R3 is currently engaged by the City of El Cajon (City) to provide procurement assistance regarding the City’s franchise agreement with Waste Management for the collection of residential and commercial solid waste, which expires in December 2020. For this engagement, R3’s primary objective is to assist the City in procuring a solid waste collection Agreement that provides the highest level of service to the City’s residents and businesses at the best cost, and accounts for all state legislative requirements.

R3 is acting as an extension of the City staff for all tasks of this engagement, by developing a knowledge base of the City’s current solid waste collection programs.

In late 2019, R3 developed a request for proposals (RFP), including a draft franchise agreement outlining program requirements. The RFP was issued to qualified hauler, and as a result, the City received three qualified proposals.

R3 assisted in the evaluation of the proposals by providing the City’s proposal evaluation team with a summary of the qualifications, technical approach (transition, operations, customer service, diversion, education and outreach plans), reference checks, and proposed service rates provided by each proposer.

Through the negotiation process, R3 will also assist the City staff with:

  • Conducting interviews with proposers;
  • Preparing staff reports;
  • Conducting negotiation sessions, as necessary;
  • Finalizing the Agreement; and
  • Assisting City staff with making City Council presentations.

Anticipated project benefits include the following:

  • Finalization of a high-diversion Agreement for solid waste collection that incorporates new legislation to address franchised hauler requirements and City compliance, including AB 341, AB 1594, SB 1383, and AB 1826;
  • Verification that the City is adequately compensated by the franchisee through franchise, road impact fees, surcharge and/or AB 939 fees; and
  • Increase of the City’s overall landfill diversion through the promotion of re-use, recycling, composting, and source reduction strategies and programs.

R3 is currently engaged to assist California State Polytechnic University at Pomona (Cal Poly) procure a solid waste hauler for solid waste, recycling, organics, and stable bedding collection services by developing a Franchise Agreement (Agreement) aligned with the University’s sustainability policy. For this engagement, R3 conducted the following main tasks:

  • Conduct an initial audit of Cal Poly’s existing baseline service level with comparison of subscribed service levels against the actual levels of provided service to ensure that Cal Poly is currently receiving the services that are paid for;
  • Analyze findings from the audit to provide accurate minimum required service level for use in the RFP;
  • Determine Cal Poly’s collection need and develop procurement strategy;
  • Prepare and issue RFP package;
  • Review and evaluate submitted proposals, including assembling an Evaluation Team and conducting interviews;
  • Develop a contract management guide for Cal Poly that clearly identifies important terms and conditions of the Agreement, such as monthly, quarterly and annual reports, diversion reports, and outreach and education;
  • Provide contract management training and support to one designated Cal Poly staff person with responsibility for management and oversight of the selected hauler; and
  • Provide on-call assistance to Cal Poly during the transition to the newly selected hauler following the RFP process.

Project objectives include the following benefits:

  • Incorporation of new solid waste services, programs, and rates into Cal Poly’s new Agreement with the selected hauler;
  • Compliance with regulatory requirements, including SB 1383; and
  • Benchmarking of the Cal Poly solid waste system’s effectiveness, sustainability efforts, and future needs to improve the collection efficiency and material diversion.
City of Beaumont, City Hall

R3 recently assisted the City of Beaumont (City) with the negotiations with their exclusive franchised hauler, Waste Management (WM), for a new Franchise Agreement (Agreement) for the collection of residential and commercial solid waste. The new Agreement was designed to address new regulatory requirements and, specifically, featured programs to achieve SB 1383 compliance.

R3’s tasks for this engagement included the following:

  • Analyzed the City’s existing customer service rates and rate structure and compared them to similar jurisdictions to support the City’s ability to obtain rate and/or service concessions from WM as part of the new Agreement;
  • Reviewed the existing Agreement to develop an understanding of how the City’s current solid waste collection programs and services, performance standards, and operational requirements compared to solid waste industry standard best practices; and
  • Provided the City with recommendations for Agreement updates that incorporated the latest international solid waste trends and state legislation, including AB 341, AB 1826, AB 901, AB 1594, and SB 1383.

Our negotiation support included advising the City on how to cost effectively implement commercial organics, and validating WM’s cost basis for the new services.

With our assistance, the City gained the following benefits:

  • $5 million contract extension payment by WM to the City that transfers City billing functions and street sweeping services to WM at no cost to the City;
  • Universal recycling and organics for all commercial and MFD accounts;
  • 5-year residential rate freeze;
  • Future annual rate increases capped at 4% per year;
  • $2.1 million/year franchise fee paid by WM to the City;
  • $125,000/year paid by WM to the City to fund City staffing and contract services for contract monitoring and compliance;
  • Provision by WM of a half-time dedicated contract compliance/recycling coordinator for the City; and
  • Provision by WM of a sustainability team for ongoing outreach and compliance with SB 1383, AB 1826, and AB 341.
Food Recovery

R3, with the assistance of Debra Kaufman Consulting, is currently engaged by the Alameda County Community Food Bank (ACCFB) to assist with the development of a Strategic Plan for its Food Recovery Program (FRP). The R3 Team’s objective is to develop a Strategic Plan to guide the FRP’s efforts over the next 3 to 4 years with a particular focus on SB 1383, and set appropriate performance targets for the program. We are performing the following main tasks for this engagement:

  • Driving the strategic planning process;
  • Facilitating and managing the project timeline and keep the project on track to its completion in collaboration with FRP Team members;
  • Setting timeline goals for meetings;
  • Establishing milestones and deliverables throughout the planning process, including engaging other stakeholders as agreed to with the FRP Team;
  • Assisting in initiating a coordinated effort between the FRP and ACCFB and the Alameda County Waste Management Authority (ACWMA) and its Member Agencies;
  • Preparing an Initial Draft of the Strategic Plan; and
  • Revising and Finalizing the Final FRP Strategic Plan.

The Strategic Plan being developed will be focused on infrastructure, staffing structure, logistics, and projected growth. It is being designed to help the FRP effectively support:

  • Increasing the number of meals that the ACCFB and its partner agencies distribute; and
  • Improving the quality and desirability of those meals to ACCFB’s consumers.

As part of this project, the R3 Team is also working with the Alameda County Waste Management Authority (ACWMA) and its Member Agencies to assist in implementing a coordinated Countywide SB 1383 food recovery effort.

Significant issues impacting the FRP and ACCFB that the R3 Team is considering as part of the strategic planning process include:

  • Transportation and Logistics: The main challenge is to develop the logistics and providing sustainable funding for the necessary food collection and distribution system that also addresses the volatility in the availability and need for food on any given day;
  • Smaller Quantities = Increased Unit Costs: As larger donors are secured, securing food from smaller quantity generators will become more prevalent, with reduced economies of scale and higher per pound food recovery costs;
  • Public Education and Outreach: There is a constant need to reeducate donors due to high rates of employee turnover at the businesses donating food;
  • Storage Space and limited Additional Facility Capacity: The need for increased facility capacity for the ACCFB and its partner agencies, as well as increased refrigerated and non-refrigerated storage, must be addressed;
  • Students and Homeless: Homelessness within the ACCFB’s service area has increased 30-40% in the past 2 years, and in Oakland 75% of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches; and
  • Patchwork System: There is an opportunity to replace the current patchwork food recovery system with a more efficient, effective and coordinated, Countywide SB 1383 food recovery effort.
City of Merced

R3 was recently engaged by the City of Merced (City) to assist with the preparation of an amended solid waste and revenue Rate Study and 5-Year Financial Plan to meet the projected future expenses and obligations for municipally-operated hauling division over the coming five years. This study served as an amendment to the rate model R3 developed for the City in 2014, providing calculated rate adjustments following the City’s recently adjusted January 2019 rates and five scenarios with recommended rate adjustments to set forthcoming rates through January 2023.

Project tasks R3 conducted for this engagement included the following:

  • Reviewing the City’s current utility policies, procedures, and regulatory requirements as they relate to the City’s solid waste collection operations, capital projects, revenue program requirements;
  • Updating R3’s previous Rate Model and determining whether additional revenues were needed to meet projected expenses costs associated with residential, commercial, and/or development growth, and the possible expansion of collection programs, including commercial recycling and organics services;
  • Developing alternative scenarios for adjusting rates to meet expense and revenue requirements over the planning period, and providing recommended rate adjustments for each scenario;
  • Reviewing the City’s Municipal Code as related to the collection of solid waste and recyclables within the City; and
  • Conducting a residential and commercial rate and service survey to establish benchmarks and analysis of how similar jurisdictions are setting rates and allocating services and expenses based on Proposition 218.

As a result of our work, the City gained the following benefits:

  • Ability to project capital and operational revenues and expenses on a cost-of-service basis over an extended planning period, and analyze and set appropriate rates;
  • Excel-based five-year Financial Plan and rate model; and
  • Assessment of expenses related to implementation of new programmatic requirements in response to new legislation including AB 341, AB 1826 and SB 1383, as well as the requirements of Proposition 218.
City of Fairfield

R3 is engaged by the City of Fairfield (City) to provide a Legislative Compliance Plan to assist with the requirements of AB 341, AB 1826, AB 1594, and SB 1383. We are conducting the following main tasks on behalf of the City:

  • Identifying legislative requirements and action items for the City and Republic;
  • Reviewing Republic’s residential organics waste plan for composting 100% of source-separated green and food waste from residential premises in the calendar year 2020 and beyond, as per a 2016 Amendment to Republic’s Agreement;
  • Developing a Legislative Compliance Plan for the City, including updates to City Council on the legislative compliance requirements of AB 341, AB 1826, and AB 1594, as well as the draft regulation requirements of SB 1383;
  • Reviewing the sections of the City’s Municipal Code regarding solid waste collection and management to provide recommendations for modernizing and streamlining Code language in accordance with industry best practices, state legislation, and the City’s needs;
  • Providing the City with full-service negotiation assistance with Republic as necessary, based on the legislative requirements identified as best suited for the City;
  • Conducting a survey of comparable services and rates specifically related to organics collection services for at least ten (10) other jurisdictions, focused specifically in the Solano County and surrounding areas; and
  • Assisting the City in revising its current C&D Agreements to incorporate legislative requirements as necessary.

We are also providing on-call support services, which include:

  • Managing the exclusive Collection Agreement with Republic and the non‐exclusive Agreements for C&D collection services;
  • Monitoring and managing the City’s mandatory commercial and multi‐family recycling and organics programs;
  • Assisting with on‐site “right‐sizing” of customer service levels and collection frequency;
  • Assisting with code enforcement training / guidelines;
  • Managing grant applications;
  • Reporting to CalRecycle; and
  • Providing updates at public meetings and/or subcommittees.
CalRecycle - SB 1393 Local Services Rates Analysis Report

CalRecycle engaged R3 (along with subconsultants Cascadia Consulting Group and Integrated Waste Management Consulting) to conduct research and analysis related to cost impacts of SB 1383 to local jurisdictions and organics infrastructure needs. R3’s primary objective was to provide CalRecycle with a comprehensive understanding of the State’s municipal solid waste and recycling rates, policies, and programs that support organic waste infrastructure development, and resources that may be used by local jurisdictions in the future. This information will be used by CalRecycle in the market analysis required by SB 1383.

R3 developed and distributed questionnaires to collect customer rate structure, funding, and policy data from regional agencies throughout California. In total, R3 identified 567 jurisdictions including 58 counties, 482 cities, and 27 active regional agencies to survey. In addition, R3 contacted waste haulers and facility operators to obtain information related to rates, anticipated capital investment, and facility capacity. R3 supplemented the findings with an existing inventory of rate and policy data.

The most common challenges and barriers mentioned during the surveys of jurisdictions, haulers, and facilities fell into one of three categories:

  • Current rate structures and rate-setting considerations;
  • Contracting and enforcement options; and
  • Lack of infrastructure for processing.

After analyzing the data collected through surveys, these and other solutions and policy alternatives were developed to overcome the barriers and challenges identified:

  • Directly develop organics processing infrastructure;
  • Offer universal collection service rate structure;
  • Roll out universal commercial organics;
  • Increase route efficiencies / change weekly service requirements;
  • Require registration and periodic reporting by self-haul;
  • Extend term of Franchise Agreements;
  • Ban organics disposal at landfill;
  • Include organics processing in disposal / processing Agreements; and
  • Require haulers and facilities to support organics processing costs through disposal fees.

A Resource Toolkit was developed to assist jurisdictions in implementing new programs related to organic material collection, tracking, and infrastructure development, including:

  • Model waste enclosure guidelines;
  • Supporting education and outreach examples; and
  • Case studies.

In January 2020, CalRecycle released R3’s draft report titled SB 1383 Local Services Rates, which included R3’s research and analysis regarding the cost impacts of SB 1383 to local jurisdictions. The report is available at https://www2.calrecycle.ca.gov/Docs/Web/116805.

R3 was recently engaged by the City of Santa Monica (City) to conduct an Operational Analysis, Rate Study, and Zero Waste Plan Update for the Resource Recovery and Recycling Division (RRR Division)’s municipally operated solid waste collection and recycling operations. The primary objective of this project is to determine how to continue achieving the City’s long-term sustainability goals and initiatives while preserving the health of the RRR Enterprise Fund. R3 is leading a multi-consultant team (Sloan Vazquez McAfee, HDR and Abbe & Associates) in conducting the following six primary tasks for this engagement:

  • Staffing, Routing and Vehicle Efficiency Analysis;
  • Billing Audit;
  • Technology & Systems Review;
  • Zero Waste Strategic Operations Plan Review & Update;
  • Rate Study & Financial Analysis; and
  • Community Engagement Plan Development.

By working closely with the City and engaging its ratepayers through a robust community outreach process, the R3 Team will provide recommendations for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of its solid waste operations and determine rate adjustments that may be necessary to sustain the RRR Division’s activities for the next 10 years while supporting the City’s Zero Waste goals.

This engagement includes the following components:

Staffing, Routing and Vehicle Efficiency Analysis: The R3 Team is assessing the efficiency of the RRR Division’s operational aspects by reviewing staffing, routing, and vehicle information and reports, and conducting onsite visits and interviews of City staff and customers. This comprehensive review will include but is not limited to: analyzing the RRR Division’s organizational structure, management system, staffing practices and safety procedures; evaluating routing and schedule efficiency; and reviewing collection vehicle maintenance practices and procedures. R3 will develop recommendations for the City to improve the long-term functionality, productivity, and safety of the RRR Division’s operations and management structure based on solid waste industry practices.

Billing Audit: The R3 Team is determining if the City has been accurately billing all of its residential and commercial customers based on a paper review of billing records in the NorthStar customer billing system as compared to the City’s routing records. The RRR Division currently shares the NorthStar customer billing system, which was designed for the City’s Water Resources Department and provides combined bimonthly billing of water, sewer, and solid waste services. Since the technology was not specifically designed for the solid waste industry, it does not allow for routing solutions, route sheets, or expanded solid waste customer service information, and runs the inherent risk of producing customer billing errors.

Technology and Systems Review: The R3 Team is evaluating the current technology system(s) in use by the City to identify and evaluate the costs, efficiency, and effectiveness of several operations systems enhancements, and to provide recommendations on whether the systems would be cost-effective and beneficial to the City. This review will include a comparison of the capabilities of the NorthStar systems to other billing and routing technology systems.

Zero Waste Strategic Operations Plan Review and Update: The R3 Team is assisting the City in updating its 2014 Zero Waste Plan and recommending additional strategies to further the City’s progress towards its goal of achieving 95% diversion by 2030 in the event that current strategies are not sufficient, or if the Zero Waste goal is determined to no longer be realistic for the City.

For this task, R3 is taking a data-driven approach to assessing the City’s progress toward achieving its Zero Waste goals by using multiple metrics including, but not limited to: tonnage of waste disposed and diverted; the diversion rate; total pounds per person per day (PPD) and CalRecycle diversion rate equivalent; estimated greenhouse gas emission reductions; customer participation; and AB 341 and 1826 commercial recycling compliance. Based on these metrics, the R3 Team will project Citywide disposal through 2030 to determine if the City is on track to meet its 95% diversion goal and recommend strategies to enhance the effectiveness of current programs or implement new programs that will increase diversion in a cost-effective manner. For each Zero Waste strategy recommendation, the R3 Team will provide the City with an analysis of estimated additional diversion and implementation costs.

Rate Study and Rate Model: The R3 Team is determining the sustainability of the City’s current rate structure to continue supporting solid waste operations without depleting the City’s RRR Enterprise Fund, which receives 90% of its revenue from solid waste operations. The R3 Team is conducting a comprehensive analysis of the Fund’s financial forecast, revenues, and expenditures for solid waste and recycling operations over a 10-year planning period and assisting the City in transitioning from line-item to program-based budgeting.

For this task, the R3 Team is developing an Excel-based Rate Model for use by the City to project revenues and expenses, and evaluate current and future rate-adjustment options, including cost-of-service rate options, over an extended planning period. R3 is also conducting a Benchmarking Survey of solid waste rates and service of (a minimum of five) comparable communities, including analysis of how other municipalities have managed the financial impact of Proposition 218.

Community Engagement Plan: As part of this engagement, the R3 Team is also developing a Community Engagement Plan and outreach materials for the Zero Waste Plan and Rate Study Model. The objective is to provide opportunities for residents and businesses to learn about and provide meaningful feedback on changes to the City’s Zero Waste Plan and rate structure to ensure that both meet the needs of the City and its ratepayers.

The anticipated benefits of this engagement include:

  • Recommendations for improving the long-term functionality, productivity, and safety of the RRR Division’s operations and management structure;
  • Verification of the accuracy of residential and commercial customer billing;
  • Recommendations for improving costs, efficiency, and effectiveness of the City’s current technology systems, including billing and routing;
  • Analysis of the City’s current efforts towards achieving its Zero Waste goal of 95% diversion by 2030, and recommended strategies to further the City’s progress towards that goal;
  • Determination of the current rate structure’s ability to support ongoing solid waste operations in the City;
  • Development of an Excel-based Rate Model to project revenues/expenses and evaluate rate-adjustment options over an extended planning period; and

Community engagement process for residents and businesses to learn about and provide feedback on changes to the City’s Zero Waste Plan and rate structure.

Zero Waste Marin Final Report Organics Graphic

The Marin County Hazardous and Solid Waste Management Joint Powers Authority (Zero Waste Marin) represents Marin County, 11 incorporated cities or towns within Marin County, and 12 special collection districts that franchise for hauling services, for a total of 24 agencies. R3 was engaged by the Marin County Hazardous and Solid Waste Management Joint Powers Authority (Zero Waste Marin) to assist in its development of a “Materials Flow & Capacity Analysis” in order to improve its regulatory compliance and long-term planning. This project included an analysis of organic waste processing capacity and tool development to evaluate potential organic waste diversion scenarios through year 2025. The primary goal was to improve Zero Waste Marin’s regulatory compliance with state solid waste and recycling requirements and long-term planning.

The main tasks of this engagement included:

  • Supporting legislative and regulatory compliance with a specific focus on SB 1383, AB 876 and AB 901;
  • Verifying the accuracy of the 2012 Environmental Science Associates (ESA) projections of long term disposal capacity at Redwood Landfill and updating those projections through 2017;
  • Developing an Excel-based tool to enhance Zero Waste Marin staff reporting capabilities and facilitate long-term solid waste planning; and
  • Presenting the Zero Waste Marin Board with a list of pressing, actionable policy matters to support the region’s access to cost-effective, environmentally responsible solid waste infrastructure in both the short and long term.

To assist in supporting legislative and regulatory compliance, R3 reviewed the Organics Management Infrastructure Planning Calculator used in the 2017 EAR (for reporting year 2016) and assisted Zero Waste Marin in refining the assumptions and worksheet to determine the need for and availability of organic waste processing capacity. This helped Zero Waste Marin characterize SB 1383 compliance related to a 50% reduction in organic waste disposal from the 2014 level by 2020, and a 75% reduction by 2025. R3 also reviewed Zero Waste Marin’s Excel workbook for CalRecycle State Disposal Reporting System (DRS) reports to identify new hauler and facility reporting needs from AB 901, update the workbook for AB 901 preparedness, and assess the AB 901 data gathering system in order to determine what information Zero Waste Marin should obtain directly from the haulers and facilities for Zero Waste Marin assessment calculations.

R3 reviewed findings of the 2012 Environmental Science Associated (ESA) projections of long-term disposal capacity at Redwood Landfill to verify accuracy of disposal capacity in the ESA projections. Using the ESA model, with corrections as necessary, R3 updated landfill capacity projections based on information through 2017.

R3 also developed an Excel-based tonnage scenario modeling tool for Zero Waste Marin that meets legislative and regulatory specifications and builds upon the updated disposal reporting workbook. The Excel tool allows Zero Waste Marin staff to “plug in” scenarios for alternative disposal and materials handling situations, allowing for consideration of various scenarios over time and better planning for future changes.

Finally, R3 prepared a draft and final report, and prepared and delivered presentations to Zero Waste Marin.

Project benefits included the following:

  • Characterization of SB 1383 compliance related to a 50% reduction in organic waste disposal from the 2014 level by 2020, and a 75% reduction by 2025;
  • Projection of organics processing capacity and needed processing capacity over several scenarios;
  • Detailed analysis of upcoming policy requirements under AB 901 and SB 1383, among other legislation;
  • Updates to Zero Waste Marin’s Excel workbook for CalRecycle State Disposal Reporting System (DRS) for reporting under AB 901, including new hauler and facility reporting needs and specification of information to obtain directly from the haulers and facilities for JPA assessment calculations; and
  • A user-friendly Excel tool for Zero Waste Marin staff that enhances Marin County reporting capabilities and facilitate long-term solid waste planning.
Alameda Stakeholder Workshop

R3 was engaged by the City of Alameda (City) to conduct a Zero Waste Implementation Plan Update (ZWIP Update) for the City and assess Alameda’s progress towards its target of 89% diversion by 2020. R3’s primary objective was to evaluate and expand upon the City’s current diversion strategies, and introduce new methods to increase waste diversion as needed to help the community reach its goals.

For this project, R3 performed a detailed analysis of Alameda’s diversion and disposal since implementation of the ZWIP starting in 2011, and found that – based on historic trends in population growth and waste reduction –  the City would fall 6% short of its 2020 goal. As such, R3 recommended a revised zero waste goal date of 2022 for adoption by the City, and developed subsequent achievement metrics and timeline for implementation.

Based on identification of opportunities to reduce waste sent to landfill, R3 developed a recommended set of Zero Waste strategies with high potential for diversion via maximization of source-separation diversion programs, including multi-family and commercial waste, food recovery and organics management, and construction and demolition debris. R3 calculated the City’s estimated costs and potential rate impacts for each strategy with projected implementation over a 5-year planning horizon. The strategies were selected to maximize diversion within a short timeframe and to yield reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to support the City’s Local Action Plan for Climate Protection, and were developed in response to community feedback emphasizing the importance of Zero Waste culture and source separation.

As a result of our recommendations, City approved $300,000 in funds per year for technical assistance to commercial and multi-family customers.

Other project benefits included the City gaining:

  • Comprehensive evaluation of the City’s current ZWIP’s progress and effectiveness;
  • Recommendation of a revised Zero Waste goal date for the City to achieve its diversion goal;
  • A set of priority Zero Waste strategies which, when combined with continued implementation of the City’s ZWIP, are estimated to result in approximately 15,600 tons of additional diversion per year – the amount by which Alameda needs to reduce its landfill disposal in order to meet its goal;
  • Support for Alameda’s Local Action Plan for Climate Protection through Zero Waste strategies that target food waste and other organic waste to reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
  • Recommendations for updating the Plan regarding Zero Waste; and
  • Calculation of the City’s estimated costs and potential rate impacts for each Zero Waste strategy and projected implementation over a 5-year planning horizon.