Cost of operating a recycling collection scheme

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The average weekly expenditure incurred by a contractor for operating a door to door collection service, varies between 9 cents and 27 cents per dwelling per week. The variation in this cost depends primarily on the frequency of the collection, and the number of employees per recycling scheme. Approximately 70% of the cost can be attributed to wages for the sorting and collection crew employees. It is assumed that employees are averaging 25 hours working time per week and paid at a rate equivalent to the Municipal Employees (WA) Award.

For a weekly collection scheme (four employees) the average weekly cost for operating the scheme is 18 to 23 cents per dwelling, whilst for a fortnightly collection scheme (one round) this is reduced to between 12 and 15 cents per dwelling per week.

If the collection scheme was to operate with five employees, then an additional 2 cents per dwelling per week would be required to meet the increased weekly expenditure.

Schemes have been successfully run with only three people involved in the collection and sorting processes. Under these conditions, expected costs of operation are in the range of 9 to 14 cents per week, and therefore the annual cost to the council or ratepayer is between $5 and $8.

Table 2 is a summary of the weekly expenditure per collection scheme, given as the cost per dwelling per week, and the cost per dwelling per year, for schemes employing three, four and five people. For schemes employing four or five people, it has been assumed that two and three employees, respectively, are in the age bracket of 16 to 18 years.

Operating costs

Three employees

Four employees

Five employees

Operating costs

Three employees

Four employees

Five employees

Weekly

coliection

5000 dwellings)

Total cost per week per dwelling per collection per dwelling per year

$870.00 -$0.18-$10.00-

$1090.00 $0.22 $12.00

  • 890.00-$1120.00
  • 0.18-$0.23 $10.00-$12.00

- $14.00

Fortnightly collection (5000 dwellings)

Total cost per week

$560.00

$710.00

$570.00

$730.00

$660.00

$860.00

per dwelling per collection

$0.24

$0.28

$0.24

$0.30

$0.26

$0.34

dwelling per year

$7.00

$8.00

$7.00

$8.00

$7.00

■$11.00

Fortnightly collection (10000 dwellings)

Total cost per week

$870.00 -

$1090.00

$890.00 -

$1 120.00

$1030.00

-$1330.00

per dwelling per collection

$0.09 -

$0.11

$0.09 -

$0.11

$0.11

-$0.13

per dwelling per year

$3.00

$3.00

$3.00

- $4.00

Table 2: Cost of operating a recycling collection scheme

Table 2: Cost of operating a recycling collection scheme

For collection rounds in municipalities that average 10 kilograms per week generation of domestic refuse per dwelling, then a 30% to 40% participation rate of dwellings is required for the operator to reach the break even point for weekly collections of one round. At 20 kilograms per week generation of domestic refuse, the participation rate required is between 20% and 30%. Given the current attitude and feeling of the community toward recycling, it is reasonable to expect that this point is achieved within 24 months of regular operation.

A 20% to 30% participation rate is required to reach the break-even point for a fortnightly collection scheme for one round. The alternative fortnightly scheme of collection from two rounds on alternate weeks, could achieve break even with a 20% participation rate. A summary of the break even points for various rates of refuse generation is given in Table 3. This is based on the current rate of payment to contractors and fund raising groups.

Participation rate

Recycling contractor

Fund raising organisation

Average rate of refuse generation per home

Three employees per scheme

Four employees per scheme

Five employees per scheme

One employees per scheme

Two employees per scheme

Weekly collection (5000 dwellings^

5kg per dwelling 10kg per dwelling 15kg per dwelling 20kg per dwelling

60 - 70% 30 - 40% 20-30% 20-30%

70 - 80% 30-40% 20-30% 20-30%

80 - 90% 40 - 50% 30 - 40% 30 - 40%

80 - 90% 40-50% 30 - 40% 20 - 30%

(not viable) 60 - 70% 40 - 50% 30%

Fortnightly collection (5000 dwellings)

10kg per dwelling 15kg per dwelling 20kg per dwelling 30kg per dwelling

30-40% 20 - 30% 20 - 30% 10-20%

30-40% 20 - 30% 20-30% 10-20%

50 - 60% 20 - 30% 20 - 30% 10-20%

30% 20 - 30% 20%

50 - 60% 30-40% 30% 20-30

Fortnightly collection i

10000 dwellings)

10kg per dwelling 15kg per dwelling 20kg per dwelling 30kg per dwelling

20 - 30% 20 - 30% 10-20% 10%

20-30% 20 - 30% 10-20% 10%

30 - 40% 20 - 30% 10-20% 10%

40 - 50% 30 - 40% 20-30% 20%

30% 20 - 30%

Table 3: Summary of the participation rates required to achieve the break even point depending on the rate of refuse generation

Table 3: Summary of the participation rates required to achieve the break even point depending on the rate of refuse generation

It is important to note here that several companies have guaranteed minimum payment prices for the next 12 to 24 months. The relevant companies and prices are as follows:

Material

Newspaper Aluminium cans PET soft drink bottles Glass

Company with guarantee

Green Recycling Comalco

AC I Plastics Packaging Australian Glass Manufacturers

Minimum price guarantee

  • 30 to $35 per tonne $700 per tonne $700 per tonne
  • 45 per tonne-colour mixed glass $55 per tonne-colour sorted glass

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