Daily Digest: Canadian recycler sues city for $20M; WM contract proposal rejected in Texas
In the Daily Digest, the Waste Dive team rounds up insights and moments you may have missed.
CANADIAN RECYCLER SUING CITY FOR $20 million
Canada Fibers Ltd. filed a lawsuit claiming "oppressive and high-handed" breaches of contract by Hamilton, located in the province of Ontario, and says it is "hemorrhaging money" as a result. According to The Hamilton Spectator, the city itself has lost an estimated $1.2 million in revenue as a result of recent market shifts and cut items such as expanded polystyrene foam, black plastic and coffee cup lids from its recycling program as a result.
According to a press release, the company filed a statement of claim with the Superior Court of Ontario in late August. That statement said the move followed "over 12 months of negotiations with Hamilton staff that culminated in a recommendation by the City's staff proposing measures to resolve the breach and end the dispute. Unfortunately, Hamilton City Council has rejected the compromise recommended by staff and made it necessary for CFL to seek a remedy in the courts."
The city has filed its own notice of intent to defend the suit and is discussing next steps, including how this could affect potential bids for a 2019 recycling contract.
IN OTHER NEWS
Meanwhile in Canada, a possible curbside organics expansion — CBC
The Regina City Council gave initial approval for a $3.5 million curbside organics collection program pending funds available in the upcoming year's budget. If ultimately approved, a pilot could start as soon as 2020 and citywide implementation could happen by 2023. The Saskatchewan city has set a 65% diversion rate target, but is currently around the 20% range. Its landfill is currently set to reach capacity in 28 years — at which point closure is expected to cost at least $50 million — but the city projects that could be extended to 82 years with sufficient organics diversion. Regina is the only Canadian city with a population of 150,000 or more that doesn't have a curbside organics program.
Woodlands, Texas rejects Waste Management contract with 27% increase — Houston Chronicle
The Woodlands is starting early to consider its options ahead of a Jan. 2020 contract expiration with Waste Management, and some on the township board experienced sticker shock over newly proposed rates. The board unanimously voted against a five-year proposal at a recent meeting. The current contract works out to $10.46 per household, but the new proposal would have seen that jump by 27% in the first year and eventually reach $15.93 by 2024. Waste Management has cited fuel, labor and recycling as key drivers behind this cost increase. Now, the board must decide whether to continue negotiating or put out a request for proposal (RFP) for bids. The Woodlands is also home to the headquarters of Waste Connections and FCC Environmental, so additional interest could potentially be expected.
Florence-related Carolina coal ash concerns not over yet — The Post and Courier
Santee Cooper, a government-owned utility, could see one of its coal ash storage ponds flood in Conway, South Carolina today depending on how high the Waccamaw River rises. The site is currently holding an estimated 200,000 tons of material. Water levels are expected to keep rising until at least Wednesday, with an increasing level of certainty that the river will enter the pond. Whether or not large quantities of coal ash will then wash back into the river is another question. This follows reports that coal ash from a Duke Energy site near Wilmington, North Carolina has been flowing into the Cape Fear River over the weekend.
Missouri city partnering with WCA for rare recycling expansion — The Joplin Globe
In a year when many small municipalities have either limited or considered cutting their curbside recycling programs, Webb City is going in a different direction. Current drop-off bins have become too frequently contaminated so city officials believe that offering voluntary curbside service may change that. WCA Waste is willing to offer the service at a monthly rate of $20 if at least 100 residents sign up, with that number decreasing to $9 if 500 or more join the program. Webb City was home to an estimated 11,200 people as of 2016.
New report finds that half of EU countries likely won't hit 2020 recycling targets — Waste Dive
The European Commission has set a 50% recycling or reuse target by 2020. At least 14 countries aren't on track to hit that, let alone more ambitious goals set for 2025 and beyond.
Renewed calls to crack down on regulated Malaysian plastics facilities — Malay Mail
Malaysia's Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister A. Xavier Jayakumar has called for the suspension of all unlicensed plastics facilities in the district of Kuala Langat, located in the state of Selangor, which surrounds Kuala Lampur. This comes after Jayakumar called for the same thing last month, but said local authorities haven't acted quickly enough and accused some of possibly even being "in cahoots" with some of these plastics operations. This comes after a recent story from Radio New Zealand identified multiple unlicensed sites, operating in palm oil plantations, dumping contaminated discharge into waterways.
ON THE AGENDA
- Webinar: Plastic Sorting Best Management Practices (1-2 p.m. ET) This session from the Association of Plastic Recyclers, entitled "Resources for MRFs, Municipalities, & Reclaimers," also features presenters from More Recycling and SCS Engineers.
Do you have events or webinars that should be on our agenda this week? Email [email protected].
Follow Cole Rosengren on Twitter