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Is Flow Control Impacting your Solid Waste Management Bottom Line?

By Posted in - Expense Reduction on February 22nd, 2016 0 Comments flow control of solid waste management

Flow Control is defined as the ability of a municipality to direct solid waste to a disposal facility of the municipality’s choosing. In essence, the municipality directs the “flow” — or the processing, treatment and disposal of the waste to their disposal facility.

Flow control can increase your solid waste management disposal expenses. A municipality can direct trash to a county-owned landfill where higher tipping fees are charged. This translates into more money for the municipality that is passed on to you in the form of higher trash disposal costs.

What solid waste management flow control regulations should I be aware of?

In recent years, there have been two landmark flow control decisions. The first was The Supreme Court’s 1994 decision in C&A Carbone Inc. v. Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Management Authority, in which the court found that a municipality could not force a private waste hauler to dispose of waste at a disposal facility of the municipality’s choosing, which essentially made flow control unconstitutional.

However, in 2007, The Supreme Court ruled in United Haulers Association v. Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Management Authority, by a 6-3 decision, that municipalities, specifically those in Oneida and Herkimer counties, were within their rights to force haulers to direct waste to municipality-controlled disposal sites. This ruling re-opened the door to flow control mandates all over the country.

The National Solid Waste Management Association (NSWMA) has identified the following concerns with flow control mandates:

  • Creates a monopoly for trash disposal.
  • Creates a hidden tax that makes trash disposal more expensive for residential and commercial customers.
  • Flow control does not help recycling.
  • As flow control causes waste costs to rise, these increased costs will be passed onto consumers in the form of higher prices.

At Waste Experts we have seen the impact of flow control on our customers. We recently received a notification from a local vendor that due to flow control mandates, the rates in Henderson County, North Carolina were going to increase by 28%! This increase occurred because the county is directing waste from the current landfill that is operated by a private hauler, to the county municipal landfill which charges a higher tipping fee.

Unfortunately, once a county decides to enact flow control, there is nothing that can be done to prevent the trash disposal rates from increasing.

Are you concerned that some of your locations are being negatively impacted by flow control?

If so, give Waste Experts a call, and see if our free review of your trash and recycling services can offset the costs of flow control. A right size audit of locations affected by flow control may be able to help offset the higher costs of flow control. Additionally, some vendors may be slightly cheaper than others in the affected area, as they do not “upcharge” their tipping fee as much as another vendor.

The Waste Experts staff can conduct a comprehensive review of all your trash and recycling costs, and let you know where we can help improve your bottom line.

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