Integrated Solid Waste Management Model

Beginning in the fall of 2014 and continuing into the spring of 2017, SERDC, Region 4 EPA, and eight SERDC-member states within Region 4 took part in discussions targeting increases in recycling rates and improved materials management. During these discussions the conversation coalesced around Integrated Solid Waste Management (ISWM).  For purposes of defining terms, EPA notes that ISWM is a comprehensive waste prevention, recycling, composting, and disposal program. 

An effective ISWM system considers how to prevent, recycle, and manage solid waste in ways that most effectively protect human health and the environment. ISWM involves evaluating local needs and conditions, and then selecting and combining the most appropriate material management activities for those conditions.

The discussions also led to proposals for two definitive tools that could assist local governments in improving their materials management operations. 

  • One was a process or tool through which local governments could easily assess the potential for providing new or expanding existing services. 

  • The second tool envisioned centered around the need for being able to explain the business case for recycling and more sustainable materials management. To this end, the second tool provides information essential for system accounting and funding methods. 

Region 4 EPA funded the development of these tools and has asked SERDC to host these tools and make them available to local governments in the Southeast and elsewhere.

The Region 4 ISWM Model is an Excel®-based model using a single spreadsheet for input with two sheets for outputs. 

By entering data about your community, including location, community description, number of households and other information, the model will provide outputs with directional insights for comparing costs and impacts of various programs; such as a recycling drop-off program, dual stream program using bins, dual stream program using carts, single stream curbside program, or development of a hub-and-spoke system. 

The model uses many assumptions based on national or regionalized data and requires very limited community-specific information.

Download the ISWM Model (Excel Document)

The Introduction to Funding and Accounting tool was published to assist local governments with analyzing the costs of the services that make up their solid waste system. The handbook can assist local government staff members in using full cost accounting (FCA) to identify, collect, track and analyze costs associated with solid waste services. 

The handbook is not a complete lesson on FCA, rather it is an introduction that will assist the decision maker in making suitable choices and asking the appropriate questions. The document also presents an introduction into numerous methods of funding local government services so that service system managers and their elected leadership may optimize systems funding based on local conditions.

Introduction to Funding and Accounting Handbook (pdf)

The Introduction described above discusses many forms that can be useful in documenting the information regarding costs and revenues relevant to ISWM systems. While copies are included in the handbook, the Excel® versions included below are more functional for actual use.

Download FCA Forms (Excel Document)

If you have questions or contents on the material presented here, please contact

Steve Smith
EPA Region 4

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