Funding and implementation:
who does what, when, and who pays?
No action plan would be complete without a thorough discussion of the steps needed for program implementation, with assignment of responsibilities, scheduling of tasks, and decisions regarding how much the program will cost and how to fund it.
Although grant funds may be available in some cases to help offset the initial start-up cost of facilities and equipment, a local source of matching funds may be needed. The ongoing operational expense for the program will not normally be covered by revenue to be collected through the sale of recovered materials, or the marketing of recycled-content products or organic compost.
Particularly in California, but elsewhere as well, during difficult economic times, tax revenues and other general sources of public funding are strictly limited, and program funding usually comes either from direct charges to program users, or from recycling program fees incorporated into the total cost of operating the integrated waste management (IWM) system. In areas where the collection of waste and recovered materials is provided by public entities, or by contract to the private sector, this charge will be reflected as a portion of the monthly bill for services. Where access to transfer stations and drop-off recycling facilities continues to play a role in the local IWM system, customers pay this fee as a part of the per-ton cost to deliver waste destined for the landfill to that facility.
Encouraging public participation in collection programs for recoverable materials is enhanced when local disposal costs are high, and when the cost for disposal is directly related to the quantity of materials wasted. This system is based on the volume or weight of garbage produced, and is known as unit pricing or pay-as-you-throw. For more information on this program, see the chapter on incentives and disincentives in Unit Two.
Communities with lower disposal costs may find it difficult to motivate participation, particularly when recycling program users are expected to pay the full cost of programs that are subjected to much greater economic analysis than is typically the case for waste disposal. Even when landfill disposal costs include a portion of the cost for closing the current site once it is filled, and for managing the site over time to attempt to limit the future environmental impacts from the materials disposed at the site, disposal costs rarely incorporate the cost to replace current space in the future. The cost to plan for, develop, site, and construct the next landfill is pushed forward in time, and funded at the time the new site is needed, rather than built into the cost of using up the space in the current site. Every cubic yard of space filled today will need to be replaced with a yard of space in the landfill of the future, in much the same way that equipment depreciates and must be replaced once its useful life is completed.
In some areas, for some materials, the creation of advance disposal (or recycling) fees is instrumental in providing funding needed to recover and manage the targeted materials. Typical examples are tires, used motor oil, automotive batteries, and beverage containers. The sales price for theseproducts includes a deposit or core charge, which is often refunded to the customer at the time the product or container is returned. In some cases, these funds are used to help provide a collection and recycling infrastructure formanagement of the material. Enactment of such a fee to help manage and recycle discarded electronics equipment is likely in the near future. Historically these fees have been extremely controversial, have been resisted by manufacturers, and have been limited to products and materials with potential negative health and safety impacts to the public if improperly managed.
Task One: Consolidate time lines and implementation schedules for selected alternatives
Just as the implementation of new collection systems and the construction of new facilities requires a comprehensive planning and implementation process, so does the adoption and implementation of the plan itself. Your research is complete, you have worked with the local community to develop the components and programs that make up your plan and you are ready to finalize and implement your document. Just as each individual program and facility needs to have funding provisions and an implementation schedule; your overall plan should include the same level of detail and thought that you have put into each element of the plan.
Assemble the information you have gathered for each of the programs and facilities to be incorporated into your plan. If you are using an existing document, like the Countywide Integrated Waste Management Plan prepared by California counties to satisfy the requirements of the Integrated Waste Management Act, AB939, you may already have an outline to guide your work [Chapter 5, Section 8: Implementation Schedule for Countywide or Regional Programs; Chapter 6: Financing of Countywide or Regional Programs].
Task Two: Distribute completed draft plan for review.
Make sure that copies of the plan are available to members of the advisory committee, all identified stakeholders, and the public. Supply your public library with review copies. Compile the draft in binder form to facilitate making changes without reprinting the entire document. Create and distribute a summary of the plan which can be easily downloaded electronically. Prepare and distribute a media kit to highlight the central elements of your plan. Be sure to include public officials at all levels in the review process.
Encourage comment and input. Present the plan to community groups at informal public meetings. Actively look for ways to incorporate public comment into the final document.
Task Three: Present the final plan for adoption.
Once you have finished incorporating comments and input received during the draft plan review, you are finally ready to proceed with adoption of the plan. If your process has been thorough, inclusive, open, and honest, this final step will be both a formality and a celebration of all the effort that you and your community have invested in this adventure.
Because of the community’s involvement in the process from the beginning, it is likely that many of the programs included in your plan will already be happening, or well on the way towards becoming reality. In some cases, these programs will be similar to the efforts already in progress when you started the planning process. If this is the case, you are fortunate. Even so, the plan itself will provide support to your ongoing efforts to continue improving the ability of your community to recover resources and eliminate waste, and the process will serve to help with the important task of enlisting and informing community support as you move forward.
Task Four: Implement, implement, implement!
Now that your plan is complete, it is time to get back to work. The remainder of this toolkit will provide the framework of policies, programs, and resources you will need to incorporate into your plan in order to create a comprehensive and effective document. Wherever possible, we have provided you with contact information so that you may go directly to the people and communities that have implemented the policies and programs included in this toolkit.
Each of us learns from the experience of others, takes back what is useful and relevant, and incorporates it into our own set of circumstances. These are programs and policies that have worked for others. We hope you will find them helpful as your community embarks on its own zero waste adventure.