusive contracts in each quadrant.

This project required extensive outreach to both the public and the hauling community, including a statistically representative multi-media customer survey of residents, a survey of all local haulers, local and national benchmarking of cities with the various collection systems being considered, and a detailed operational analysis of the impacts of each alternative system relative to the status quo. The operational analysis quantified the expected improvements to recycling rates, GHG emissions, daily routing requirements, and local heavy truck traffic; cost impacts of each alternative; and the consequences to local hauling businesses and direct employment that would be expected under each option. At the current time, the City is debating next steps and/or implementation of one of the options.