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.
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.