Managing and Transforming Waste Streams – A Tool for Communities

Procurement Best Practices: Publicly Owned Facilities

Some communities have developed innovative private sector agreements while retaining local government ownership of transfer station and/or processing facilities for recycling, composting or anaerobic digestion.

When developing new facilities, consider a design/build/operate full service procurement approach where the facility designer is also responsible for construction and initial operation of the facility. 

Government or third party ownership and operation of scales and weigh stations can be particularly important where accurate measurement is the basis of calculating zero waste progress or payments.

Case studies:


  • Decreased conflicts of interest: Decreases conflicts of interest associated with service providers that provide collection and processing services and own landfills.
  • Reduced long-term costs: Reduces long-term costs by having rate payers fund a facility once, rather than paying with every ton.
  • Flexibility: Allows for the flexible use of the facility based on evolving community needs/wants and changing market dynamics.
  • Increased competition: Local government can separately procure collection from transfer/processing/disposal, allowing service providers that are not vertically integrated or do not own local facilities to compete.


  • Local government funding and staffing: Local governments may not have the funding or expertise to finance, develop or manage public facilities.
  • Equipment maintenance challenges: Ongoing maintenance and improvements may not be efficient in a public bid purchasing system. Typically, private sector can respond to changing facility needs more quickly.