Waste Characterization and Capture Rate Analysis

SWACO - Solid Waste of Central Ohio | , OH | Completed: 2020

Waste Characterization and Capture Rate Analysis | tipper

MSW Consultants worked on a project team that performed a comprehensive waste characterization study as well as ground-breaking research on the measurement of recycling capture rates for SWACO, which represents 41 jurisdictions in Franklin County, Ohio. The county-wide waste characterization study differentiated inbound wastes from three waste generator sectors – City of Columbus Residential, Rest-of-the-Authority (ROA) Residential, and Commercial. The sample collection was divided among the three waste sectors over four seasons. Additionally, samples were collected from three locations (two transfer stations and one landfill). Samples were randomly selected based on truck arrival times and targeted waste sectors. Once a load was selected for sampling, 200-250 pound samples were collected and sorted at the designated sorting facility. MSW Consultants assisted in sample collection and led the sorting process over a week-long period each season. MSW Consultants used its WasteInsight cloud-based data management platform to input the data. This initiative also incorporated the first-ever side-by-side comparison of two methods for measuring recycling capture rates for two Franklin County cities that upgraded from recycling bins to recycling carts. The following capture rate methods were evaluated: • Grab-sampling from materials tipped on the floor of disposal or processing facility • Curb-sampling of materials placed out by collection from individual households Baseline capture rates were measured in the two cities prior to their conversions from bins-based curbside recycling to the carts-based collection. These were followed up with post-changeover materials sorting and data analysis. The study allowed SWACO to assess the effectiveness of their public outreach, as well as to measure benefits from switching from bins-based to cart-based collections. The study also confirmed that grab-sampling is a more preferred methodology for measuring system, or city-wide composition and capture rates, but that the curb-sampling approach offers more accuracy and insights into recycling behavior among individual households. The characterization study will conclude with a comprehensive report that will provide a summary of the findings and include composition data for waste, recyclables, and C&D streams. Recycling and capture rates for the county will also be provided, as well as a comparison to previous studies.

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