Moving towards economies of scale for recycling

This just in from the Portlander, emphasis mine:

Recology Oregon Recovery Inc. have signed an estimated $38 million, seven-year contract that will signal considerable changes for the northwest Portland facility that takes in trash and recyclables from commercial waste haulers, businesses and residents.

Following a thorough evaluation by an interagency evaluation team, Metro determined that Recology had the best and most competitive proposal to manage Metro Central. The decision to award the contract to Recology was based primarily on its guarantee to double the rate of materials recycled, the company’s robust sustainability plan which includes reducing its carbon footprint, and improved opportunities for employees at the station – – all without significant increases in operation costs.

While residents who have their garbage and recycling picked up at the curb will not see any immediate changes, and Metro expects little to no impact on disposal rates, modifications will be made to improve services at the station to allow Recology to double the current rate of recycling from 17 percent to 34 percent by the end of the first year of operations, and to 40 percent by the end of the contract in 2017. Stepping up the recovery of cardboard, wood and metal will make up much of that increase. Recology also plans to accept new materials at Metro Central, including asphalt roofing and clean drywall.

If one was to do an immediate case analysis from this statement, it looks like Recology is diversifying its product offering and increasing its share of reusable recyclable materials such as wood and metal. Process innovation and growth in business is the indicator of economies of scale by spreading more of the unit cost across more output.

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