Construction Equipment North America

Lycoming County Resource Management Services

Buying Safer, Buying Smarter with Volvo


A government buying program put a PA recycler in the seat of a Volvo wheel loader quickly and effectively by eliminating the burdensome and costly standard bid process, but without shortchanging features.

Lycoming County Resource Management Services (LCRMS) operates on 505 acres in north-central Pennsylvania. What started as a standard landfill in 1978 expanded over the next four decades in step with legislative regulations and a greening social mind set.

“The County of Lycoming County became active in basic recycling around 1992 following the passage of Act 101 (which prompted local governments to reduce their volumes of municipal waste). In 2003 the County invested in a $10 million recycling facility to process source-separated materials,” says Jason Yorks, Resource Recovery Manager and Recycling Coordinator.

The current wave of recycling is single-stream, where all materials are collected in the same receptacle. This method has shown to increase residential recycling by up to 30%.

Local refuse haulers were already offering single stream to their customers but transporting the recyclables several counties away to the closest single stream material recovery facility (MRF). The County of Lycoming realized their current recycling center could offer this convenience to haulers and augment its own revenue sales from recyclables. “However, you can’t take a source separated processing facility like we had and process single stream effectively,” Jason explains.

In 2014, the County invested $6.1 million in single stream technology to upgrade the existing operation with optical sorters, balers, picking platforms and larger metering bin.

Jason and Wayne Benson, Assistant Manager, Resource Recovery Department, quickly identified a problem as they worked through the facility redesign.

 “We toured a few single stream recycling centers and noticed that at several sites their wheel loaders were not reaching the top of the metering bins. You need height with your loader bucket to drop material and fluff so it moves smoother through the conveyors. To get the added height operators were scooping recyclables into a makeshift ramp to reach the bin.  There was no solid foundation for the loader which caused it to rock. It worked, but it was neither ideal nor safe,” Jason says.

Wayne’s crew had been operating Volvo equipment for over 13 years. He realized their primary wheel loader, a Volvo L70G, lacked the tip height needed to match the new single stream metering bin. A call was made to Brian Hoffman with local Volvo dealer, Highway Equipment & Supply Co., to size up options. Brian’s recommendation: a Volvo L90H with high tip bucket.

“The 6.5 yd3 Volvo high tip bucket considerably increases dump height because it is hydraulically lifted from a built-in frame. They are especially poplar for recycling center and transfer stations,” says Brian.

The L90H, which is manufactured at the Volvo North American factory in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, the added reach and production capacity demanded by the resource recovery center.

“This single stream facility is processing 20 tons per hour, up from the 4-5 tons per hour when it was a comingled facility.  This Volvo loader increases our ability to take in more market share and make our operation sustainable in terms of revenue,” Jason says. The resource recovery center takes in fibers, plastics, glass and aluminum that are funneled through a series of conveyors and optical sorters and separated into bins by material type.

Settling on the target machine was easy but the recycling center employees feared finding funding might not be as simple.

Brian and Volvo again offered a straightforward solution through the HGACBuy program. HGACBuy is a cooperative purchasing program open to all units of local governments. Buyers can satisfy the bidding process and directly select product, including construction equipment from a list of awarded companies. All Volvo products are included in the HGAC Buy program.

“Lycoming County had participated in buying contracts in the past but was not aware of the HGACBuy program. I shared a brochure and when we compared against other buying contract programs, HGACBuy turned out to be the best fit for Lycoming County,” Brian says.

 “The benefits of going through a buying contract program are pretty obvious,” says Jason. “If you go out to bid you are going to take the lowest bid. Yes, there are times that works out but other times it can turn into a nightmare,” Jason says.

In less than two weeks the County was set up with an HGACBuy member ID and Brian and Jason met with the Lycoming Board of Commissioners to review the wheel loader proposal. Says Jason, “We made out better using the HGACBuy program than if we would have went to bid. We got the exact machine we needed and saved the county – and taxpayers – a significant amount of money.”

Recycling volumes are well north of what Jason had anticipated. “In the first nine months of 2015 we surpassed what we did in an entire year at the source-separated facility and expect to exceed 16,000 tons,” Jason says. Most of the sorted materials go to East Coast paper mills or plastic manufacturers.

Recyclable through-put hinges on the speed and power of the L90. And comfort.

Says loader operator Ron Snell, “As far as I am concerned Volvo has cornered the market on operator comfort. They do everything they can to make it comfortable for the operator working eight hours day or longer. The heated seats are a real bonus. And with the high tip bucket I can drive on the flat floor and still reach the metering bin.”

The single stream facility has the potential to collect materials from more than 85 licensed haulers within a six county area. On the flip side, the number of source separated drop off sites is shrinking, which is another savings for the county. The resource recovery center has also enabled the County to stretch into further into the community.

Says Jason, “We average one to two tours per week with a strong interest from environmental and sustainability classes from area colleges. We also generate a lot of activity from our Facebook page and web site hauler locator, where the public can search for a local hauler who participates in single stream recycling.”

Lycoming County’s experience with the HGAC Buy program exemplifies how these types of procurement programs can be a win-win scenario.

Says Kathy Tedone, “Volvo is seeing a significant and consistent increase in the trend by our municipal partners to purchase from cooperative contracts such as HGACBuy and NJPA (National Joint Powers Alliance®). These contracts offer the flexibility to purchase what they want, from who they want, at the most competitive pricing available while saving them time and money with the assurance that the equipment manufacturers have satisfied the open solicitation process required by the contracting agencies, thereby eliminating the need for other agencies to duplicate the solicitation process.”

Lycoming County Resource Management Services - Buying Safer, Buying Smarter with Volvo

A government buying program put a PA recycler in the seat of a Volvo wheel loader quickly and effectively by eliminating the burdensome and costly standard bid process, but without shortchanging features.