Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

Sustainable Systems Research Laboratory

tree sproutThe Business Waste Reduction Assistance Program (BWRAP)

Mission Statement for the Program

Our mission is to help organizations in Lucas County enhance sustainability through cost-effective engineering methods and outstanding service while educating students in the systems approach of engineering, environmental awareness, and professional development.

Program Overview

The Business Waste Reduction Assistance Program is a unique partnership between the Lucas County Solid Waste Management District, The University of Toledo’s College of Engineering, and local business and industry. Formed in July 1996, we provide no-cost solid waste, energy, and greenhouse gas assessments to Lucas County commercial and industrial businesses.

Lucas Co. Solid Waste Management District Logo

Goals of the Project

As a program of the county and the university, the major goal of the project is to provide a valuable service to the community. The knowledge and expertise of the University’s faculty, staff and students are utilized to identify environmentally friendly solutions and cost savings for local businesses through waste minimization and process efficiency solutions. The following goals are achieved:

  • Increased manufacturing competitiveness through reduced solid waste disposal costs, reduced energy costs, and optimized use of raw materials, packaging and floor space
  • Improved corporate image as the companies become greener
  • Reduced pollution through reduced energy usage, and the application of clean and renewable energy sources
  • Decreased reliance on landfills for disposal and fossil fuels for energy

Waste Analysis Process

University of Toledo graduate and undergraduate students majoring in engineering perform all waste analyses. All assessments are attended by at least one graduate-level student and overseen by the Program's Principal Investigator. Typically, the analysis process consists of the following steps:

  • Hold an initial meeting to establish the project team, the specific organizational sustainability goals, and the project timelinestudents at work
  • Review the organization's existing solid waste, energy, recycling, and financial records
  • Create process flow charts and conduct throughput analyses for manufacturing operations (if applicable)
  • Collect data via solid waste sorts, equipment monitoring, and interviews at the facility
  • Analyze the data to determine annual generation by work unit or area and to establish baseline data
  • Identify major waste minimization opportunities
  • Determine and evaluate waste minimization options related to process, equipment, and method improvements that are based on feasibility analyses (technical, operational, and safety) and cost analyses (payback period and the internal rate of return)
  • Create a list of recommendations based on the research findings and provide a final report that includes a detailed reference list of vendors that complement the recommendations
  • Assist in the development the waste minimization deployment and execution plan (if requested)
  • Assist in the execution and implementation of the waste minimization plan (if requested)
  • Assist in the validate the program outcomes versus original goals (if requested)
  • Assist in the monitoring and continuous improvement of the sustainability program (if requested)

All assessments are provided on a confidential basis and are free of charge to businesses residing within Lucas County. Funding for this project is provided through a grant by the Lucas County Solid Waste Management District and The University of Toledo.

Expertise, Strategies, and Technologies applied by the Program

  • Six Sigma process analysis and design
  • Cost analysis, forecasting, and business justification for environmental projects
  • Zero landfill implementation
  • Recycling (in-process and off-site)
  • Material separation and recovery
  • Scrap and defect minimization
  • Waste exchanges              
  • Transportation network optimization
  • Composting
  • Equipment selection and installation (including balers, shredders, grinders, material handling, and anaerobic digesters)
  • Waste-to-energy conversion
  • Greenhouse gas and carbon footprint analyses
  • Life cycle analysis
  • Solar cells
  • Geothermal
  • Wind turbines
  • High-efficiency lighting

Project Outcomes and Successes

  • Conducted over 80 solid waste analyses and identified over six million pounds of solid waste for potential reuse, reduction, or recycling by Lucas County manufacturers, service providers, and government agencies.
  • Identified over $1.5 million in annual cost savings for Lucas County businesses.
  • Researched the development of a building-wide recycling program for One Government Center, Toledo, Ohio.
  • Developed an Emergency Debris Management Plan for Lucas County to effectively respond and recover from debris generated from natural disasters. The project included the creation of a computer program to estimate the amount of debris generated based on the force of a tornado.
  • Conducted a survey and analysis of used automobile oil disposal in Lucas County in 1998 - 2011.
  • Developed a joint database for Lucas County manufacturers and The Working Council for Employee Involvement to document and share corporate recycling efforts.
  • Conducted annual landfill audits for Lucas County in 1999 and every following year to ensure compliance with state and local regulations.
  • Developed “Green Bottle” lesson plans for Lucas County teachers.
  • Assisted Lucas County in gathering data and preparing Solid Waste Annual District Reports.
  • Analyzed Lucas County recycling truck routing to reduce costs and improve productivity.
  • Over 60 University of Toledo students have participated in research in this program and are positioned to become future environmental leaders in industry.

Research Staff

Principal Investigator

  • Dr. Matthew Franchetti, Ph.D. P.E. - Dr. Franchetti has been involved with solid waste analysis and minimization for over 10 years and he has led over 80 related projects.  He has published numerous articles in the field and is under contract with McGraw-Hill to a textbook titled "Solid Waste Analysis and Minimization: A Systems Approach".  He also holds a Master's Degree in Business Administration with a specialization in Operations Management from the University of Toledo.

Lucas County Solid Waste Management District Manager

  • Mrs. Julie Riley - Mrs. Riley has been employed by Lucas County for over 25 years and has been a part of the Solid Waste Management District for more than 20 of those years.

Project Managers

  • Mr. Somik Ghose, BSCivilE, MSCivilE, Ph.D. (c) - Mr. Ghose is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering at the University of Toledo. He has professional experience with the Center for Innovative Food Technology. His research expertise includes waste to energy, pollution prevention, and energy analysis.
  • Ms. Zonghua Xu, BSME, MSME, Ph.D. (c) – Ms. Xu is Certified in CPIM from APICS and IASSC Lean six sigma green belt and currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering at the University of Toledo.  Her research expertise includes green supply chain management, period vehicle routing problem (PVRP), solid waste management strategies, and energy assessments. 
  • Ms. Lakshika Kuruppuarachchi, B.Sc., Ph.D. (c) – Ms. Lakshika is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering at the University of Toledo. She has obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Statistics and Operations Research. Her research interests include facility location optimization, data analysis, and solid waste and energy assessments.
    research staff


Related Publications

  • Xu, Z., Kalita, N. M., Franchetti, M., & Kumar, A. (2016). A facility lighting comparison based on energy savings and efficiency, pollution prevention and life cycle assessment. Environmental Management and Sustainable Development5(2), 229-243.
  • Kalita, N., Xu, Z., & Kumar, A. (2016). Application of software to study the impact of transportation sectors' greenhouse gas emissions reduction on climate change. Environmental Progress & Sustainable Energy35(6), 1559-1565.
  • Xu, Z., Kuruppuarachchi,.L. Franchetti,.(2019)  Environmental and Economic Modelling for Recycling Collection System in Lucas County, OH, Informs Annual Meeting, Technical poster, 2019.
  • Xu, Z., Kalita, N. M., Franchetti, M., (2017) Climatic Implications of Greenhouse Gas Emission Control Strategies for Public Transit Buses in a Geographic Region, A&WMA 110th ACE, Technical Poster, 2017.
  • Xu, Z., M.Proposal for potential SW PA fracking site, A&WMA 110th ACE, Technical Poster, 2017
  • Kuruppuarachchi, L. N., Kumar, A., & Franchetti, M. (2017). A comparison of major environmental justice screening and mapping tools. Environ Manag Sustain Dev6(1), 59-71.


Last Updated: 6/27/22