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Managing and Transforming Waste Streams – A Tool for Communities

Procurement Best Practices: Start Early and Provide Zero Waste Information and Evaluation Criteria

Allow sufficient time for zero waste procurements and responses from potential contractors. An effective procurement process with sufficient time and information can stimulate competition.

Consider starting at least two years before the new contract is to begin in a competitive market. Where competition is low or does not exist, begin as much as five years prior to awarding the contract.

Provide as much background information as possible, such as zero waste goals, zero waste plans, relevant local regulations, ordinances, operating statistics, subscription levels, revenues, costs by line item, material composition and residue rates.

A draft of the Request for Proposals (RFP) and contract can be sent to potential proposers for comments prior to release so the local government can get feedback on terms and requirements. The local government can incorporate relevant ideas that will advance zero waste or increase efficiency.

Highlight in the RFP how multiple goals will be weighted and evaluated based on local government priorities such as diversion from landfill and incineration, price, qualifications and experience, services proposed, exceptions to the proposed contract, local jobs and local economic development.

Case Study: Fresno, CA


  • Easy to do: Every community can do this by planning ahead.
  • Educates contractors: Providing detailed zero waste information to potential bidders ensures that local government priorities are understood.
  • Better proposals: The earlier proposers understand the desired system, the more they will be able to fine-tune responses and costs.
  • Stimulates competition: An effective procurement process with sufficient time and information can stimulate significant competition.


  • Detailed contracting requirements: The scope and specifications in the contract should be very detailed because, in many communities, they cannot be easily amended or subsequently negotiated.
  • Limited competition: Due to market forces, some communities have limited possibilities of attracting more competitors.