UPDATED: Elected Officials Wrestle with Marpan Recycling Contract

UPDATED: Elected Officials Wrestle with Marpan Recycling Contract


The City Commissioners discussed the City’s contract with Marpan Recycling at their January 29 meeting. The Commissioners unanimously approved the staff recommendation to negotiate a transition agreement with Marpan and hire a consultant to conduct a study on alternative options.

The Leon County Commissioners approved the same recommendations at their meeting on January 28.

City Manager Reese Goad said the transition agreement will likely last one year to give the City time to explore alternative options. The Commissioners will revisit the transition agreement at their February meeting.

After the recycling study is conducted, the Commissioners will review the results by the end of 2020.

Original Report

This week the Leon County Commission and the Tallahassee City Commission will have to consider options related to their relationship with Marpan Recycling.

Following Marpan Recycling’s decision to terminate its recycling contract with Tallahassee, the City Commissioners will discuss an interim agreement and alternative options for continuing recycling in Tallahassee at their January 29th meeting.

The City has contracted Marpan for single-stream recycling since 2013. Under the contract, Marpan has processed recyclables and paid the City monthly for recyclables sold.

On December 16, 2019, the City received a letter from Marpan President Kim B. Williams announcing that, due to dramatic changes in the recyclables market, Marpan cannot continue to provide long-term service.

“There have been several factors affecting the markets since October of 2017,” Williams wrote. “The most significant factor has been China’s decision to stop buying the recovered single-stream materials from the United States. (Roughly 45% of the material purchased from the U.S.).”

China’s 2018 “National Sword” policy restricted the importation of many recyclables. According to the letter, this decision has dramatically decreased the value of recycled aluminum cans, mixed papers, and market trends continue to decline.

“Marpan Recycling does not have the ability to continue absorbing the losses and will be forced to cease operations and terminate our contract due to circumstances beyond our control,” Williams wrote.

Williams said Marpan is willing to enter a 12-month interim agreement to give Tallahassee and Leon County time to explore options for the future of the recycling program.

“In order to make this program sustainable we need to act quickly before our [single-stream] plant is forced to close with an interim agreement that gives the City and County time to research what they find to be the best option going forward,” Williams wrote. “The decisions made by the government of China and the results from them are outside of our control. It is up to our local governments to chart a course to keep single stream recycling available to residents.”

According to the meeting agenda, the Citizens Advisory Committee has recommended that the City Manager proceeds with negotiating an interim agreement.

The Committee also recommends that Tallahassee and Leon County conduct a shared-cost study of other recycling operations to determine potential options moving forward. Staff reports that possible options include constructing a processing facility run by the City and the County.

If approved by the City Commission, the interim contract will be presented for adoption in February, and the Commissioners will review the results from the recycling study by the end of 2020.

The Leon County Commission will take up the issue on Tuesday.

15 Responses to "UPDATED: Elected Officials Wrestle with Marpan Recycling Contract"

  1. This is happening all over the U.S. Recycling must continue. In addition, it is time to get serious about sustainable waste reduction and reuse practices. To Anon coward, incineration causes air and water pollution. This is one of the worst possible options.

  2. Does anyone question how Marpan is the single source provider of dumpsters in Tallahassee? How is it that Kim Williams has made his entire career kissing the A$$ of every local elected official? Is it because he is able to sole source every dumpster in Tallahassee and cut deals like the Recycling plant where city & county recycling is an income stream to him with a small kick back to local government? Cue the water buffalo party at the Chamber conference–always important to wine and dine the local elected officials with, of course, the blessing of our esteemed chamber of commerce.

    1. If you look at all of the contributions made to local politicians from 1 specific PO box and a few select addresses it looks like, well, it looks like something JT Burnette has done.

      It is all online.

  3. “Marpan has processed recyclables and paid the City monthly for recyclables sold.” …………. Just tell Marpan they no longer have to Pay the City (or County).

  4. The city and county pay Marpan exorbitant amounts which in turn Marpam funnels money back into incumbents campaign accounts rather than reinvesting or going to the rank-and-file workers.

    This is the mind set of the local status quo and local Democratic Party and their corruption machine.

    Do the rank-and-file get raises, benefits, 401ks, insurance, and are they able to feed their families?

    Leon County is 4th in hunger in the state and number one in crime yet Marpan is just another local democratic corruption machine for misdirecting funds into campaign accounts..

    How much of the funds were misdirected to Sue Dick and yearly out of town corruption Junction junket? Perhaps the FBI should investigate Marpan and Sue Dick along with Waste Pro?

    Time for voters to wake up and realize that Marpan is funded with taxpayer dollars that don’t go to rank-and-file but go to Kim Williams and elected officials pockets and not the rank-and-file. Facilitated by our County commissioners City commissioners and city and county managers.

  5. Recycling is a joke. You pay the City to take it away. The City gets paid to send it to the worst polluters in the world.
    Either stockpile the materials for future use, or recycle it in the US.
    If the City/County thinks recycling is so important, they would take it away for free since they are profiting from its disposal.
    City/County running a facility? At least the slush fund is more direct that way. Try gasification instead.
    Your precious China is The Worst Polluter in the World.
    Recycling is a joke.

  6. The reference to China not taking our stink garbage is an attempt by elected officials to make the voters think that is even relevant in their desperate desire to s#it can Marpan.
    What is really going on is by getting this “China story” out our dear leaders are putting word out on the street that they are searching for a replacement for Marpan that is willing to do a little elected official back scratching to get the lucrative contract.
    Why you may ask.
    Well locals like Maddox, Gillum, and a host of Usual Suspects pooped in their nest and got caught with Marpan’s kick backs and other lucrative unethical gain from Marpan.
    Word in the herd is the FBI is too trusting and lazy to consider the same thing will happen with Marpan’s replacement.

  7. Again, an excellent article!

    I never liked the way monies from Marpan went to public officials campaign accounts. They are obscene amounts.

    Perhaps if these monies were invested back into Marpan this would not be happening.

    Again, another reason why we need new city and county managers.

    This is a huge concern and for no-one to see it coming is inexcusable.

    If the City and County Commissioners don’t take action and find new qualified managers they will continue to harm the citizens quality of life, Health, and Welfare.

    Huge sewage spills that are deemed insignificant, the out-of-control crime rate, the level of corruption, and now this… what’s next?

    But, the mayor is more worried about getting free airtime via TV commercials (mis)using his position, Curtis’s head is in the clouds, Bryant is running her re-election campaign that she said she was not going to do, etcetera. Matlow seems to be the only one making any competent decisions and the commission should follow his lead.

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