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Norwalk to extend current waste contracts, saving changes for the future

Waste collection and curbside recycling are two of Norwalk’s four contracted waste-management services. (NoN file photo)

The Public Works Committee of the Common Council recommended Tuesday that Norwalk extend its current contracts for waste management services, while city staff finalizes an overall waste-management strategic plan. 

The committee voted Tuesday to recommend extending the four contracts with Win-Waste Management (formerly City Carting) to handle the city’s waste and recycling needs. The contracts are:

  • Solid waste collection: $2,220,750
  • Curbside recycling collection: $1,572,480 
  • Transfer Station operations, transport, and disposal services: $919,800 with a disposal fee of $101.85 per ton
  • Disposal of yard waste materials: $275,000

The contract extensions will now go to Common Council for final approval.

Vanessa Valadares, the city’s chief of Operations and Public Works, said extensions of the current contracts would be the last proposed by her department. The extensions, she said, will allow her team to finish writing the draft requests for proposals (RFPs for the city’s new waste management plan.

Valadares said the draft RFPs would be presented to the committee next month.

“We want all the Common Council members to be very comfortable with the bid, so you guys are also on board with … the process,” she said. 

Council member Nora Niedzielski-Eichner said that she would rather see the draft RFPs sooner than later.

“It’s very important that this committee have some input into that—we have a lot of thoughts about priorities,” she said. “I think there’s a lot of enormous, overlapping, and intersecting issues. We want to be able to look at this in the full picture.” 

She said they had a committee helping make some decisions with regard to the bids, including members of Norwalk’s Zero Waste Coalition, a local environmental group that aims to reduce waste in the city

However, Diane Lauricella, a local environmental activist who leads the coalition and has been asking the city to revisit its waste management and recycling practices, said  she believed the city was “jumping ahead before we have a very good understanding of our waste streams.”

“Each one of [the contracts] has not been optimized where we can have a sustainable program—not only talking about environmental, but sustainable financially,” she said.

Lauricella said she believed we’re “in a waste crisis in the state as well as in Norwalk.”

She specifically asked what the city was getting under the contract about recycling, noting that “cardboard and metal are hot right now.”

“The recycle market changed a lot in the last few years,” Valadares said. “It used to be a source of revenue.”

Now, she said, they get back 80% of whatever the commodity’s value is on the market. In January, the city brought in $32,000 from its recycling, according to Valadares. 

The issue of treating yard waste was also raised, something that Niedzielski-Eichner said she was concerned about. 

“I really was hoping to see this in the waste management plan,” she said, adding that she wanted to discuss how the city might “convert our yard waste into compost.”

She said achieving that would help the city be more sustainable and resourceful, adding that composting yard waste is easier than composting food. Valadares said her department was working to achieve the mayor’s goal of making the city “the greenest in Connecticut.” But currently. she noted, Norwalk doesn’t have a spot for this type of composting.

Comments

3 responses to “Norwalk to extend current waste contracts, saving changes for the future”

  1. Bryan Meek

    What, no discussion about re-locating the scrap yard? They missed an opportunity to double the cost of our contract and blame it on the reval here like all the other smart spending. You know like $80 million for a school across the street and another $54 million for 40 apartments next door. They could make it a tax free mall like the one we have that is mysteriously worth half of what it cost to build now. The fruit keeps falling.

  2. John O’Neill

    1) Since City Carting took over for the city there service has been top notch. The Transfer Station employees are polite and helpful. I probably use the transfer station 10-12 times per year for odd jobs. Our garbage/recycling collection is always timely and smooth. We’re a Monday pickup. These guys even work most
    holidays. Maybe City Hall can learn a thing or two about efficiencies from City Carting.
    2) Why fix something that’s not broken? The fact that some of these committee members are looking for change is irritating to say the least. Yes, there needs to be oversight. BUT, maybe take a survey of customers before fixing something that doesn’t need fixing. Holy Cow ! –
    3) IF some of those quoted above think they have a better idea I say go for it — Try opening your own Recycling business and compete in the real world . Prove it and keep the profits for your family…..
    Put your own money on the line — NOT OURS!

  3. John C. Miller Jr.

    I agree @John O’Neill. Some people who fancy themselves as “activists” just love spending other people’s money.

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