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Program Planning

There are several key issues that need to be decided before proceeding with an organics recycling program.

  • Determining goals
    With growing public and private sector support for recycling, states and local governments are making commitments to increase their recycling rates. Organics are often identified as the one of the largest portion of the recycling stream and the single largest component of municipal solid waste (MSW). Sorts have found that … Read more
  • Solid waste plans
    Organics recycling aligns with the vision of sustainable materials management used in many state’s solid waste policy and local municipal solid waste plans, or more commonly known as materials management plans. Materials management plans often use the three principles of sustainability – economic vitality, ecological integrity and improved quality of … Read more
  • Business plan and community engagement
    Developing a business plan or community outreach program is essential to a resilient organics recycling program and sustainable composting operation. A good starting point is engaging the community to get all stakeholders involved and help them understand composting operations, the benefits and potential costs and begin to educate residents on … Read more
  • How organics will be managed
    Public vs. Private vs. Partnership An important decision for communities is to consider the business model and level of infrastructure, operational involvement, control and cost they want to undertake if structured as a public utility. Common models for municipal composting programs include: Publicly owned and operated facility Privately owned and … Read more
  • How organics will be collected
    Understanding local infrastructure Understanding the local infrastructure and compost site operations can help narrow down how you choose to collect food scraps and other organics. Some questions to answer include: 1. Does the compost site have capacity to accept more materials? If yard waste only compost site, can the facility … Read more
  • Sign up and participation options
    After determining which collection method will be used and where the material will go, determining how to roll-out the program to residents will affect the overall program costs. Some communities give containers to all residents to participate, some communities only give containers to those who sign-up for the program. Billing … Read more
  • Education and promoting your program
    Residential education is key to a successful food scraps and other organics diversion program. At the start of a program education is necessary to explain: What organics recycling is Why it’s important How to participate (and sign up) What is and is not accepted What is included Initial program education … Read more
  • Waste Audit/Composition Studies-Procurement
    There are a number of consulting firms (many of whom are USCC members) who perform waste audits and waste composition studies. These are very helpful in sizing your programs and making decisions about whether to handle materials in-house, what feedstocks you will be generating, and potential cost savings from composting, … Read more
  • School & College Procurement
    Many colleges and secondary school systems issue RFPS for composting and food waste diversion. Some are combined with trash collection, and others are separate. Find here examples for college and secondary education. (This is not an endorsement of the RFPs listed, but serves as an example for drawing up your … Read more
  • Plans and Feasibility Studies
    Municipalities often hire engineers and consultants to determine the market and need for compost and organics diversion programs. These studies help you to make decision about public vs. private, regional systems and other facets of planning for your program. Several past RFPs are below for your consideration. (This is not … Read more
  • Public Private Partnerships
    Municipalities in the Target Organics survey have told us these arrangements-in which a municipality contracts some element of its program out to the private sector—are growing in priority and popularity. They can be win-wins for all partners when constructed well. Here are a few RFPs in this area. (This is … Read more
  • Compostable Products
    This is the time to determine if you can accept compostable products. Take these into account if you are collecting food scrap; and be sure you understand compostability and compostable labelling.  In order to learn more, read the USCC’s Compostable Products Decision Guide. Click here to read it!
  • Funding Your Program
    The Institute for Local Self Reliance has gathered information on state surcharges that fund composting (and recycling) programs.
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