City recommends new $9M per year processing, marketing contract with Ontario recycling giant

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City councillors will consider giving one of the largest recycling companies in Ontario a $9 million per year contract next week to handle recycling processing, sorting and shipping in Winnipeg.

Staff with Winnipeg’s water and waste department are recommending a committee approve a 10-year contract with Canada Fibers when it meets April 5. If approved by the water and waste committee, the contract would still need approval from the mayor’s inner circle as well as city council.

Canada Fibers offered the lowest bid but the decision wasn’t based solely on cost, said Coun. Brian Mayes, chair of the water and waste committee.

“It had the expertise as well to operate and be flexible,” he said.

Cascades Recovery, Emterra, Miller Waste Systems and Ricova International were the four companies that lost the bid to Canada Fibers.

The contract would extend until July 31, 2029 with the option of five one-year extensions. No new funding is required, city staff said.

There is wiggle room built into the agreement, said Mayes. For example, if in a year or two the city wants to start recycling plastic grocery bags, they can amend the contract to include that.

“We’re not locked into a factory here that can’t do that. We have to have some flexibility,” he said.

While collection is handled by separate companies, Canada Fibers would be responsible for processing and sorting, as well as marketing and shipping waste to potential buyers. If Canada Fibers is awarded the contract, it would begin in September next year, after the city’s current contract with Emterra expires.

In January Emterra, which has handled the city’s recycling sorting and shipping since 2002, said it would need $1.5 million more over two years to continue sending recycling to China, after the country began banning 24 types of solid waste.

Canada Fibers already processes recycling in 14 communities in Ontario, including Toronto. The company says it handles 60 per cent of the province’s blue-bin waste.