Miami-Dade County, Florida, has approved no-bid extensions of its recycling contracts with WM, Waste Connections and Coastal Waste & Recycling. Those contracts, which were set to expire March 31, now run through March 31, 2025.
The county has been working for three years to seek new recycling contracts, but recently Mayor Daniella Levine Cava recommended a two-year renewal for its existing vendors instead of moving forward with a wider RFP process, saying officials would not be able to pick new vendors by the March 31 deadline. Certain contracts were first inked in 2008.
The Department of Solid Waste Management will spend an additional $44 million on recycling for the next two years. DSWM will spend $17 million for Coastal Waste and $10 million for Waste Connections for collection and hauling services. Another $17 million will go to WM for MRF processing services. To date, the county has spent about $160 million on these contracts.
Miami-Dade under the new processing contract will pay $143.99 per ton, including a transfer and delivery fee, to WM’s Pembroke Pines MRF. The state average was around $50 a ton three years ago, Levine Cava wrote in the memo. The county will revisit the costs each year based on the results of a recyclables composition study.
Officials say the cost of collection has increased by about 28%. The change in pricing comes from “significant increases in the costs of fuel, labor, and trucks” as well as inflation and global market shifts from China’s 2018 National Sword policy, when the country stopped importing many materials.
The original WM contract was made in 2008 during “vastly different market conditions and as a result was extremely favorable to the County,” she wrote. For the 15-year contract period, the county received about $700,000 a year for recycled materials. Residential collection switched from dual stream to single stream in 2008.
Miami-Dade County is working on a 2050 zero waste plan that could also impact future waste and recycling contracts “given the significant challenges in the market for recycled goods and the increasing costs of fuel, labor and equipment,” Levine Cava wrote. The plan will “emphasize waste reduction, composting, and other waste management and diversion strategies that will reduce collection and processing costs in the long run.”
It’s not clear what the next steps will be for selecting vendors past the 2025 contract date.
Kessler Consulting has been involved in helping with the process since the county began looking for new vendors three years ago. The proposals were originally due in February.
The memo did not mention how many proposals were received, but said that “significant transition time will be required as the vendors will have to purchase vehicles and hire staff to commence the services.”