Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 66.65
Liaison John Gardner
Submission Date Nov. 27, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
IN-25: Innovation B

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Kate Nelson
Chief Sustainability Officer
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Performance-Based Waste & Recycling Hauling

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

UW-Milwaukee put forward a new "performance-based waste & recycling hauling RFP" to disrupt the Milwaukee hauling market that has little incentive to improve recycling and diversion rates. Most haulers own landfills and only profit on landfilled waste. UWM built the idea off of energy performance contracting, where an Energy Service Company must meet the reduction goal, or pay a fee. This new RFP built in incentives for the hauler to be paid more if recycling increased. It brought the hauler into the UWM process and provided a potential revenue incentive to the hauler.

To do this, first UWM brought together a larger group of stakeholders to be a part of the new contract. Procurement, Grounds, IT, Accounting, Restaurant Operations were new to our hauling contracts. Three facilities operations also had be brought on board- Academic Buildings, University Housing, and the Student Union. Outside aid from Wisconsin's Department of Natural Resources was also brought to the table to assist.

Waste and recycling is not as easy to measure as energy, especially for 2-8yd dumpster collection, due to routes that feature multiple customers for each truck and inaccurate and oft-failing truck scales. This leads to a reliance on volume-to-weight calculations for estimations. Hauling estimates were scrutinized by UWM and when the haulers were incentivized to reap the benefits commensurate with an improved diversion rate and reduced hauling schedule, accurate reporting of volumes was an integral data point.

The RFP went out and UWM was able to bring on board a third-party, WasteCap Resource Solutions to coordinate waste & recycling hauling on campus, with GROOT as the main subcontractor. WasteCap Resource Solutions helped UWM standardize communication avenues, benchmarked hauling schedules and estimated diversion rates through numerous waste audits. Data was organized and reported regularly out to the team. All billing was brought under one roof for the first time and billing discrepancies were handled as they had never been before. Other universities worked with us and started utilizing our methods. Milwaukee Area Technical College went out for an RFP. Most importantly, hauling was right-sized and savings were starting to occur.

Truth be told, this is where the bottom fell out. Yet the lessons learned led to far better internalized processes.

GROOT sold our contract without knowledge the following year. The buyer, Advanced Disposal, no longer would work with us, especially on the data and areas for improvement and savings.

Yet we'd exposed a lot of the missing links to save and improve recycling. The data provided by WasteCap enabled UWM to significantly reduce UWM's hauling collection schedule and highlighted the need for improved internal communication surrounding resource management issues at UWM. These savings justified a return on investment to cover UWM's first Solid Waste & Recycling Specialist for the Office of Sustainability.

There had never been a central point person for waste & recycling hauling on our campus between the three separate facilities departments. The new position built on the institutionalized stakeholder meetings and the work conducted by WasteCap. Billing continued to be scrutinized. Hauling schedules were further right-sized. Data on waste volumes was institutionalized through the Environmental Services Department. It all blew up, it exposed the pieces, and UWM was able to put it back together, better than it had ever been. This position continues to save tens of thousands of dollars per year and has been increasing our diversion rate.

UWM is now in a far better position to build strategic improvements into all its hauling contracts and waste diversion programs.

Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):
Coordination & Planning

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :
The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

The contract as well as the original RFP documents can be found at:
A brief article denoting the first waste audit at UWM was featured on WasteCap's website at https://www.wastecap.org/news/waste-audit-at-university-of-wisconsin-milwaukee

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