Solid Waste Study Released

January 31, 2018

Following a two-year study that included multiple public meetings, a survey of residents and outreach to the Jefferson County League of Cities and private waste hauling businesses, a consulting report that assesses Louisville’s current solid waste management system has been finalized.

The report includes recommended improvements and lays the groundwork as the city works to develop ways to accomplish Mayor Greg Fischer’s goal of diverting 90 percent of the community’s solid waste away from landfills by the year 2042.

The consulting report was led by Orlando, Fla.-based MSW Consultants, in partnership with Cascadia Consulting Group (Seattle, Wash.) and Abbe & Associates (Alameda, Calif.) under a $350,000 contract. MSW is a management consulting firm specializing in the waste and recycling industry.

Begun with a public meeting on Dec. 8, 2015, the consultant’s study was conducted in three phases. The first examined the makeup of Louisville’s residential and commercial wastes and helped quantify potential diversion opportunities.

It found, for example, that in 2015, two-thirds of the 879,000 tons of waste put into area landfills could have been diverted through recycling, composting or reuse.

Phase Two looked at the policies, operations and costs associated with the present waste and recycling collection system. The consultants determined that costs vary widely depending largely on whether a household is in the Urban Services District, one of the 82 smaller municipalities in Jefferson County, or in an unincorporated area of the county.

In Phase Three, results of the previous phases were shared with the public before short- and long-term recommendations were developed for all aspects of the waste management system.

Short-term recommendations focus on the possibility of expanding services and education, as well as updated ordinances and contracts. Longer term recommendations include initiatives such as an online materials exchange program, every-other-week trash collection and mandatory recycling.

Those recommendations will be studied by Public Works, Metro Council and the Louisville/Jefferson County Solid Waste District, with additional public input, before any potential changes are made.

The full report can be found online at .

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