FCC Environmental wins Texas collection contract

FCC Environmental Services was awarded a $33 million recycling collection contract in Rowlett, Texas, after Waste Management (WM), Houston, tried to raise rates by 84 percent during the renewal process, a report by Dallas-based CBS affiliate CBS 11 says. WM has provided collection services to Rowlett for five years.

FCC Environmental, the U.S. subsidiary of the Madrid-based global environmental services company FCC, will take over the contract starting Oct. 1.

Before the vote, a WM area manager posted a letter online calling FCC Environmental a “European conglomerate that has virtually no collection experience or operations in the U.S.,” the report says. The manager also said the city may experience a disruption of service due to FCC Environmental’s “lack of experience, infrastructure and equipment.”

Rowlett Mayor Todd Gottel called the letter “unprofessional” and added that many of the claims contained within it were untrue. He pointed to FCC’s new 12-acre recycling facility in Dallas as an example, according to the report. (See “An operations milestone,” here, for more details on the FCC MRF in Dallas.) He posted his own letter explaining the decision to switch service providers.

While the mayor says service will not be disrupted, all bids came in higher than the city’s current rate, and residents will experience a cost increase.

Waste Connections files suit against Rubicon and former employee

Waste Connections, headquartered in The Woodlands, Texas, and its subsidiary Progressive Waste Solutions of LA (PWS) submitted an Original Complaint, Emergency Application for Temporary Restraining Order and Interlocutory Injunction against Atlanta-based Rubicon Global LLC and Jonathan Dewitt, a former district sales manager for PWS, June 13, 2017.

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According to the complaint, Dewitt is said to have downloaded onto two USB devices at least 1,160 confidential documents amounting to about 4,800 pages, which included pricing information, bid proformas, customer lists and information on Waste Connections’ cultural training and development programs.

The complaint alleges Dewitt “abruptly resigned from PWS (March 24, 2017) to accept the position of national sales manager for Rubicon. The complaint claims Rubicon is “interfering with Waste Connections’ contracts and customer relationships and seeks to convert Waste Connections’ customers to Rubicon Services through unlawful means.”

The complaint indicates four counts:

  • breach of contract (Dewitt)
  • violation of the Georgia Trade Secrets Act (Dewitt and Rubicon)
  • tortious interference with an existing contract (Rubicon); and
  • request for a temporary restraining order and interlocutory injunction (Dewitt and Rubicon).

In early July, Rubicon Global announced that it had terminated the employment of Dewitt out of “an abundance of caution.”

Rubicon denies it had any knowledge of Dewitt’s alleged actions and provided an official statement to the Recycling Today Media Group, which reads, “Allegations were recently brought against Rubicon Global and a newly hired employee by his former employer, Waste Connections. The allegations claimed that the employee improperly handled Waste Connections’ intellectual property and confidential information upon joining our company.

“Rubicon strongly denies that it had knowledge of these actions,” the statement continues. “Although the hiring of the employee was entirely appropriate and Rubicon took appropriate steps to ensure no confidential or proprietary information of Waste Connections would be used, out of an abundance of caution Rubicon has decided to terminate the employee.

“Data security is extremely important to us—and for our customers, for our hauler partners and for our employees,” Rubicon says in the statement. “We protect their data and respect the confidential information and intellectual property of our competitors and other companies in our industry. We take any potential risks to such security or the intellectual property of third parties very seriously, and we will continue defending Rubicon’s actions in this matter.”

Penn Waste upgrades MRF

York, Pennsylvania-based Penn Waste has announced plans to add technology and capacity to its 35-ton-per-hour (tph) single-stream recycling system at its 96,000-square-foot Manchester, Pennsylvania, material recovery facility (MRF).

Eugene, Oregon-based Bulk Handling Systems (BHS) designed, engineered, manufactured and installed the processing line in 2015 and will provide the $3.5 million retrofit. Expected to be operational in August 2017, the upgraded system is designed to increase throughput to more than 45 tph and improve material purity.

Penn Waste is among the first to invest in Max-AI technology designed to improve container line performance. The Max-AI Autonomous QC (AQC) unit follows a new NRT SpydIR optical sorter targeting polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Max-AI technology uses artificial intelligence to identify non-PET items for the AQC to pick and return to the container line’s onset.

In addition to the Max-AI AQC, Penn Waste is adding three new NRT optical sorters and an NRT MetalDirector. It also recently added a Nihot SDS 800-i to clean larger volumes of glass.

The new container line will feature optical detection and recovery of 3-D fiber, such as small packing from online purchases. The company also added an optical sorter on its “last chance” residue line to remove containers and metals. The optical sorters will enable automated separation of additional commodities, including polypropylene (PP) and colored and natural high-density polyethylene (HDPE).

Penn Waste says the retrofit is a response to the system’s success and the growing and changing material stream.

“Since our grand opening two years ago, we’ve seen a shift in our material, most notably a sizeable increase in our container volume,” says Scott Wagner, Penn Waste owner. “The new technology, operated by our exceptional staff, will enable us to stay ahead of our competition, producing the first-class commodities that our customers are accustomed to receiving from Penn Waste. We’re an early adopter, embracing the best available technology to maximize our recovery and product quality,” Wagner says.

Pratt opens recycling facility in Atlanta

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Pratt Industries, headquartered in Conyers, Georgia, has opened its newest material recovery facility (MRF) on the western side of Atlanta to better serve the recycling needs of metro-Atlanta and the northwest and southwest metropolitan areas, it says.

The plant, which will receive recovered materials from municipal and commercial recycling programs, is the most recent addition to the Georgia-based company’s system of recycling facilities. The facility can process residential and commercial single-stream recyclables, as well as source-separated and baled materials. These include various grades of paper, plastic and metal, as well as other materials.

In 2007, Pratt opened a facility in East Point, Georgia, to serve the Atlanta metropolitan area. Pratt says it has outgrown that location, necessitating moving to a new 80,000-square-foot facility in the Fulton industrial area of the county.

Shawn State, Pratt Recycling senior vice president of its southern region, says, “The MRF has the capacity to process up to 7,000 tons of materials per month, including 4,000 tons of paper, which will be used as fiber for Pratt Industries’ 100 percent recycled paper mill in Conyers, Georgia. The Conyers paper mill produces enough paper from 100 percent recycled feedstock to save over 7 million trees per year.”