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National Resources

Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.

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Full Cost Accounting: Practical Guide on Converting to FCA (PDF) (84 pp, 293K) | Excel Version (230K) - Local data can be filled in. March 2000.

The purpose of the Full Cost Accounting Workbook is to provide practical guidance to local government officials who want to implement a full cost accounting system. The Workbook is structured around a set of worksheets designed to help governments identify and collect the data they need to determine the full cost of their solid waste management activities. The forms are only intended to serve as models, and should be modified, as needed, to meet a local government's specific circumstances. Detailed instructions are provided for completing each of the forms contained in this workbook, including how to allocate costs by "activity" (i.e., collection, operation of transfer stations, transport, operation of solid waste facilities, sale of by-products) and "program path" (i.e., recycling, composting, conversion of waste to energy, and land disposal). Also, information is provided on how to convert governmental funds (expenditure-based data) into FCA (expense-based) data.

This workbook was prepared by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA), under a cooperative agreement with the U.S. EPA. The GFOA initiated this workbook and accounting forms as a follow-up to their endorsement of full cost accounting as a "recommended practice" for local government finance officials. (see article listed above entitled Applying Full-Cost Accounting to Solid Waste Management Operations for a review of the key provision of the GFOA's guidance)

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"Applying Full-Cost Accounting to Solid Waste Management Operations," Stephen J. Gauthier, Government Finance Review, August 1998.

This article reviews the key provisions of the Government Finance Officers Association's new guidance regarding the application of FCA to solid waste management operations. It defines two key components of the guidance reporting by both activity and program path and accrual accounting. It also details nine steps for implementing FCA that focus on converting modified accrual data to the accrual basis and using cost data correctly to accurately provide information on the cost of providing solid-waste management services.

This document can be ordered by contacting:
Government Finance Officers Association
180 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 800
Chicago, IL 60601
Phone: 312 977-9700
E-mail: gfr@soa.org

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How to Compare Costs between In-Home and Contracted Services,Lawrence Martin: Reason Foundation, Los Angeles, California, March 1993.

This document provides a step-by-step approach for local governments to assess the full cost of their MSW services. Because government activities are typically funded through several departments, officials may be unaware of the full cost of providing a given service. They may not consider indirect costs such as pension plans and administration, for example. This document identifies costs that are often ignored and costs that should be considered when comparing service options.

This document can be ordered by contacting:
Reason Foundation
3415 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 400
Los Angeles, CA 90034
Contact: Raymond Ng
Phone: 310 391-2245
Fax: 310 391-4395
E-mail: rayn@reason.org

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The Full Cost Analysis Guide for Municipal Waste Managers, Action on Waste, Alberta Environmental Protection, Alberta, Canada, September 1995.

This reference document is designed to guide MSW managers through an orderly analysis of the full costs of MSW programs. Under this accounting framework, full costs include environmental, health, and social costs, as well as revenues generated and any benefits that might come from external costs (e.g., pollution abatement or employment opportunities). This document provides checklists and worksheets for managers to determine the full costs and rank external considerations.

This document can be downloaded online (PDF) (81 pp, 2.1MB) Exit EPA or by contacting:

Alberta Environmental Protection
Contact: Licia Paddifon
Phone: 403 422-8466
Fax: 403 427-1594

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Using Full Cost Accounting to Enhance Local Waste Reduction and Recycling Programs, Paul J. Ligon, Robert G. Graff, Tellus Institute, Boston, Massachusetts, June 1996.

This document details three cities' waste management systems and plans using WastePlan, a user-friendly computer modeling tool. In University City, Missouri, WastePlan projected the additional equipment and labor costs incurred from expanding the recycling program as well as the cost reduction realized for each ton of recyclables handled. The Park Hills, Missouri, analysis shows how changing from a flat fee system to a pay-as-you-throw system would meet several of the city's goals reducing waste generation, increasing recycling rates, and balancing waste disposal costs and revenues. In 1992, WastePlan found that if New York City implemented recycling, composting, and waste prevention education programs, overall solid waste management system costs would decline significantly in the New York Metropolitan Area and would be no more expensive than alternative programs relying exclusively on landfilling and incineration.

To order this document or any of the full reports contact:
Tellus Institute
11 Arlington Street
Boston, MA 02116
Phone: 617 266-5400
Fax: 617 266-8303

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