Involving the private sector
One of the causes of a poor solid waste collection and treatment/disposal programme is a weak cost recovery system. This means there is no effective mechanism for collecting payments to cover the costs of the waste collection system. If the users of a service (the householders and businesses) do not pay for the waste collection and disposal service – either directly or through the kebele local authority – then there will be no funds available to pay wages, maintain the equipment or invest in new equipment and facilities. This leads to a decline in the service offered, which in turn leads to reduced income for the service providers, and so on. Private sector organisations can be better equipped than governmental organisations to collect payments and manage the finances. If they become involved in providing the waste management services, this spiral of declining services can be reversed.
Private companies may also have more experience of waste collection and access to better equipment than local government, resulting in better service provision. This arrangement, where the public and private sectors work together, is called a public–private partnership (PPP) or private sector participation (PSP). For example, a private sector company may be paid to collect a district’s waste and to collect payments from individual businesses and residents. If several companies are competing for the same PPP contract this should result in lower costs to the district.
Box 9.1 Terminology of micro- and small enterprises
You may come across several terms and abbreviations used to describe small businesses of different sizes. The various terms depend on the number of employees and the financial status of the firm. Precise definitions can vary, but one frequently used classification is:
- micro-enterprises: fewer than 10 employees
- small enterprises: 10 to 50 employees
- medium-sized enterprises: 50 to 250 employees.
Various abbreviations are used, of which SME, meaning small and medium-sized enterprises, and MSE are the most common. MSEs are micro- and small enterprises comprising businesses with fewer than 50 employees
There is still considerable scope for improvement the solid waste management systems and several ways of increasing efficiency include the following:
- raising awareness of the public health implications of poor waste management
- improving planning decisions and the enforcement of regulations
- increasing the number of transfer stations at accessible sites
- increasing the number of trucks available for transportation
- promoting compost production from organic waste
- promoting the separation of waste at the source (household level)
- enhancing the collaboration and participation of the private sector and communities.
To make significant and sustainable progress in solid waste management, an integrated approach should use a combination of these methods.