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Waste Hauling Study

  • Published
  • Updated
  • by City Manager

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. 

Executive Summary

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:  

  1. 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.  
  2. 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).  
  3. 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.