Public Private Partnerships

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:

  1. Publicly owned and operated facility
  2. Privately owned and operated facility
  3. Publicly owned but privately operated facility

In a “Public – Private – Partnership” (PPP), the city or regional government engages with a hauler and a composter to collaborate and define the specific requirements for curbside residential programs. These can then which would then be contracted and executed by either the composter or the hauler which is some cases can be a single entity. A PPP arrangement would typically include a hauler(s) and a composter to build a composting facility or collection program to support the goals and objectives of the community.

These agreements can be as simple as a service contract with the service providers or a full “turn-key” solution that requires the private sector hauler to execute a full program including the collaborative development and distribution of educational materials and the supply of bins.

In a public-private-partnership it is important that the roles associated with sales and marketing of finished compost are clearly defined. The contract or agreement should specify the activities each partner carries out. The The public entity should includes purchasing some compost back through the contract itself, or if not feasible, work closely with other departments to ensure they are closing the loop by using compost in the community and providing markets for compost generated from the collection program.

Ideally local regulators will work with the service providers in applying for grants and passing the laws and regulations needed for the facility or program. Organic bans provide the best economies of scale. Model regulations are available from the USCC. ost_Rule.pdf.

Links and Resources:
American Public Works Association Presentation: USCC APWA Conference Presentation on Public Private Partnerships:
City of Philadelphia PPP:
Durango, CO:

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