Privatization: How Much Control Should You Keep?

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Courtesy of Weston Solutions, Inc


One characteristic of solid waste management in the 1990s was the redistribution of responsibilities between the public and the private sector. The costs involved in upgrading local landfills to meet more stringent regulations drove many local governments out of the landfill business.

At the same time, many state and local governments began to set waste reduction goals and mandates as well as to dictate how solid waste should be collected. To respond to these challenges, some local governments developed new programs and facilities. Others depended solely on the private sector to develop solutions. However, many local governments took an approach somewhere inthe middle of these two extremes, retaining some control over solid waste management while involving private companies in developing or operating programs and facilities.

This trend of reassigning responsibilities shows no sign of waning. Each budget cycle or election causes local governments to reevaluate the way solid waste is managed in their community. There are many approaches to partnering with the private sector to deliver solid waste management services. The key is to determine which approach allows a local government to retain sufficient control to ensure that solid waste management goals are met yet benefit from the strengths of the private sector.

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