Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner hailed the city council’s resounding Jan. 10 approval of a 15-year contract with FCC SA, The Woodlands, Texas, for processing Houston residents’ recyclable materials—a deal that will save taxpayers millions of dollars and includes provisions for the company to accept glass and filmy plastic bags.
“After considering proposals from competing recycling companies, we got the best deal for the city of Houston,” Turner says. “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.”
“It’s a win for Houstonians and the environment,” the mayor adds.
With a five-year extension option that would stretch the contract to 20 years, the city will pay FCC SA 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 even 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 Houston-based 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 include aluminum and tin cans; plastic containers Nos. 1-5 and No. 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.