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Picking up Savings: The Benefits of Competition in Municipal Waste Services

Benjamin Dachis ()

C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, 2010, issue 308

Abstract: Cities save money through competitive tendering of waste services contracts. This study finds municipalities that have their waste services provided through contracted operations have substantially lower average costs per household than municipalities with few of their services provided through contracts. The study shows that where city employees provide the bulk of waste services, such as in Toronto (and many other cities in Ontario), Vancouver, and Calgary, municipalities could reduce the costs of their waste services through increased contracting. Contracting can also be used to attain other goals, such as increased recycling rates, if municipalities provide incentive payments for contractors who meet their targets. The study, which analyzes the finances of hundreds of cities in Ontario, also finds cost savings from contracting will be apparent only if municipalities follow certain guidelines. Contracts should clearly define outcomes, and not specific processes, that contractors must meet.

Keywords: Urban Issues; competitive tendering; waste services contracts; Ontario; municipalities; contracting (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H76 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2010
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