The technological economics of collection and landfill disposal of municipal waste in the United Kingdom
Accurate and detailed costs for individual municipal waste collection, treatment and landfill methods are not readily available. Neither is there a reliable means of comparing between two or more alternative options. However, before improvements to the management and planning of solid waste disposal can be achieved both are required. Currently, comparisons and planning in this field are highly ambiguous, often misleading, with individual operators using widely different accounting conventions and operating standards. The purpose of this work has been to establish accurate comparisons. Initially, detailed financial and technical information \'las collected from numerous operators, and then a standard basis for comparison (the "base case") was derived onto which the costs obtained were adjusted. Cost functions were also generated to interpret component costs fora range of sizes of operation. The economics of five collection methods, four transfer methods, seven bulk transport vehicle types and several landfill disposal variations are considered. For each a detailed appraisal of the component capital and operating costs has been made so as to identify the largest expenditures. The effect of uncertainty on cost estimates was also emphasised and explicitly considered by sensitivity analyses on selected economic and physical parameters. These analyses have indicated those component costs which exert the most significant influence on the total costs, and as such should be the most closely monitored by a waste manager. One notable example is the sensitivity of total landfill costs to leachate treatment. Six case studies are also presented. These are designed to demonstrate the versatility of the cost models derived and also the method developed for unambiguous economic comparison. This research provides a large financial data base on all of the collection, transfer and landfill methods in common use in Britain. Use of this information and the principles for comparison put forward would enable waste managers to incorporate sound financial appraisals into both their operational and forward planning decisions. This should subsequently improve not only the quality of their decisions but ultimately the standard of service they offer too.