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RFP It and They Will Come… Structuring Contracts for Organics

January 30, 2016

U.S. Compost Council Annual Conference, Jacksonville, FL Presenter: Rob Hilton, Vice President

Driving diversion of organic materials from landfills is a topic that has been discussed for years; however, developing programs to do so often presents a myriad of financial and operational challenges. With cities, counties and states across the nation embracing the need to increase organics diversion, along with the passing of new legislation in California (mandatory organics collection, and elimination of diversion credits for organics used as landfill cover), the need to develop sustainable organics collection and processing programs is more pressing than ever. The goal of this presentation is to demonstrate that this may be achieved through well-managed procurement processes. This presentation offers a closer look into what drives the economics of organics programs, and ultimately provides a roadmap for developing successful organics collection and processing contracts.

The presentation begins by laying out a broad list of planning factors that any agency developing an organics program should consider, along with a discussion of scoping options (e.g., what is the available or desired timeline? Will the contract include incentives or subsidies? Will there be a pilot area, or other form of phased implementation?). It then provides an overview of various procurement approaches (e.g., negotiate with existing service provider(s), “design-build-operate” a public facility, or a launch competitive RFP) and considers the process-related and economic factors (including pros/cons) of such options. The presentation discusses the importance, and provides examples, of various strategies for stakeholder outreach and education, both leading up to, and throughout the new contract. Finally, the presentation highlights some best practices for implementing and managing the new contract for ongoing success.

The presentation concludes with a look at how all of these factors have come into play in three distinct regions in California.