The Residential Hauling Study was prepared by Mid Atlantic Solid Waste Consultants and LBA Associates in 2011. The report includes an evaluation of existing collection systems, public outreach data, and a robust analysis of waste collection options.
The City of Arvada, like many communities in Colorado and nationally, has in the past several years lent an increasing focus on sustainability initiatives. One such initiative has focused on residential waste management and recycling practices. To proactively address the recurring issue of improved recycling and more sustainable waste management, the City of Arvada undertook a Residential Waste Hauling Study in 2010. This study involved extensive public outreach, including a statistically representative survey of 2,000 residential households, web based survey, a survey of locally permitted residential haulers, and extensive analysis of the current collection system parameters. The study included detailed benchmarking of communities with similar programs, as well as communities that have different collection systems in place. These efforts informed the overall analysis of options for changing Arvada’s residential collection system. The focus of the study analysis was to evaluate opportunities for greater diversion and reduced environmental impacts available under alternative residential waste collection systems, while also informing the City and the public at large about the corresponding impacts to customer choice, changes to local hauling company operations, employment, and total waste management costs that any such system changes may entail. In Colorado and nationally, there are thousands of municipal collection systems with individual characteristics too numerous to count. However, in the professional opinion of the Project Team, there are three alternative collection strategies that could reasonably help Arvada meet its objectives of increasing diversion and reducing the environmental footprint of collection. The following three alternative collection system options were analyzed for purposes of informing the City:
- Enhanced Hauler Licensing: Expand collection services to offer greater recycling and composting opportunities and to establish certain minimum criteria in order to operate in Arvada.
- Multiple Hauler Contracts: The City would conduct a competitive procurement for four districts. It is possible that the City ultimately selects only two or three districts (it is unlikely that more than four districts would be large enough to enable efficient routing).
- Single Hauler Contract: At the opposite end of the spectrum, this option would rely on a competitive procurement process to award the entire City to a single hauler, who would then become the exclusive provider.
It is important to note that, in all three of these options, refuse and recycling would be provided with a bundled rate (i.e., customers would pay a single charge for both refuse and recycling services combined), and using a Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) rate structure. Under a PAYT rate structure, customers are allowed to select from three sizes of refuse containers (48, 64, and 90 gallon), and are charged lower rates if they dispose of less waste. PAYT systems create a strong incentive for residents to utilize the recycling program, and over time PAYT systems have been found to change waste generation behavior to the extent that overall waste generation decreases. Studies by the U.S. EPA and other public and private organizations suggest that a PAYT system would greatly assist Arvada meet its waste reduction and recycling goals.