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[greenyes] FW: Price Elasticity for Solid Waste Collection Fees
-----Original Message-----
From: Jeffrey Morris [mailto:jeff.morris@no.address]
Sent: Wednesday, September 24, 2003 12:06 AM
To: greenyes@no.address
Subject: FW: Price Elasticity for Solid Waste Collection Fees

-----Original Message-----
From: Jeffrey Morris [mailto:jeff.morris@no.address]
Sent: Monday, September 22, 2003 9:34 PM
To: greenyes@no.address
Subject: Price Elasticity for Solid Waste Collection Fees

We're about to publish our study Single-Family Residential Collection
Practices in King County Cities & Unincorporated Hauler Service Areas:
Collection Program Characteristics and Best Practices for Waste Minimization
& Diversion Maximization.  I will post it on our website as soon as it's
available.  It provides some econometric support for Jenny Bagby's response
to the thread of messages from Greenyes early in July (copied at the bottom
of this message). Specifically, the garbage collection fee elasticity for
solid waste generation is estimated to be -0.22, while the garbage
collection fee elasticity for garbage collection quantity is estimated
at -0.34.  The garbage collection fee elasticity for yard debris collection
quantity is 0.52. The corresponding yard debris collection fee elasticities
are -0.12 for solid waste generation, -0.74 for yard debris collection
quantity, and 0.10 for garbage collection quantity.

These estimates all indicate that demand for solid waste generation and
collection quantity are inelastic with respect to collection fees.  At the
same time, as the tables and graphs in the study make clear, collection fees
are one of the most powerful methods for solid waste managers to motivate
waste minimization and diversion maximization, especially given the large
influences of income, household size, and yard size on waste generation and
diversion which program managers are powerless to control.

One of the study's other significant contributions is to deepen our
understanding of the trade off between waste minimization and waste
diversion that occurs from the way we currently use collection fees and
program characteristics.  This suggests that once we get 75 or 80% of
generated waste recycled or composted through use of best practices to
promote diversion of recyclables and organics, we will need to seriously
explore how to refine those best practices to better promote waste
prevention.  This is when the more refined type of pricing policies that
Blair Pollock identified in his posting on fees at his landfill might become
very useful in structuring collection fees.  However, regarding Jenny
Bagby's question to me, I do not know of specific studies that provide
elasticity estimates for these types of more refined pricing policies at

The data and analyses in our study are based on a cross sectional sample of
39 King County cities, including Seattle, and 9 hauler service areas in
unincorporated King County, WA.  We used income, household size, yard size
and linguistic isolation variables to control for demographic  and
geographic influences that otherwise might cause bias in estimating the
influence of collection fees and collection program characteristics (such as
frequency and container size) on waste minimization and diversion
maximization.  Furthermore, by restricting the study to communities within
King County we minimized the risk of bias that would occur from differing
levels of promotional and educational outreach in the communities being
studied, because the same public media messages on waste minimization and
diversion are available uniformly across the county to residents of all the
cities and unincorporated areas  in the study.  Thirdly, including yard size
as a control variable prevented us from confusing effects from lot size with
effects from program characteristics such as collection frequency and from
pricing policies for yard debris collection.

I welcome comments and critiques from those of you who have the time to
review our study once it becomes publicly available.

Jeffrey Morris, Ph.D.
Sound Resource Management - Durham
3206A Myra Street
Durham, NC 27707

WA: 360-319-2391
NC: 919-403-1406

Date: Mon, 21 Jul 2003 09:37:23 -0700
To: <greenyes@no.address>
From: "Jenny Bagby" <Jenny.Bagby@no.address>
Subject: Re: [greenyes] price v bans
Message-Id: <sf1bb45a.096@no.address>

Doug, I haven't myself done an econometric analysis of the demand for
disposal at landfills to get a price elasticity but I have done analysis
at the household level and at the transfer station level.  Both show
that the price elasiticity is very inelastic, which means that it would
take pretty high price increases to do much on diversion.  The stuff I
have seen from Vancouver BC area show bans are pretty effective but I
get your point about possibly not encouraging the least cost tons first.
 Jeff M, if you are lurking out there, have you seen price/quantity
studies done at the final point of disposal?
Jenny B.

Dr. Jennifer Bagby
Principal Economist
Seattle Public Utilities
Resource Planning Division
Key Tower
700 5th Ave, Suite 4900
Seattle, Washington 98104-5004
phone 206-684-7808
fax 206-386-9147
e-mail jenny.bagby@no.address

Check out our Web Site

And specifically see the following address for data, reports and

>>> "Doug Koplow" <koplow@no.address> 07/21/03 07:31 AM >>>

If you had just raised tip fees on everything, rather than having
targeted bans or fines for OCC, would you have achieved at least the
same level of facility life extension?  Would tip fee increases have led
to OCC diversion anyway, or would there have been other materials that
would have been diverted first (and would you have cared so long as the
landfill lasted longer)?  Since you were concerned about bulky low mass
wastes eating up landfill capacity for very low fees, did the county
consider modifying weight-based tip fees to incorporate a volumetric
element in order better reflect this constraint?

I'd be very interested in any insights gained if the county (or other
programs) did evaluate these types of options.  On their face,
adjustments to tip fees seem as though they would provide the desired
incentives for landfill users to alter waste management practices in
ways that meet your goals of landfill optimization, but do so without
having to micro-manage individual waste fractions.  They would also
likely be more economically efficient and possibly encourage broad
spectrum changes in waste flows, further conserving available disposal

-Doug Koplow

Doug Koplow
Earth Track, Inc.
2067 Massachusetts Avenue - 4th Floor
Cambridge, MA  02140
Tel:  617/661-4700
Fax: 617/354-0463

>>> "Blair Pollock" <bpollock@no.address> 07/18/03 01:29PM >>>
Hello: The landfill in Orange County NC banned non-residential
corrugated cardboard in 1995 with a four month grace period that ended
in March 1996. After that point, the landfill began levying penalties
equal 2x the tipping fee for loads containing more than "an armload" of
OCC. Landfill space savings was the primary motivator. We calculated
almost a year of space savings would result from banning OCC for the ten
year projected life of the LF (it's now gone out to 12 years from our
orignial projected closure date)

Most businesses & apt. complexes opted for private dumpster service for
OCC at that time (and when OCC prices were high, you should have seen
the OCC theft!)  The program has been largely successful. From our waste
sorts, OCC was 20% by weight of non-res. waste in 1990, then down to 10%
in 1995 (we had voluntary free public collection of business OCC)  but
by the year of the 2000 (after the ban took affect) the waste sort
showed it was less than 4%.

The three Towns which collected all the urban commercial waste at that
time, then banned OCC from the dumpsters they serviced and had to
provide 'recycling police' to ensure no OCC in dumpsters, if the
recycling police ( not a new position but part of san. supervisor's job)
found/saw OCC in dumpster they cited the business and didn't collect and
left an 'oops' tag.

There was some initial resistance to the ban from the business
community. Now compliance is high generally, except for when students
move back into apts. in the fall. Then it's bad. It's generally worse at
apts than businesses.

Some small businesses use public recycling dropoff sites if they have
<50 boxes/week. Others use a private service that hand-collects OCC from
a pile and then takes to dropoff sites. But most complied by getting
special slotted OCC dumpster. There are also oppties to dropoff OCC at
no charge at landfill to avoid penalties.

We had one interesting wrinkle where mostly construction contractors
would load rolloff box w/ OCC at end of job and pay the double fee
penalty, since it was just lightweight OCC it was cheaper than renting a
separate dumpster throughout course of the job. We then attached a $400
surcharge to loads greater than 50% OCC, stopped that problem.  Ongoing
enforcement is necessary.

Residential is not covered and in communities where they have res. OCC
w/ curbside recycling & the boxes have to be cut down to size, very few
participate. It's about 5% by weight of our res. MSW and would really
overburden our recycling drop off sites (where we now collect OCC three
times/week) so we didn't ban res. OCC along w/ the non-res OCC.

Passed an ordinance to make it happen, then all  three towns also
passed ordinances
landfill cardboard   Re: [greenyes] Help!
	709 by: bet danse <betdanse@no.address>


Date: Wed, 16 Jul 2003 07:05:03 -0600
To: greenyes@no.address
From: Michael & Susan Kramer <mkramer@no.address>
Subject: Help!
Message-ID: <3F154D7F.487DBA6C@no.address>

Dear List,
I would like to have some input from those of you who live in areas
where recyclables are banned from the landfill.  I am preparing a
document to present to my county commissioners to ban cardboard from
lanfill.  Also, if anything is banned, the reasons used to ban, such
space availability?
This would really help.
Thanks so much
Susan Kramer


Date: Wed, 16 Jul 2003 10:31:24 -0700 (PDT)
To: Michael & Susan Kramer <mkramer@no.address>, greenyes@no.address
From: bet danse <betdanse@no.address>
Subject: landfill cardboard   Re: [greenyes] Help!
Message-ID: <20030716173124.78530.qmail@no.address>

Good luck ! Let me know how you make out if you
go forward with this venture.

We have a landfill here, too, that buries
residential cardboard--reason being, contamination.
This county collects 85% of the cardboard, which Waste
Management says is darn good, most of it of course
from businesses and government buildings.

Residential cardboard is not collected here on
recycling day.  They have found that people throw
everything except the kitchen sink in with recycables
anyway, so the contamination issue is huge.

Suggestion, rather than go through all the trouble of
banning cardboard from the landfill, start up
cardboard dropoffs for the moving companies.  I've
been told by several of them here that if we put
flattened, clean cardboard out in covered containers
in various dropoff locations, the moving companies
"would flock to them."

Another suggestion: Have recycling containers and
reuse areas close to the entrance of the landfill so
people can dropoff their recyclables before dumping


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