Introducing Ecova’s New Waste Rate Book: Helping Clients Strategically Cut Waste Expenses

Chris Toman

Let’s say you’re a Facility Manager for a company with hundreds, or even thousands, of locations nationwide. You’ve probably noticed your waste expenses have been going up – and they probably have, given the recent trend of rising collection costs despite declining fuel costs. Multiply that by hundreds or thousands of sites and it adds up to real money fast.


To add the frustration, every site is often located in its own waste market, with its own regulations and its own rate structure – unlike utility markets which are often regional. Which haulers you can choose from, if you can choose your own hauler at all, can switch from zip code to zip code – not even city to city!

So what’s a Facility Manager to do? And if they knew, where would they even begin?

Utilizing data from across a broad portfolio of clients, Ecova recently completed a rate book, the results of which we use to help companies that are grappling with the rising costs of trash make strategic decisions that maximize their return on investment and get their waste expenses under control.

The newly completed rate book leverages data collected from the 650,000 waste bills that we pay each year. This provides Ecova and our partners a window into how much waste and recycling services cost nationwide, often down to the city level. Here are a few key findings:


In 13 states, the monthly cost per yard of trash tops $10. All 13 states are either on the Pacific or Atlantic coasts. Conversely, in 12 states, the monthly cost per yard for trash is below $4. All are in the middle of the country – most in the Mid-West or the Southwest.


Given the high cost of trash collection on the coasts, it’s not surprising that the biggest difference between the cost per yard of recycling and the cost per yard of trash is generally in states on the coast, but it is pretty eye-opening how much cheaper. In nine states, a yard of recycling is over 70 percent cheaper than a yard of trash! Seven of those nine states can be found on the coasts.

The other states average only a 40 percent difference between trash and recycling costs. In fact, in states with plenty of cheap land for landfills, like Oklahoma, North Dakota, Nevada, and Colorado, there is basically no cost advantage to recycling.


In many places with well-established, robust organics programs, like parts of California and Washington State, composting food waste is cheaper than sending it to landfills, and often by a lot. But nationwide, composting programs are still maturing. For many of the immature composting markets, committing to diversion of organics means accepting a price increase. Composting becoming mainstream for markets with lower trash rates is still an open question.


By utilizing rate book data, Ecova can help our partners negotiate favorable rates, but that’s not all. We can identify where it makes sense to spend time and resources focusing on zero waste or diversion programs to ensure you’ll get the greatest savings from exchanging a yard of trash for a yard of recycling. We can also identify where it makes the most sense to focus on better pricing in a competitive market or more efficient service levels in a franchised – or regulated – market. We can even combine both methods to generate the most savings.

Ecova’s new Rate Book is just one way we’re delivering results to our clients. Contact us today and start thinking strategically about how you can get a handle on your growing waste expenses.

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