- The final portion of Waste Management's Eco-Center in Reno, NV, a material recovery facility once expected to open as early as March 2015, is now slated for completion this spring as reported by the Reno Gazette-Journal.
- A spokesperson for the company told the paper that a necessary city permit wasn't issued until September 2016 and city planning requirements, among other factors, have added an additional $9 million to expected costs. MRF equipment will now be installed for testing in April, operations will begin in May and an education center will be ready by June.
- Construction of the facility was part of Waste Management's franchise contract with the city and questions have been raised about whether delayed completion had violated that agreement. The company said an outside legal review of the terms found that they were in full compliance and noted that residents have still had the option to drop recyclables off in the meantime.
The Eco-Center technically includes a transfer station, compressed natural gas filling station, dispatch building, maintenance facility and other features. Though whenever questions are raised about their franchise agreement the MRF often receives the most attention. This agreement has given Waste Management a dominant position in the market, making them a popular target for various unsuccessful legal challenges.
When the MRF is complete it will only sort cardboard, paper and some metals. All other material will still make the roughly two-hour trip west to the company's Sacramento Recycling and Transfer Station in California, which has more advanced sorting technology and is more accessible to material markets.
This practice of transporting baled recyclables has recently been a topic of discussion in Ann Arbor, MI, where Waste Management has been handling the city's material on a temporary basis. Local council members recently voted to switch to a nonprofit company that wouldn't compact the material, despite a slightly higher price, because of concerns about recyclables losing value in the process. Further negotiations will now look at whether that method will end up being as practical or cost-effective.