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Case Studies

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County of Santa Cruz

Non-Exclusive Roll-off Franchising (2013)

Project Background

The Santa Cruz County Code specifically requires all providers of solid waste collection services to be authorized through a franchise with the County. The only franchise that the County authorized, historically, was the countywide residential and collection franchise, which specifically limited the exclusive rights of the franchisee to containers smaller than 10 cubic yards. As a result of the inconsistency in the County’s policies, numerous unregulated roll-off collection service providers were operating in the unincorporated areas of the County. This resulted in: 1) an uneven playing field between the unregulated haulers and the Countywide residential and commercial franchisee who was required to have insurance, pay franchise fees, deliver waste to the County landfill, and provide recycling programs; 2) a loss of franchise and tipping fee revenue to the County; and, 3) very low recycling rates in the roll-off sector, despite the County’s zero waste goal and mandatory recycling policy.

Project Results

During a 2012 assessment of the County’s solid waste system, HF&H identified regulating this sector as a priority if the County wanted to achieve its zero waste goals and improve the financial sustainability of its solid waste system. The County implemented the non-exclusive roll-off regulatory system in January 2014. That system covers nine franchise service providers and includes requirements for:

  • Provision of recycling, organics, and C&D services by all haulers;
  • Delivery of all C&D materials and landfill-bound solid waste to County facilities;
  • Payment of a 10% franchise fee and $15 per pull administrative/AB 939 fee to the County;
  • Comprehensive reporting and auditing of haulers to maintain fairness; and,
  • Standard risk management and legal provisions required by the County.