The staff of Waste Business Journal regularly surveys waste processing and disposal operations across the country and in Canada. This includes landfills, construction and demolition debris facilities, waste-to-energy plants, transfer stations, recycling facilities, commercial composting facilities, wastewater treatment plants, biogas facilities and more. We ask them what types of waste they accept, how much they take, what they charge for each type, what types of equipment are employed in its processing, who owns and operates the facility, etc. Researchers also collect data from the many various state and federal regulatory agencies to whom these facilities might be required to report or pay taxes and fees.
To predict future pricing, we develop a statistical function, by way of regression analysis that incorporates the historic relationship between landfill capacity (supply) and demand for disposal. Demand for disposal is a function of population growth, per capita waste generation, economic growth, and many other factors. Calculating supply or landfill capacity is equal parts art and science. For example, a landfill's permitted capacity is rarely the same as its actual capacity as dictated by available acreage, surrounding political climate, local market forces, and many other factors. Once we have the function that accurately mirrors the relationship of historic pricing to historic supply and demand, we can plug in expectations about future population growth, economic activity, etc., along with expected capacity additions, etc. to calculate future estimated price (tipping fee) changes.