Seattle to ink new trash-collection contracts worth $850M

The new 10-year contracts say the Recology and Waste Management trucks must be powered by 100 percent renewable fuels.

The City Council voted unanimously Monday to clear Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) to sign new long-term contracts for solid-waste collection.

The 10-year contracts with Recology and Waste Management will see the city pay out an estimated $850 million and will require both companies to use only trucks powered by renewable fuels or electricity.

SPU last signed major contracts for solid-waste pickup in 2008, choosing CleanScapes and Waste Management. In 2011, CleanScapes merged with Recology, and the resulting company now does business as Recology.

The two contractors collect garbage, recyclables and compost from all of Seattle’s residents, garbage from all of its businesses and garbage and recyclables from city containers in public spaces.

In 2017, they collected a combined 418,000 tons of garbage, recyclables and waste, according to a council memo.

With the existing contracts set to expire in March 2019, SPU issued a request for proposals.  There were four bidders and an internal-evaluation committee recommended Seattle stick with the incumbents.

The new contracts together are about $5 million cheaper per year than the existing contracts, said Hans Van Dusen, SPU’s solid-waste contracts manager.

The contracts, which will begin in April 2019, say the companies’ primary fleets must by then consist exclusively of trucks no older than 2018 and powered by 100 percent renewable fuels.

Recology’s fleet will use diesel sourced from animal fats and vegetable oils. Waste Management will use natural gas certified as organic based on contributions to the natural-gas grid from landfills.

As of 2013, no trucks in the Recology and Waste Management fleets were powered by 100 percent renewable fuels, Van Dusen said.

Waste Management’s fleet now meets that standard, and Recology’s will soon, he said.

Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who chairs the council’s utilities committee, asked SPU in September to push for electric trucks.

Recology will deploy at least two electric collection trucks and Waste Management will use some electric route-management and street-crew trucks.

The companies will continue weekly garbage and compost pickup and every-other-week recyclables pickup, but the new contracts say SPU may at some point allow customers to choose every-other-week garbage pickup.

Seattle has other, separate contracts for garbage processing and disposal and for recyclables sorting and processing.  Most Seattle businesses do their own contracting for recycling and compost collection.

Source: The Seattle Times & WIH Resource Group

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