Curbside recycling to include glass, plastic bags as part of new deal in City of Houston

HOUSTON – The Houston City Council approved Wednesday a $36.8 million recycling deal after questions about the selection process for the company.

FCC Environmental Services will handle recycling starting in Spring 2019 and will eventually take glass, plastic bags and other items. Currently the city does not allow glass and plastic bags to be included in green bins for pick-up.

Mayor Sylvester Turner says part of the 15-year deal includes a $23 million 100,000 sq. ft. facility to be built. It will create at least 100 jobs, according to the city.

The deal is $11 million cheaper than the original contract the city considered last July. The approval didn’t come without concerns, however. Council Members Kubosh, Stardig and Knox voted no to the deal.

“After considering proposals from competing recycling companies, we got the best deal for the city of Houston,” Mayor Turner stated in a press release. “The contract with FCC saves the taxpayers millions of dollars in recycling costs to the city. It expands the kinds of materials our Solid Waste Department will collect from curbsides once a week. It provides state-of-the-art technology that will be updated as we go along.”

More info from the city’s press release:

With a five-year extension option that would stretch the contract to 20 years, the city will pay FCC SA (Fomento de Construcciones Y Contratas, Inc.) up to $36.8 million assuming the price for which the company can sell recyclables does not climb steeply. If the value of recyclables on global markets shoots up, thus increasing FCC SA’s profits, the city will pay less for the contract.

The city already saved $11 million when FCC SA lowered its price in a second “best and final offer” bidding round and will save more because the city’s contract costs per ton of recyclables are capped. The city has been operating without a cost cap in its current contract with Waste Management.

FCC SA will take over the city’s recycling processing in about 14 months, when it completes construction of a $23 million processing plant that will employ 100 to 140 people in northeast Houston. Upon completion FCC SA will give the plant to the city.

The city will then start accepting glass in its green curbside collection containers as well as plastic bags of the kind used in supermarkets and drug stores.

Current recyclables are aluminum and tin cans;  plastic containers #1 - 5 and #7; cardboard boxes and cartons from items such as milk, juice, soup, crackers, cream, beans, water, broth and wine; and paper products such as newspaper, catalogs, magazines, office paper and phone books.

FCC SA, which handles recycling in Dallas and other Texas cities, will move its corporate headquarters to Houston from The Woodlands.

© 2018 KHOU-TV


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