Daily Digest: Omaha, Nebraska releases RFP, fines Waste Management $300K
Plus, Wheelabrator gets a new eight-year deal in Virginia, big cannabis commits to sustainable packaging and more in our daily roundup.
In the Daily Digest, the Waste Dive team rounds up insights and moments you may have missed.
OPEN SEASON IN OMAHA
A highly anticipated request for proposals to collect waste and recycling in Omaha, Nebraska, has now been released as the city faces ongoing challenges with its yard waste service.
Waste Management currently has a contract that runs through 2020, via its 2015 acquisition of Deffenbaugh Industries, but has struggled to retain enough drivers to meet seasonal yard waste collection requirements. The city exercised its right to start fining the company for failure to fulfill its obligations earlier this summer. The Omaha World-Herald reports those penalties have now amounted to nearly $300,000.
Now, the company says it plans to bid on a contract that would take effect in January 2021 and run through the end of 2030. The contract also includes the option for two five-year extensions beyond that.
Per an initial review of the bid documents, Omaha is looking to transition to cart-based recycling and maintain a broad list of accepted materials. The city is also looking for any collection fleet to have 100% alternative fuel vehicles by the seventh year of the contract, with benchmarks along the way. Multiple options have been laid out for collection frequency and potential commingling of yard waste with refuse. Further negotiations around pricing for recyclables, among other areas, can be expected.
A pre-bid meeting has been scheduled for Nov. 9. Bidding closes on Jan. 30, 2019 and a decision is targeted for June. Previous estimates have valued this contract as high as $100 million, attracting interest from both local and out-of-state service providers.
IN OTHER NEWS
Wheelabrator locks down Virginia contract — Suffolk News-Herald
Wheelabrator's Portsmouth, Virginia, refuse-derived fuel facility has long handled waste for the Southeastern Public Service Authority (SPSA). Now it appears, despite efforts to switch companies in recent years, that will remain the case. SPSA had previously decided to move ahead on a new deal with RePower South, yet that fell apart in October 2017 after the company missed multiple deadlines and failed to satisfy the SPSA board's confidence that it could deliver. Wheelabrator received a one-year contract extension at that time.
SPSA received three bids for this latest contract — including from Republic Services and RDS — in February, before narrowing it down to Wheelabrator in April. Negotiations have been ongoing ever since, and the deal was unanimously approved in September, with final approval coming last night. That agreement includes the stipulation that all residual ash will go to SPSA's own landfill. The contract could run as long as 2036 if extension options are exercised.
Major cannabis company joins Sustainable Packaging Coalition — Press Release
KushCo Holdings, parent company to multiple companies in the cannabis and CBD industries, has joined a growing list of other high-profile names to address packaging recyclability. Because of certain state regulations around packaging sizes and child-resistant designs, cannabis products often use a lot of plastic and aren't easily recyclable. KushCo has pledged to explore new packaging options as it engages with SPC going forward.
"As the cannabis industry’s largest and most respected distributor of packaging, supplies, and accessories, being a leader in reducing waste in the cannabis industry is an important pillar we internally rally around and plan for this to be a jumping off point for further sustainable company initiatives," said CEO Nick Kovacevich in a statement.
European Parliament passes one of world's most ambitious plastics policies — Press Release
A newly approved draft plan would ban a wide range of plastic products, which are said to comprise an estimated 70% of marine litter, in the European Union by 2021. This includes single-use items such as plates, cutlery, straws, balloon sticks or cotton buds, bags and packaging made from oxo-degradable plastics and fast-food expanded polystyrene packaging. Other types of packaging, beverage bottles, cigarette butts, fishing gear and other items would also see high recovery rate targets in future years. The inclusion of fishing gear is notable as that comprises a large portion of marine debris. From here, the European Council is expected to take up the proposal in November with a possible final agreement by the end of the year.
SEEN & HEARD
Recology is using art as one way to inspire San Francisco to be "Better at the Bin", a new initiative that encourages all San Franciscans to recycle, compost, and make less trash. Look for the new Recology truck painted with a mural by Sirron Norris! https://t.co/lylB9Hxpqq pic.twitter.com/5l5Ac52eiE— SF Environment ♻️???? (@SFEnvironment) October 25, 2018
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