Benchmarking the Performance and Costs of MSW Landfills

Publish Date: 2008

The SWANA Applied Research Foundation’s (ARF) Fiscal Year 2008 (FY2008) Disposal Group identified the issue of the benchmarking of municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills as one of high importance to the group.

Specifically, the ARF Disposal Group felt that research was needed on the establishment of airspace utilization measurement standards as well as proven techniques and cost-effective methods to minimize the landfill airspace occupied by the landfilled waste as well as by daily and intermediate cover material.

According to the Metro Waste Authority in Des Moines, Iowa, which submitted this research topic, there is a need to:

“Develop a guidance document that provides a consistent method of comparison of key operating metrics for disposal facilities. Provide a means to benchmark a solid waste agency’s performance and determine level of competitiveness to the industry. We are gathering an ever increasing amount of data, particularly as we grow more dependent of modern technology and IT solutions. Much of this data is poorly presented and often misunderstood. The shear volume may begin to obscure the usefulness of the data and the goal to effectively run our business. It is important that solid waste disposal is performed as efficiently and effectively as possible. Public sector solid waste organizations are increasingly coming under pressure from the private sector to privatize their operations. Coupled with the ever tightening budgets of most communities, we must strive to achieve every conceivable improvement to our operations.”

This report presents the results of a two-year effort to develop a SWANA MSW Landfills Benchmark database as well as an analysis of the database information. This report was prepared by the SWANA ARF staff with input and guidance provided by the ARF Disposal Group Subscribers.

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