APRIL 2010

Metro announces new operator for transfer station

For the first time since it opened in 1990, operations at the Metro Central solid waste transfer station are changing hands. Metro and Recology Oregon Recovery Inc. have signed an estimated $38 million, 7-year contract that will signal considerable changes for the northwest Portland facility that takes in trash and recyclables from commercial waste haulers, businesses and residents.

Following a thorough evaluation by an interagency evaluation team, Metro determined that Recology had the best and most competitive proposal to manage Metro Central. The decision to award the contract to Recology was based primarily on its guarantee to double the rate of materials recycled, the company’s robust sustainability plan, which includes reducing its carbon footprint and improved opportunities for employees at the station – all without significant increase in costs.

Recology initially plans to employ 46 workers, but that number will likely rise to 59 as activities increase. The pay for entry level positions will be higher than current pay levels at the station, and Recology will provide health benefits as well as community service days for employees. The contract with Metro also requires Recology to work with vendors that are either local, third-party certified (such as the Green Seal for environmental standards) or members of the Minority, Women, and Emerging Small Businesses Program.

While residents who have their garbage and recycling picked up at the curb will not see any immediate changes, and Metro expects little to no impact on disposal rates, modifications will be made to improve services at the station to allow Recology to double the current rate of recycling from 17 percent to 34 percent by the end of the first year of operations, and to 40 percent by the end of the contract in 2017. Stepping up the recovery of cardboard, wood and metal will make up much of that increase. Recology also plans to accept new materials at Metro Central, including asphalt roofing and clean drywall.

In the agreement with Metro, Recology has outlined aggressive plans to improve sustainable operations for the transfer station and to cut greenhouse gas emissions to become carbon-neutral by 2015. The plans include running the station solely on wind power purchased through PGE’s Clean Wind program and implementing an energy efficiency plan for the facility. Changing traffic flow and some handling of materials will reduce vehicle idling and the use of B5 biodiesel and diesel catalytic converters on equipment used on site will cut down emissions.

Recology will also look at reducing water usage and replacing toxic solvents and lubricants with more environmentally friendly ones. Metro requires Recology to monitor and report on the progress of its sustainable practices through the life of the contract by implementing an industry-approved environmental management system at the transfer station.

Recology is one of three companies that submitted proposals to run operations at the regional solid waste transfer stations owned by Metro. Allied Waste Transfer Services of Oregon, LLC, the current operator of both Metro transfer stations, and GreenWaste Zanker also submitted proposals.

The agreement with Recology involves only operations at Metro Central. In the past both transfer stations were managed by one company, but Metro determined that since the two transfer stations are different in design and operation that it would be more effective to separate operations. Central’s size and layout offers more opportunities to recover and recycle materials, while the layout of Metro South makes it less flexible, limiting options to expand recovery at the site.

Metro expects to complete a contract on its South Station in Oregon City soon; a notice of intent to award operations to Allied Waste has been filed. The current contracts at both stations expired March 31, 2010.