What Are  the  Components
            of Waste  Collection  and
       Existing waste collection and transport systems often cannot handle
       the amount of waste generated by large cities with growing
       populations. When this occurs, waste is disposed of in uncontrolled
dumps or openly burned. This type of unmonitored and uncontrolled waste
disposal has negative consequences on human health and the environment.
Improvements to waste collection and transport can create jobs, decrease
open dumping and burning, increase appeal for tourism, and significantly
improve public health. This fact sheet provides basic guidelines for planning
waste collection and transport activities in cities. These guidelines support
an ongoing process of improvements to waste practices through integrated
solid waste management (ISWM). A case study at the end of this fact sheet
shows how a community in Egypt benefitted from implementing some of
these guidelines.
What Are Some Guidelines for Planning Waste Collection and
Careful planning is critical to utilizing resources efficiently and effectively. The plan
should consider factors such as applicable laws and regulations; whether a local or
regional approach is most appropriate; available resources and costs; the types, amounts,
and locations of waste to be collected and transported; and public acceptance of these
activities. The following guidelines can be selectively considered during the planning
process for waste collection and transport.
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Review existing laws or regulations on waste
collection, transport, and disposal. When
designing a waste system, you should determine
whether existing national, state, provincial,
regional, or local regulations provide adequate
legal authority to establish a waste collection,
transport, and disposal system. For example, the
regulations may specify vehicle types and sizes
that can be used for collection, road use
limitations (what vehicles may travel on what
roads and during what hours), and waste
transport safety requirements to reduce the
potential harm and exposure to the public. If no
such requirements exist in current regulations,
the national government may want to rewrite the
regulation or address these issues in a national
policy and/or decree.

Designate one agency to oversee waste
collection, transport, and disposal. The local
government should make one agency responsible
for waste collection, transport, and disposal.
Having a single agency for this task will help
eliminate potential overlap and confusion  among
various government agencies.

Determine geographic scope of collection
and transport services. Several local
governments may consider combining resources
to create a regional collection and transport
authority. This alternative is usually more cost-
effective and may also reduce the need to site
several disposal facilities. If a regional authority
approach is selected, communities need to agree
on an overall budget and source of funding, then
determine how much funding each community
will contribute to the program. Many
communities also have found they can decrease
the cost and improve the quality of service by
using private waste collection  and transport
companies and even cooperatives or micro-
enterprises, rather than providing this service
 Determine funding, equipment, and labor
 needs. After the agency has been selected, you
 should determine how much labor, equipment,
 and money to dedicate toward managing waste
 collection and transport. This decision should be
 based on at least a basic knowledge of the types
 and amounts of waste, as well as distances
 traveled to the waste disposal site. Table 1 lists
 the advantages and disadvantages of various
 collection and transport methods. Note that city
 and rural communities have very different waste
 collection and transport needs. In rural areas, for
 example, the most economical method may be
 manual collection from communal bins. In city
 areas with established roads, trucks may be used.
 Enclosed trash containers should be used
 whenever possible to reduce infestation by
 insects and rodents. Other factors to consider
 include vehicle maintenance, frequency of
 collection, cost of labor, and potential revenues.
Types of Solid Waste Customers
Potential customers may include public
housing, private residences, factories or other
industrial facilities, construction and demolition
sites, office buildings and commercial
establishments, and large public institutions
such as universities, hospitals, and prisons. In
most countries, solid waste generated by a
private business is paid for by the company.
 Determine the type and amount of waste to
 be processed. You should identify the types of
 customers that will be served (see box above).
 You then need to determine how much waste
 these customers currently generate, and estimate
 how much they expect to generate in the future.
 Future generation rates can be determined by
 multiplying the following factors: amount of
 waste generated per person per year, population
 size, anticipated population growth, and the

   number of years the landfill will be in
   operation. Finally, you should determine what
   types of wastes are generated—household
   wastes, bulky items, or construction and
   demolition wastes. Note that waste
   composition may vary with climate, type of
   customer served, and the region's economy
   (e.g., more plant or vegetation waste may be
   generated during the growing season). This
   factor is especially important in tourist or
   resort areas, where the number of people and
   the amounts of waste tend to change

   Consider a transfer station. Facilities where
   waste is transferred from manual or small
   collection vehicles to larger vehicles before
   being transported to disposal sites or landfills
                           are called transfer stations. Transfer stations are
                           necessary when disposal sites are located far
                           from the collection areas, or when several
                           communities contribute to the same landfill or
                           waste facility. Transfer stations can also serve as
                           a central location for activities to sort and
                           recover waste.

                           Involve the public. To address the needs of
                           the community, obtain and consider public
                           input throughout the planning and decision-
                           making process. Obtaining public input also
                           offers opportunities to educate  the community
                           about proper waste collection, storage, and
                           disposal. This will help ensure an effective
                           solid waste management system.
Table 1—Waste Collection and Transport Methods
    Transfer stations
   Carry large loads.
   Appropriate for hauling over long
   distances typical in rural areas.
   Require few workers.
   Carry large loads.
   Appropriate for transporting waste
   long distances.

   Carry large loads.
   Appropriate for transport between
   coastal communities or on large

   Serve as an intermediate collection
   point for small-scale waste haulers
   (e.g., carts).
   Appropriate for urban areas where
   disposal is located far away.
   Can further support the secondary
   materials markets (i.e., recycling).
   Have moderate maintenance costs.
   Require established roadways.
                                                                  Expensive to operate and maintain.
                                                                  Railroad proximity to customers a
                                                                  Expensive to operate and maintain.
                                                                  Not appropriate for land transport.
                                                                  Must be used in combination with
                                                                  other transport methods.
                                                                  Require a dedicated site,
                                                                  maintenance, and site management
                                                                  May have public opposition due to
                                                                  odors, increased traffic, and illegal
                                                                  dumping and/or open burning.


         As part of a regional environmental action plan developed by Support for Environmental
         Assessment and Management (SEAM), a task force consisting of the Egyptian
         Environmental Affairs Agency and a British consulting firm, communities throughout
   parts of Egypt were surveyed on environmental issues. In Bardees, a city of 40,000, residents
   identified waste management as its most important environmental problem.
   SEAM worked with local organizations in Bardees to
   get more detailed opinions from both residents and
   waste collection workers. Many residents were
   concerned about inadequate coverage of collection
   services and the general dirty appearance of city
   streets. The  city's equipment was in poor condition
   and  held a limited amount of waste, which often
   spilled onto the streets. Collection was inconsistent
   and  incomplete, with 90 percent of residents in
   smaller streets often not receiving any service.
   Through community focus groups, SEAM found that
   approximately 68 percent of residents were willing to
   pay for improved services. Waste collection workers
   were consulted to identify disposal patterns and
   collection  needs. SEAM and the local government
   council also  researched the community's existing
   waste stream and waste management practices. They
   determined  common waste disposal practices and
   preferred ways to collect waste. The city was
   collecting trash using tractors attached to trailers that
   could hold only 2.5 cubic meters (m3) of waste, and
   some residents were paying donkey-cart operators
   to collect their waste.

Nonbiodegradable: Not capable of
decomposing under natural conditions.

Regulation: A rule or ordinance by
which conduct is regulated or that
establishes certain standards or
requirements for activities or operations.

Source Separated: Separating various
wastes at the point of generation (e.g.,
separation of paper, metal, and glass
from other wastes) to make recycling
simpler and more efficient.

Transfer Station: Facility where solid
waste is moved from collection vehicles
to other vehicles for transport to
materials recovery or disposal sites.
   To improve collection services, SEAM developed a trailer that could accommodate up to 7 m3 of
   waste. SEAM helped the city modify its old trailers and saved them for use in outlying areas
   and emergencies. The city purchased hand carts for collection from narrow streets, set
   schedules for morning collection, and gave uniforms to the staff of 17 sweepers. To educate
   residents and gain their participation, SEAM and the  local government council worked with
   three local religious organizations to coordinate community awareness activities. One
   organization, for example, reached out to women through  its literacy classes, sewing center,
   and daycare center. Another organization distributed  leaflets to shops urging them to put their
   waste in garbage bins.
   With its residents involved and understanding their role in keeping the community clean,
   Bardees has successfully improved its collection services and cleaned up its streets. While the
   city is currently paying all the operating costs for waste collection, it is working with an NGO to
   start collecting user fees from residents and businesses. For  more information on SEAM's waste
   management activities, visit .

United States Environmental Protection Agency
Solid Waste and Emergency Response
May 2002
www. epa. gov/globalwarming