When it comes to getting MSW projects approved and funded, doing it alone may get you someplace, but it might not be where you set your sights, and it might not bring you what you had in mind.
Indeed, take a peek at any project threatening diversion of any element of the wastestream from its preexisting course, and you’ll find a battery of entrenched, well-funded factions anxious to support any number of alternatives. Faced with all these challenges, not even the most intrepid MSW manager can tough it out alone.
Once you recognize that success in moving projects forward is not a so much a function of more and more or deeper and deeper levels of information, but rather of support for those most affected by the result, you begin to get the picture.
Last year we published an article on waste management practices in Japan and how, as part of the scoping and approval process, the energy-from-waste project organizer, JFE Co., conducted 10,000 (!!) public comment sessions seeking input on what people in the neighborhood wanted. As a result, the project had the wholehearted support of the community.
That, of course, is Japan, not the US and Canada, or even the European Union. But the underlying point is valid: Public input is important if you want your project to be successful.
I spent this past Saturday morning in nearby Oxnard, CA, at the first in a series of meetings designed to inform the public of the need and desirability for upgrading the community’s MRF. Hosted at the MRF by the city’s capital projects manager, Daniel Rydberg, the meeting was well attended and carried by local television.
Dr. Eugene Tseng, who is a member of MSW Management’s Editorial Advisory Board, provided both the regulatory backdrop and underlying vision for the upgrade, after which Oxnard Mayor Carmen Ramirez affirmed the city’s commitment to the project.
With the project outline in place, attendees sat down to the task of discussing possible outcomes and selecting those they felt were most important to the community. I’ll be following the progress of this process.