Solid Waste & Publications


Overview of SERA's Solid Waste Qualifications

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     Solid Waste Project Clients

             Staff Bios

                     Staff Resumes

                                SERA Solid Waste Publications

Skumatz Economic Research Associates (SERA) is a small boutique firm with nationally-recognized expertise in program / policy design, quantitative evaluation, and creative / actionable analysis work in recycling / solid waste integrated materials management, energy efficiency, and sustainability. The firm (a WBE) was established in 1990 and in that time, SERA has conducted more than 200 solid waste project assignments in the US and internationally, has become a national leader in PAYT, and has published extensively on our project research.     

SERA’s staff includes staff with extensive hands-on experience in solid waste – including former City staff (36 years of experience), hauler management staff (34 years), and analysis staff (most with 9 or more years of nationwide project experience). Our staff include economics, statistics, accounting, environment, business, and other backgrounds; their experience includes evaluation, planning, program assessment, surveys and statistics, quantitative research, policy analysis and operations work.  This mix assures we provide recommendations that balance best-strategies, cost-effectiveness, consider all perspectives / stakeholders, and have real-world implementability.    

SERA’s focus is to identify best practices generally, and tailored well-suited strategies for individual clients. SERA has a reputation for quantitative, data-based research, and for developing creative approaches to find practical (and affordable) methods to quantify complex or hard-to-measure impacts. Data collection is a key element distinguishing our work. This includes: generator surveys, stakeholder and city interviews, set out surveys, waste characterization studies, and other primary data collection. Our unique in-house data base of information from 1,300 communities / counties nationwide provides us with ready information on programs / policies, collection and processing, demographics, tonnages, cost, rates, funding, outreach, and other data in place nationwide. These data have been used for case studies, program leads, and quantitative information on impacts and costs for clients. In-house tools supporting our work include:  

“Comp-Plan-in-a-Box” - a tool that identifies highest-scoring residential, commercial, MF, ZW, and C&D programs for first-cut at programs for clients (and other applications). 

“WDAM / Waste Comp Proxy” – a tool that estimates tonnages and costs for waste diversion strategies, and fills in tailored waste projections and waste compositions for clients lacking these data. 

“PAYT-All” – a tool for modeling PAYT feasibility, design, and rates, with contributing elements for projecting tonnage effects, subscription shifts, and effects from alternative rate design assumptions. Residential and commercial PAYT rates are computed. 

Residential & Commercial Curbside Collection Cost Model – a tool that allows us to model the collection costs under varied assumptions for costs, hauler vs. city, trash / recycling/ organics combinations, and other variations, for both residential and commercial collection.  

Facilities Cost Model (MRFs and Compost) – a model estimating capital and operating costs for MRFs (dump & pick, small manual, small automated, medium, large, and mega plants), and organics processing facilities. 

Community Database – containing detailed solid waste programs/policies, tonnage, cost, and demographic data from 1,300 communities nationwide.   

Benchmarking / Best Practices / Benefit-Cost/ TBL- Recycling, Organics, Commercial & Residential

SERA’s focus is to base our analyses on real-world data. To support this work, SERA maintains a unique nationwide database of information (cost, programs, policies, diversion, demographics) from more than 1,300 communities and counties across North America. This allows us to analyze real-world performance of program alternatives, suitability for client communities, run scenarios, determine benchmarks, and draw conclusions about “best practices”. We have conducted “best practices” work for food waste programs, single stream, ADFs, PAYT, commercial programs, mandates / bans, collection frequency, funding options, and other strategies. We have also conducted thousands and thousands of surveys and detailed interviews – with cities / counties / agencies, businesses, households, haulers, facilities, stakeholders, and others – to gather the data needed to conduct credible quantitative evaluation and policy analysis.   

We bring extensive experience in the economic analysis of facilities, infrastructure, programs, policies, and services. This includes costs to generators and to the solid waste agencies; costs for collection, processing (the variety of types and sizes of facilities), transport, and management; and administrate / oversight / management costs. This allows us to examine the net costs and compare strategies on a variety of indicators including cost per ton, cost per generator and other metrics across options and strategies. We have analyzed costs and benefits – and the present values – to assess solid waste investments and options.  We also assessed the specific approaches leading communities and states around North America have taken on TBL in solid waste to identify best practices, and have used this for clients. .

Management Plans & Modeling (Waste Comps /Tonnage/Cost/ Jobs/Processing) Impacts & Projections

Because many communities cannot afford waste composition studies, we developed a waste composition proxy model, that allows us to approximate the residential waste composition (based on demographics and recycling “maturity”), and separately, the commercial waste composition (based on employment by NAICS code and recycling “maturity”). We model the results of these data with projections we have developed on future anticipated changes in the composition of the waste stream 20 years out, incorporating lightweighting, switches to plastics, etc. This work has been used successfully for assignments in many communities in the US and Canada.  

SERA developed and maintains reliable models for costing: 1) recycling / composting / trash drop-offs; 2) residential and commercial collection (trash, recycling, composting); 3) Recycling processing / MRFs; 4) windrow-based composting processing, and 5) hauling. These models allow us to plug in local factors for labor, local distances, etc. to develop tailored costs for the services needed as part of an integrated materials management system. Additionally, Dr. Skumatz developed SERA’s Waste Diversion Analysis Model (WDAM) to integrate modeling of the impacts of strategies, programs, facilities, and policies on tonnages, costs, facilities, and flows.    

SERA uses these models and experience to develop Integrated Waste Management Plans from local to state levels. We are also experienced using input-output modeling to estimate job and economic impacts of recycling and organics programs at the state or county level.   

Public Engagement and Focus Groups / Social Marketing & Behavioral Programs

SERA has expertise and training in specialized strategies that address the key problems with stakeholder meetings that avoid the usual problems (dominant personalities, non-contribution by some, same positions, focus on the negative, not coming to “closure”). We use an integrated four-strategy approach: Appreciative Inquiry, pre-survey, in-meeting voting / clickers, and multiple meetings with a web  option as well. We have used these  approaches for scores of meetings, and have presented on these strategies in multiple conferences. We have conducted thousands of detailed interviews with stakeholders and focus group work as part of process evaluation, “new measures”, market adoption, and other projects. In solid waste and recycling we have conducted focus groups locally and statewide. Our interviews have included commercial builders / developers / owners, residential households and builders, contractors, waste haulers, recycling processors, public officials, agricultural sectors, and others. In many recent stakeholder meetings, we have used real-time voting options (clickers and remote voting) that have helped make meetings especially productive.

SERA has designed, conducted, and/or evaluated behavioral programs in the energy and recycling / solid waste fields. This includes residential programs all across the nation, and additional evaluations of military programs, schools programs, and commercial programs. The work includes multiple social marketing projects, including detailed evaluations with quasi experimental design and detailed tracking of impacts, costs and persistence of effects. In one projects, we used our retention work to demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of “cycling” a  well-known behavioral energy program. For a large client in California, we prepared a wide-ranging best practices manual on behavioral programs, addressing impact evaluation,  net-to-gross, retention, and NEB methods, results / state-of-the-art, and  gaps. We have conducted detailed work measuring the impact of outreach and education programs, and have written manuals and developed tools for social marketing.  We have examined the impacts attributable to attitudinal and socio-demographic effects, including self-efficacy and other factors.   

Collection, Hauling & Facility Contracting and Alternatives

We have conducted high level facility cost work for half a dozen projects, including MRFs (sophisticated and basic), organics (yard waste vs. food waste), C&D sorting and processing, landfill gas recovery and other facilities. SERA has models of MRFs (dump and pick and hub and spoke to “mega” single stream models), composting facilities, drop-off facilities (MSW, recycling, and composting) and drop-box and hauling models that let us identify the costs and sizing issues for any supporting infrastructure that may be needed. We have also examined contracts and contract alternatives for specific facilities and our SWMPs include assessments of capacity, costs, feasibly of contracts and LF / Diversion processing / transfer facilities.  

SERA has conducted extensive work reviewing the pros and cons, legalities, and outcomes for alternative collection arrangements for residential trash, recycling, and organics options, as well as work on the commercial side. SERA and Dr. Skumatz have gathered and analyzed data from around the nation on the relative performance of competitive, contracted, franchised, districted, and licensed arrangements, and conducted case studies and contractual documents and examples from large and small communities across the country. These data have provided extensive information on the range of outcomes pre-post from changes in collection arrangements (including customer rate savings). SERA has assembled and developed recommended language for RFPs, identified realistic implementation timelines and options. SERA has developed decision-tree processes to efficiently and inclusively work through the trade-offs with City Councils and, when contracts / districts / franchises are selected, walk through the individual decisions that must be discussed prior to the preparation of any RFPs / RFBs or other documents. SERA has prepared RFPs / RFBs, conducted Q&A / bidder meetings, evaluated responses, and addressed key negotiation issues.    

Metrics, GHG, Recycling Market Studies

SERA has published on cutting-edge strategies for next generation metrics (see our article on PRR – Percent Recoverables Remaining in Resource Recycling 2016). Has many key advantages over traditional metrics. We have helped design / implement this approach for clients (leading ones around the country), and have developed PRR-E, which includes a simple adjustment for emissions and helps prioritize target materials based on environmental considerations. Expertise developing SUB-regional goals for states – and goals based on multiple metrics.

SERA has conducted multiple studies for a variety of clients and materials including recycling markets and recovery rates to identify the “Value…” of buried materials; conducted markets research on prices and materials recovery and net market prices including price fluctuations, cost to process, recovery rates, and net profitability of traditional materials and potential “next” materials. Conducted market research on compost markets.   


Solid Waste Project Clients

  Program and Policy Analysis including impacts / costs / best practices / benchmarking 

EPA, Mass OEOA, NSDA, Steel Recycling, National Recycling Coalition, ABA, AF&PA, Dart, Waste Management, Insinkerator, NEMA / TRC, Coalition of 15 cities / counties in CA, State of NC, State of MN, Oregon WPLG, Arlington County VA, Chittenden Solid Waste Management District VT, King County WA, Alameda StopWaste CA, Seattle WA, Fort Collins CO, Westminster CO, Boulder CO, Boulder County CO, many others  

Pay as you Throw/PAYT studies & rates EPA 10, EPA 9, EPA headquarters, States of Ohio, California, Illinois, Iowa, Wyoming; Large NE City, Asheville NC, Seattle, Arlington County VA, Westminster CO, Loveland CO, Fort Collins CO, Chittenden Solid Waste Management District VT, King County WA, Sunrise FL, Vail CO, Eagle County CO, Largo FL, Knox County TN, Cincinnati OH, Anchorage AK, Jackson Hole WY, Pasadena CA, West Jordan UT, Chandler AZ, many others   

  Comprehensive / Zero Waste / Materials Management Sustainability Plans 

State of CO, State of CT, Dakota County MN, Anchorage AK, Nashville, Boulder County CO, Boulder CO, Mesa County CO, El Paso County, Westminster CO, Salt Lake City UT, Minnesota SWMCB, Pitkin County CO, Alameda County CA, Jackson Hole, others  

  Leading Communities / Best Practices 

Metro Vancouver BC (three projects), Lethbridge AB, Alameda StopWaste (two projects), KAB, Colorado CDPHE (two projects), King County WA, City/County San Francisco, Minnesota SWMCB, Colorado , EPA5, EPA9, Private Clients (three).  

  Commercial sector studies 

Dakota Co MN, Minnesota SWMCB (three projects), Santa Barbara, Mecklenburg County NC, Alameda County StopWaste, San Jose, Anchorage, Ecocycle, Boulder, Washington County OR, Snohomish County OR, Metro Vancouver BC, others  

Funding alternatives 

Portland Metro, Alameda Stopwaste CA, Washington CWC, Denver CO, Akron OH, Seattle WA, 


Transfer station studies 

Portland Metro OR (2 projects), Largo FL, Seattle WA, private client, Anchorage AK, Pitkin County CO  

Hazardous waste analyses 

Portland Metro OR, Seattle WA, Seattle/King County WA, Alameda Stopwaste CA, California DTSC 

Workshops / Webinars / Manuals / Train the Trainer / Facilitations EPA headquarters, EPA10, EPA 9, EPA8, EPA5, States of California, Ohio, Wyoming, Iowa, Colorado CDPHE, Coalition of Northeastern Governors / CONEG, Southern States Energy Board, Ball, Canadian MOE, Boulder County, Massachusetts OEOA, ABA, others  

Yard waste, composting, food waste studies

EPA, Insinkerator, Illinois Seventh Generation, Boulder, Longmont CO, Arlington County VA, Chittenden, VT, Dept of Energy, Seattle, Santa Barbara, King County, Boulder County, Portland Metro, Anchorage, private client.     

Hauler / Collection / PAYT Studies 

USEPA, Edgewater CO, Lethbridge AB, Westminster CO, AF&PA, private client, State of CO, State of CT, Alameda StopWaste, El Paso County CO, Minnesota SWMCB. 

Triple Bottom Line / Benefit Cost 

Lethbridge AB, Nashville, State of CA, City of Seattle, Fort Collins CO, Longmont CO, Colorado CDPHE.

   Collection Alternatives Service Model / Efficiencies 

Lethbridge, Longmont CO, Asheville NC, Private client, State of CT, State of CO, others. 

   Detailed Recycling & Composting Processing Facility Cost / Profitability Models; Disposal options 

State of CO, Private client, NYC, Resource Recycling, Pitkin County, Private hauler, Akron / Summit County, others 

Single stream studies

 AF&PA, Vancouver BC, private client (multiple), Larimer County CO, Longmont CO, many others. 

Service / franchise / contract options, RFPs, Ordinances 

Littleton CO, Golden CO, Edgewater CO, Sheridan CO, Denver CO, Boulder County, Boulder, Louisville CO, Broomfield CO, Easttown PA, West Jordan UT, Waukesha County WI. 

   Waste sorts / set out surveys 

KAB, Broomfield, Boulder, Longmont CO, Boulder County, Fort Collins, Superior, San Francisco, UC-Boulder, Snohomish County, Cincinnati, Anchorage, Gainesville, Alachua County, Oak Park, others.   

  Commercial surveys / interviews / on-sites 

Mecklenburg County NC, Santa Barbara, City and County of Denver, Minnesota SWMCB, Westminster CO, Boulder, Boulder County, Pitkin County, Mesa County, Superior CO, Seattle, California DTSC/NEMA, Vail CO, Edgewater CO, Anchorage, Oregon DEQ, Washington County OR, State of Wyoming, Product Stewardship Institute, others  

Residential surveys / interviews Westminster CO, Boulder, Boulder County, Asheville NC, Pitkin County, Mesa County, Superior CO, Edgewater CO, Fort Collins, Longmont CO, California DTSC, Santa Clarita CA, West Jordan UT, Anchorage, many others.  

Source reduction measurement / hard to measure effects 

Alameda Stopwaste, Seattle, Portland Metro, Iowa DNR, EPA headquarters, NSDA, State of MN, California DTSC / NEMA 

Testimony / Legislative support 

King County, Colorado E-waste Task Force, Toronto Ontario, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Iowa DNR, State of California, GA legislature, FL legislature, WUTC, ALEC, NCSL  

  Facilitation, Public Meetings 

State of Colorado CDPHE-3 projects, Colorado National Guard, State of CO, Fort Collins CO, National Recycling Coalition,  Anchorage, Jackson Hole WY, Santa Clarita CA, Massachusetts EOEA, Pitkin County CO, Superior CO, other.   

  Education, behavioral, and social marketing program analysis 

Iowa DNR, Colorado CDPHE, Energy Journal, Insinkerator, CIEE – California Institute for Energy and Environment, Center for Environmental Technology / CET, Tompkins County NY, Alliance to Save Energy, Resource Recycling, Boulder County, Alameda StopWaste, NW Regional Technical Forum, others 

   Job creation / “green jobs”

Colorado CDPHE, CAFR, EPA headquarters, EPA 9, State of Illinois, Boulder County CO, Arlington County VA, Chittenden SWMD  VT 

  Markets Analysis 

State of CT, Loveland/Fort Collins, Portland Metro OR (multiple projects), Anchorage, Ecocycle, City of Boulder, Boulder County, Alameda County, UC-Boulder, AF&PA, NYSERDA, King County WA, Honolulu, Bonneville Power Administration, Western Disposal  

  Detailed forecasting / modeling / waste stream analysis 

Seattle WA, State of CT, Nashville, Alameda StopWaste CA (multiple assignments), Boulder CO (multiple), Snohomish County WA (2 assignments), Pitkin County CO, Mesa County CO, Kitsap County WA, Thurston County WA, Boulder County, Portland Metro OR (multiple projects), Chittenden SWMD VT, Arlington County VA, Oregon WPLG, Metro Vancouver BC, San Jose CA, Honolulu HI, Oregon, Austin TX, private client (multiple) many others. 

Rate studies – Residential 

Boulder CO, Asheville NC, Anchorage AK, Jackson Hole WY, Summit County CO, Porterville CA, San Jose, Santa Clarita CA, Berkeley CA, West Jordan UT, Austin TX, Kauai HI, Arlington County VA, Sacramento & County CA, Cincinnati OH, Pasadena CA, Seattle WA, Chandler AZ, many others 

Rate studies – Commercial & facility 

Island County WA, Kitsap County, Santa Barbara CA, Seattle WA, Portland Metro OR, Morgan Hill / Gilroy CA, UC-Boulder, San Jose CA, Largo FL, others  

GHG / Environmental / emissions impact estimation 

Seattle, Colorado CDPHE, Boulder County, EPA, Larimer County, Loveland 

 Product stewardship / ADFs:

 NEMA, California DTSC, Product Stewardship Institute, Alameda StopWaste, Boulder, Boulder County, Reason Foundation, private client    

Feedstock / Flow Control / Forecasting

Taylor Biomass (NY)

Key Solid Waste Staff Bios


Dr. Lisa Skumatz- Principal / President SERA

Dr. Lisa Skumatz brings more than 36 years of experience in solid waste policy and program design, evaluation, and modeling. For 24 years, Dr. Skumatz has been Principal of SERA, a research and consulting firm that specializes in solid waste and resource conservation work.  Lisa is widely known for her “data focus” in solid waste. She gathers real-world data and analyzes it to identify defensible and transferable lessons about program performance, costs, appropriateness, and best practices – and uses the information to develop locally-appropriate / tailored strategies for clients. She has developed detailed models – based in real-world practice --- for residential collection, recycling processing and compost facilities, used to identify appropriate technologies, costs of program or policy changes, and efficiencies and profitability in operation. Her focus is “best practices” and quantitative policy and program work to identify effective and cost-effective sustainability initiatives at the local, regional, national, and international level. Lisa’s expertise includes: integrated planning, PAYT, source reduction / ZW, funding, social marketing / outreach, organics, collection and processing modeling, job / economic impacts, benefit-cost and TBL analysis, and other topics. Lisa recently completed the Statewide Integrated Management Plan for Colorado – adding to previous work on Plans for Oregon, Iowa, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.  

Lisa is the national expert in PAYT, and has conducted work helping hundreds of communities as well as national, regional, and state work in PAYT (OH, CA, IL, IA, WY, and others). She has conducted state-of-the-art work in social marketing and outreach programs (including a “how-to” manual and tools); organics and food scraps programs (including a manual for EPA and work for IL, MN, CO, Chittenden VT, Philadelphia, Arlington VA, and other clients); and expertise in successful commercial strategies. Lisa assembled and maintains the largest database of community data (more than 1000 communities), a database she has updated every 2-4 years since 1994. Lisa and her work are widely respected in the US and internationally – reflected in her project assignments but also in her unique distinction of winning two National-level “Lifetime Achievement…” awards (from SWANA and the NRC) and appointments/elections to numerous boards and panels. She has published 150 papers and articles; Resource Recycling says her articles are their most requested reprints.      

Gary Horton- Senior Associated Consultant

Mr. Horton is a seasoned solid waste professional with 34 years of experience working for a leading Colorado waste hauler providing residential and commercial garbage and diversion services (trash, recycling, and organics / food waste).  He managed introduction of innovative programs, transition to a CNG fleet, and has overseen operation of landfills, processing of commercial recyclables, dump-and-pick operations, and processing of residential and commercial compost.  

His expertise in performance statistics and “costing” is exceptional, and he understands program design and delivery from “soup to nuts”. He is an expert in the design and implementation of PAYT, including roll-out, rate design, and the special requirements to successfully conduct PAYT under contract in communities. He brings extra credibility with haulers, and makes sure recommendations are as ‘unburdensome’ as possible to haulers.

He implemented PAYT under a variety of conditions, addressing all the key steps and issues: 

• Developing detailed implementation plans, including timing, responsibilities, and decision-points; 

• Designing, conducting, and assessing pilot programs; 

• Implementing PAYT systems with / without recycling and with / without organics; 

• Rolling out PAYT to the company’s customers directly (open subscription); 

• Rolling out PAYT under the situation of a new City contract (working closely with the city on data transfers, co-implementation, customer billing, customer service and calls, etc.; 

• Running multi-sized cart-based systems and “orange bag” program designs; 

• Customer outreach strategies; 

• Attending stakeholder and public engagement meetings; 

• Identifying cost of service and setting rates; 

• Negotiating, ordering, assembling, delivering, and managing tens of thousands of cart and other tasks.  

Mr. Horton has a remarkable background in accounting (with particular mastery of solid waste accounting), and served as Vice President of Finance and President for a hauling company for more than 30 years. His responsibilities included rate setting for all services (residential and commercial trash, recycling, and organic service). He constructed the bids for municipal clients. His financial expertise includes equipment depreciation and amortization, optimal financing strategies, billing, accounting treatments, and the range of other issues involved in solid waste accounting and rate setting – for collection and facilities. His is skill in performance statistics and “costing” is exceptional, and he understands program design and delivery from “soup to nuts”. He brings expertise in tonnage reporting and estimation at the local level. 

He brings expertise in tonnage reporting and estimation at the local level. Gary has developed detailed models of MRF processing, residential and commercial collection services, and organics processing. He recently completed work developing cost models for collection and processing for the Colorado State Integrated Materials Management Plan. He has worked on projects in Boulder, Longmont, Boulder County, Lethbridge Canada, Asheville NC, and Colorado’s Statewide Materials Management Study, CT State Recycling Plan, and Private Client MRF Profitability Project.  

Dana D'Souza- Senior Analyst & Project Manager

Ms. Dana D’Souza has more than 9 years of detailed experience with data collection and interviews on solid waste topics with SERA. She has conducted program review, case study, and benchmarking interviews with solid waste program staff across the country, including data on program design, costs, infrastructure, and diversion. She has collected data on the wide variety of recycling and solid waste programs across the US – including recycling, yard waste, source reduction, electronics, single stream recycling, education / outreach programs, and others. 

Dana was a task manager for SERA’s work on Colorado’s IMM Plan, including detailed work organizing and analyzing the 10 regional stakeholder meetings identifying opportunities and barriers. She was also responsible for analysis of many of the program recommendations and case studies. 

Dana recently completed a project to assess the potential and the job effects from food waste recovery in the State of Illinois, and managed the evaluation of a specialized food waste / social marketing project. She has extensive experience in social marketing and behavioral programs, including work for Colorado CDPHE, Philadelphia, and others. Dana manages SERA’s periodic nationwide community surveys – gathering data from more than 1000 communities nationwide on programs, demographics, costs, facilities, and tonnages. 

Dana managed two recent SERA projects assessing regional compost markets in two different states, interviewing more than 100 stakeholders to assess facility / processing capacity (current and future), prices / tip fees, products and their prices, beneficiation steps being used, and much more information. She conducted work examining and comparing performance for two dozen communities in a leading county in the US as part of a “5 year plan” evaluation. She has conducted surveys to identify recycling behaviors and practices for businesses in Minnesota, Canada, and North Carolina. She conducted interviews with dozens of stakeholders as well as resident businesses and multifamily households in a northwest community to assess an innovative downtown recycling initiative. These data have been used to identify cutting edge programs and provide key data on the factors affecting program performance.     

Michael Santulli- Sustainablity Analyst / LEED Associate

Mr. Michael Santulli is a quantitative analyst with SERA. While with SERA he has developed Excel models to analyze stakeholder information from Colorado sub-regions to support work on the State’s Comprehensive Materials Management Plan. He leads SERA’s work on job creation computations, providing input-output model expertise for assessing the job and economic development effects of recycling, organics / food, and energy projects at the county, state, and national level. He conducted this work for a food waste program in Illinois, and other projects. He conducted PAYT surveys around the country, including work with the largest communities in the US. He conducted case study work on PAYT, opt-in and opt-out yard waste and food scraps programs, and urban vs. rural / private vs. public collection efficiencies and performance statistics. 

He has extensive experience analyzing residential and commercial trash / recycling surveys for clients. Mr. Santulli programs and analyzes SERA’s “clicker” presentations used for our Appreciative Inquiry stakeholder meetings.  Mr. Santulli is a LEED Certified Green Associate.

SERA Key Staff Solid Waste Resumes

Click on a file to download.

SERA_SolidWasteResumesWeb (pdf)


SERA Solid Waste Publications


SERA and Dr. Skumatz have over 120 publications in solid waste and recycling in trade journals, conference papers, and peer-reviewed publications. Below is a list of many of these under different subject areas.  Please contact us for questions on these or other publications.

Integrated Planning, Program Analysis, Modeling / Evaluation – Residential & Commercial


  1. “Composting  Decision-making”, Resource Recycling, Fall, 2015.
  2. “Cracking Commercial Contracts: Commercial recycling can be thwarted by codes and clauses within hauler contracts that leave businesses ignorant of  diversion opportunities”. Resource Recycling, September 2014.
  3. “Picking Your Commercial Food Scraps Path: Commercial organics can have a bad  name–and an even worse smell – in many communities”. Resource Recycling January 2014
  4. “Every Other Week for Everything”, Resource Recycling, November 2013.
  5. “Taking Control: How Do Municipalities Organize Collection? What is the Best Way?” Resource  Recycling, January 2013.
  6. “Some Things that are Cooking in Recycling Research…”, Newsletter of the Colorado Association for Recycling (CAFR), 2013.
  7. “Of Bags, Bans, and Fees”,Resource  Recycling, March 2012.
  8. “The Latest Nationwide on Single Stream… Pros, Cons, How is it Performing?” Paper for Proceedings of the Global Waste Management Symposium (GWMS), Phoenix, September 2012
  9. “Identifying Best “Next Steps” in Diversion Programs, Outreach, and Policies: What do the Real Numbers Tell Us?”, Paper for Proceedings of the Global Waste Management Symposium (GWMS), Phoenix, September 2012
  10. “Commercial Recycling, Incentives, and Innovations: Effective and Creative Programs and Collection Changes”, Paper for Proceedings of the Global Waste Management Symposium (GWMS), Phoenix,  September 2012, with Dana D’Souza.
  11. “Why Recycling “Wins” the GHG Reduction Derby: Cost-Effectiveness, Energy Tradeoffs, and Integrated Planning”,  Paper for Proceedings of the Global Waste Management Symposium (GWMS), Phoenix, September 2012.
  12. “Best Management Practices in Food Scraps Recovery- A National Study”, Paper for Proceedings of the Global Waste Management Symposium (GWMS), Phoenix, September 2012, with Juri Freeman.
  13. “Identifying Best “Next Steps” in Diversion Programs, Outreach, and Policies: What do the Real Numbers Tell Us?”, Proceedings of the GWMS Conference, 2012.
  14. “2011 Food Scraps Diversion Update, Picking up the Scraps: What is the best way to collect and manage food scraps?”, Resource  Recycling, January 2012
  15. “National Overview: Food Scraps Programs in the United States, Biocycle July 2011
  16. “Overcoming Barriers: Accelerating Implementation of Food Scraps Programs”, Biocycle, August 2011
  17. “Beyond Success: Taking the Next StepsToward 50 percent”, Resource Recycling, November 2011, with Susie Gordon. 
  18. “Illegal Dumping and Pay-As-You-Throw: Should You be Worried?”, Recycle Florida Newsletter, December 2010, with Juri Freeman.
  19. “Alternating  weeks: Options and opportunities for garbage and recycling. Can every other week provide greater efficiencies and incentives for the future?” Resource Recycling, September 2007.
  20. Every Other Week or Fortnightly Collection: Options for Increasing Efficiency, Reducing Cost, Providing  Incentives, and Solving PAYT Problems - Evolving for the Future, SERA White Paper, 11/2006
  21. ”Beyond Success: Taking the next step towards 50 percent” (Fort Collins), Resource Recycling, November 2006.
  22. “Potential for Drop-Off Recycling Programs”, Resource Recycling, 2003.
  23. “Seven  Steps to Increase Recycling Cost-effectively”, MSW Management, September/October 2002.
  24. “Increase diversion cost-effectively – Step 4: Plan and refine collection program options”, Resource Recycling, October 2002.
  25. “Increase diversion cost-effectively – Step 3: Diversify incentives and leverage influence”, Resource Recycling, September 2002.
  26. “Increase diversion cost-effectively – Step 2: Look beyond curbside toward the commercial sector”, Resource Recycling, August 2002.
  27. “Increase diversion cost-effectively – Step 1: Refine existing programs and rates”, Resource Recycling, August  2002.
  28. “Recycling and the commercial sector”, Resource Recycling, December 2001.
  29. “Seven Steps for Continued Recycling and Waste Diversion Progress”, SERA research      paper number 2001-1004, Skumatz Economic Research Associates, Inc., Superior, Colorado, August 2001.
  30. Strategies And Incentives to Energize Multifamily, Commercial, Business, And Residential Recycling, SERA Research Paper Number 00-12, Skumatz Economic      Research Associates, Superior, CO, September, 2000. 
  31. When Recycling Stalls… Developing Next Steps for Massachusetts and Other States, Wastecon Conference Proceedings, October 2000.
  32. “Reaching for recycling in multi-family housing”, (analyzing suggestions for incentives and progress I getting past collection barriers in MF), Resource Recycling, October 1999.
  33. “Achieving 50 Percent Recycling: Program elements, analysis and policy implications”, Resource Recycling, September, 1999.
  34. “Achieving 50% Diversion: what will it cost?”, Resource Recycling, August, 1999.
  35. “How to Re-energize Recycling Progress”, Resource Recycling, June 1999.
  36. “Providing Recycling Incentives for Multi-family Residents”, Resource Recycling, 1999. 
  37. “U.S. waste management survey: Collection and program changes”, (primary author) Resource Recycling, February 1998.
  38. “U.S. waste management survey: Recycling programs”, (primary author) Resource      Recycling, January 1998.
  39. “U.S. waste management survey: Yard debris programs”, (primary author) Resource Recycling, December 1997.
  40. “Beyond Case Studies: Quantitative effects of recycling and variable rates      programs”, Resource Recycling, September 1996.
  41. “Nationwide Diversion Rate Study Quantitative Effects of Program Choices on Recycling and Green Waste Diversion: Beyond Case Studies” SERA, Seattle, Washington,      July 1996.
  42. "Beyond  Case Studies: Results from a  Nationwide Capture Rate Survey", SWANA's Wastecon 1995 proceedings, Baltimore Maryland, October 1995.

PAYT / Variable Rates / Garbage by the Pound


  1. “PAYT Tracking & Research at the National Level –Latest Update on Impacts, Costs, Multi-Family, Drop-off, Commercial, Small Hauler, and GHG Issues”, Paper for Proceedings of the Global Waste Management Symposium (GWMS), Phoenix, September 2012, With  Juri Freeman.
  2. “Recycling Incentive Alternatives: Results of an Analysis of Performance, Pros, and  Cons of RecycleBank™, Recycling Credits, and Pay As You Throw (PAYT)” Resource Recycling, February & March 2011)
  3. Pay As You Throw Now: Increase  Recycling and Decrease Greenhouse Gases, Quickly, Fairly, and Cost-Effectively, APWA Reporter, March/2010
  4. PAYT  in the US: Implementation, Impacts, and Experience” Waste Management Journal, Elselvior Publications, 2008.
  5. “Solid Waste and Recycling – PAYT and Options for Cost-Effective Integrated Waste Management”, Chapter 9 of “Breath of Fresh Air, Canada 2008.
  6. What can our town do to increase recycling…NOW? SERA White Paper, 4/2008
  7. Pay As You Throw, Municipalities (Colorado Municipal League), 4/2008
  8. “Pay as you Throw (PAYT) in the US: 2006  Update and Analyses”, Prepared for USEPA and SERA, January 2007.
  9. PAYT Frequently Asked Questions, SERA White Paper, 4/2008
  10. PAYT  Western States Case Studies, SERA White Paper, 4/2008
  11. PAYT Model Legislation, SERA White Paper, 4/2008
  12. “Tracking  and Measuring the Impacts of PAYT: Latest Update”, SWANA, September 2006.
  13. “The  Sum of all Impacts from Pay as you Throw / Variable Rates (PAYT/VR): Rate Design, Recycling, Source Reduction, and Environmental (GHG) Effects”, prepared for SWANA WasteCon  2001 proceedings, October 2001.
  14. “Maximizing Vr/Payt Impacts – Policies, Rate Designs And Progress”, Resource Recycling, June 2001.
  15. PAYT / Variable Rates In Solid Waste: Using Economic Signals To Increase Recycling And Reduce Waste,  Technical report prepared for The Reason Foundation, Los Angeles, March  2001. 
  16. PAYT/ Variable Rates Manual – 4 volumes (overview, implementation/education,      surveys, rates calculation manuals), SERA, Superior, CO, 11/2000.
  17. PAYT / Variable Rates In Solid Waste– Using Economic Signals To Increase Recycling And Reduce Waste, Chapter For McMillan Recycling Encyclopedia, 2000.
  18. “The  Rural Dilemma: When to Charge Variable Rates”, World Waste, February 1998.\
  19. Update of Weight-based Garbage Collection Systems: Residential “Garbage by the Pound/Kilo, submitted to City of Waitakere, New Zealand, December 1997.
  20. “The state of variable rates: Economic signals move into the mainstream”, (primary author), Resource Recycling, August 1997.
  21. "Metering  the Garbage Spigot: Continued Growth for Variable Rates", Biocycle,  November 1995.
  22. "Weight-Based  Faces an Up-Lifting Future", World Wastes, November 1995.
  23. "Garbage by the Pound: On the Streets",  Reason Foundation Policy Study 184, Los Angeles, California, January 1995.
  24. "Garbage  by the Pound: Ready to Roll with Weight-Based Fees", Biocycle, November 1994.
  25. "Hybrid  Variable Rate System: Best of Both Worlds?", Biocycle, August, 1993.
  26. “Variable Rates Initiatives in State Legislation", presentation for ASTSWMO,  Lake Buena Vista, Florida, July, 1993.
  27. "Community adoption of variable rates: an update", Resource Recycling, June 1993.
  28. "Variable Rates in Municipal Solid Waste Strategies: Experience and the Roles of Economics and Regulation", prepared for the Reason Foundation, Los Angeles, California, June, 1993.
  29. "Volume-Based Pricing: Benefits, Problems, and Proven Strategies", presentation at  "Cost Effective Collection of Recyclables and Solid Waste, 2-day workshop, University of Wisconsin - Madison, School of Engineering, Madison, Wisconsin, June, 1993.
  30. Unit Pricing Guide, (co-author), prepared for the U.S. EPA, Washington, DC, May, 1993.
  31. User Fee Pricing Guidebook: Unit Pricing System Design Support Document, (co-author), prepared for the California  Integrated Waste Management Board, Draft Document 1, May, 1993.
  32. "Waste Collection Practices - Variable Rates and Collection Frequency of  Municipal Solid Waste", (co-author and presentation), for Sixth Annual Conference "Solid Waste Management Options for Texas      '93", Austin, Texas, January, 1993.
  33. "Variable Rates Initiatives at the State Level", Biocycle, December 1992.
  34. "Variable  Rates for Solid Waste can be Your Most Effective Recycling Program", The Journal of Resource Management and Technology, March, 1991.
  35. "Theory and Practice of Weight-Based Solid Waste Rates", for the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission Rates Workshop, Tacoma, Washington, February 1992.
  36. "The Feasibility of Weight-Based Trash Systems", for National Recycling  Congress, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, October, 1991; International Conference on      Waste Management, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, December 1991; U.S. EPA  Conference on Municipal Solid Waste Management, Arlington, Virginia, June 1992.
  37. "Garbage  by the Pound: The Potential of Weight-Based Rates", Resource Recycling, July, 1991.
  38. Garbage by the Pound Pilot Project Summary, (co-author), City of Seattle, April 1991.
  39. “Seattle's Weight-Based Trash Experiment", Solid Waste and Power, July, 1991.
  40. "Variable Rates Diminish Solid Waste Streams", City and State, February 25, 1991.
  41. Variable Rates in Solid Waste: Handbook for  Solid Waste Officials, Volumes I and II, (primary author), June 1990, prepared for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA #910/9-90-012a and 012b.
  42. "Variable  Rates in Solid Waste: Approaches  for Providing Incentives for Recycling and Waste Reduction and a More Efficient Solid Waste System", May 1990.
  43. "The  Buck is Mightier than the Can", Biocycle, January 1990.
  44. "Garbage by the Pound", in Resource Recycling, November 1989.
  45. "Volume-Based Garbage Rates: Your Best Recycling Program", Resource Recovery, October, 1989.
  46. Volume-Based Pricing in Solid Waste: Seattle's Experience, 1989.

Rates, Funding and Fees Options (not PAYT)


  1. Footing the Bill for Diversion Programs: Funding Options, SERA White Paper, 7/2007; also for San Francisco and Alameda StopWaste.
  2. "Innovative Financing Options for Solid Waste Programs and Facilities", National Association of Counties National Convention, Chicago, Illinois, July, 1993.
  3. White Paper on Financing/Funding Options for Programmatic and Facilities-Based Waste Reduction and Recycling Initiatives, SERA White Paper, December 1991. 

Data Collection, Measurement, Source Reduction, Policy and Climate Change, and Overall Program


  1. “Downtown Revitalization - Analysis of an Innovative Trash Option to Improve  Livability, Safety, Aesthetics and Beyond”, Proceedings of the APWA National Conference, Anaheim, CA, August 2012
  2. “Summary of Key Results from SERA’s 2008 Nationwide Solid Waste and Recycling Survey”, Resource Recycling 12/2008.
  3. Measuring Success in Diversion… “Best Practices”: Alternative Measurement of Recycling and Diversion, SERA White Paper, 5/2007.


  1. “Feeding the Renewable Future: Analysis of Biomass Feedstocks”, Paper for Proceedings of the Global Waste Management Symposium (GWMS), Phoenix, September 2012, with Juri Freeman.
  2. “Recycling’s  Role in the Sustainability / Climate Change Conversation: Finding The  “Biggest Bang” Community Strategy For Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions”, Proceedings of SWANA’s WasteCon Conference, 2011, with Juri Freeman.
  3. “Single-Use Bag Policies: Bans, Fees, Both, or Neither?”, Resource Recycling, March 2012
  4. Do Energy Efficiency Strategies Outperform Recycling in GHG Mitigation and Job Creation? Proceedings of the IEPEC Conference, Portland, August 2009
  5. Recycling  and Climate Change: Finding the “Biggest Bang” Community Strategies for Reducing GHG”, Resource Recycling,      10/2008.
  6. Measuring Success in Diversion… “Best Practices”: Alternative Measurement of Recycling and Diversion, SERA White Paper, 7/2007
  7. Material Bans and Mandatory Recycling Programs: US Experience and Lessons, SERA White Paper, 7/2007
  8. Inventory and Analysis of Alternative E-Waste Management Options: Performance, Potential, and Practicality", prepared for Reason Foundation, (draft) 2006
  9. “Single  stream recycling: Assessing the trade-offs”, Resource Recycling, August 2004.


  1. “Taking Waste Prevention Seriously! Estimates of Source Reduction from Pay As You Throw / Variable Rates Solid Waste User Fees”, Invited paper, International Solid Waste Association Conference, September, 2012, Florence, Italy.
  2. Source Reduction and Recycling: Getting to the Most Cost-Effective Mix, Wastecon Conference Proceedings, October 2000.
  3. “Source Reduction can be Measured”, Resource Recycling, 8/2000
  4. Measuring Source Reduction: Pay As You Throw (PAYT) / Variable Rates as an Example, Technical report, prepared for multiple clients, included on EPA website, 5/2000


  1. “What has the Last Year Done? Plans vs. Reality in a Changing Economy”, Resource Recycling, 7/2009.
  2. What to do with these piles? Finding Alternative uses for glass piles requires a closer look at lower value but cost-effective applications, Resource Recycling, June 2007.
  3. Evaluating Used Oil, Audit, and Cleanup Programs – Surveys, Measurement, Techniques and Results, (coauthor), Wastecon Conference Proceedings, October 2000.
  4. "New Techniques for Evaluating Recycling Programs: Impact Analysis", for ASTSWMO, Portland, Oregon, July 1992.
  5. "Accountability and Monitoring for Recycling Programs", for California Resource Recovery Association, Long Beach, California, July 1992. 
  6. "Integrated Solid Waste Management", lectures for Yale Graduate School of  Management, New Haven, Connecticut, and October 1991.
  7. "Economic Issues in the Solid Waste Field: Comparisons with the Case of Electricity", Western Economics  Association (WEA) Conference, June 1989.

Social Marketing, Education, Behavioral Evaluations


  1. “Is Social Marketing Cost Effective? Theory, Pilots, Full-Scale Results, and Their Implications”, Proceedings of the International Solid Waste Association Conference 2012. With Juri Freeman.
  2. “Spending Your Outreach Dollar Wisely: Increasing Recycling Using Community-Based Social Marketing”, Waste Advantage,      February 2012
  3. “Filling Two Key Research Gaps in Social Marketing: Exploring Cost-Effectiveness and Retention in an Experiment to Influence Energy and Trash Recycling Behaviors”, Proceedings of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists Conference (AERE), 2011. 
  4. “Measuring the Impacts of Social Marketing – What is the “Bang for the Buck”? Is it Worth It?”, Proceedings of the EEDAL Conference, 2011
  5. “Measuring the Impacts of Social Marketing on Recycling – What is the “Bang for the Buck”? Is it Worth It?”, Proceedings of the SWANA WasteCon Conference, 2011.
  6. “Does Social Marketing Work: Addressing Measurement Gaps in Impacts and Retention for Behavioral Programs, Proceedings of the IEPEC Conference,  2011 
  7. “Social Marketing – How Cost-Effective is it?”, Resource Recycling April 2010.
  8. “Social Marketing – Measuring Impacts and Costs in a Project in the Broadlands Neighborhood”, Proceedings of the Solid Waste Association of North America      Wastecon Conference, 2010.
  9. Attributable  Effects From Information And Outreach Programs: Net To Gross, Nebs, And Beyond (Myers  & Skumatz, 4322), Proceedings  for the European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ECEEE), June      2007, France.
  10. Evaluation of the Green Campus Program, prepared for CPUC, October 2006.
  11. Optimizing Education and Program Outreach: Measuring the Impacts of Resource Conservation Programs, American Evaluation Association,      Portland, OR, November 2006.
  12. “Exploring the Role of Attitudes and NEBs in Green Initiatives: Results, Implications, and Uses for Evaluating “Green” Programs”, Western Economics Association (WEA), San Diego, July 2006.
  13. “Valuing  Hard to Measure Program Effects: Survey and Results”, Western Economics Association (WEA), San  Diego, July 2006.
  14. “Education  / Outreach Programs in Recycling: Impacts and Effects”, SWANA Wastecon, 2006.
  15. “Optimizing  Education and Program Outreach: Measuring the Impacts of Recycling and Resource Conservation Programs”, prepared for SWANA WasteCon 2001proceedings, October 2001.
  16. “Evaluating  the impact of recycling education”, Resource Recycling, August 2001.
  17. “Evaluating The Impacts Of Education / Outreach Programs – Lessons On Impacts, Methods, And Optimal Education”, Proceedings of the 2000 ACEEE Summer Study, Asilomar, CA, 2000.