Humboldt Recycling Contract Moves To Front Burner

December, 2014

nid%3D3246%7Ctitle%3D%7Cdesc%3D%7Clink%3DnonePress Release: December 17, 2014

The Humboldt Waste Management Authority’s recycling contract signed in 2011 with Solid Waste of Willits, the out-of-area company that beat out the now defunct Arcata Community Recycling Center for the contract, expires in 2016.  The HWMA has initiated a Request For Proposals (RFP) process to culminate in a final RFP release approximately July 2015 and a contract award in the fall 2015.  The RFP will be written in-house by HWMA with input from:

  • Assigned staff from all member governments,
  • a Recycling RFP Evaluation Subcommittee comprised of two HWMA staff and at least two member agency staff, and
  • the public.

The contract will likely have a minimum 7 - 10 year term to stabilize costs to the consumer and allow for investment of capital in local processing equipment required to meet RFP specifications for environmental and operational efficiency.

It is imperative that HWMA gets this right.

Zero Waste Humboldt is pleased to report that so far the HWMA has demonstrated a commitment to preparing an RFP intended to optimize both participation of member agencies in an MOU with HWMA and flow control over as large a volume of recyclable materials as possible. (HWMA member governments are the cities of Blue Lake, Arcata, Eureka, Rio Dell and Ferndale plus Humboldt County.)

Development of the RFP will be guided by goals and policies of HWMA's 2012 ten year strategic plan that support a regional coordinated approach, local processing, and robust public education outreach.  Achieving effective economy of scale and an emphasis on local value-added recycling translates into local manufacturing business development of companies like Fire and Light.  Local processing supports local jobs.  Environmentally sustainable practices and an emphasis on the highest and best use of locally collected materials for recycling must be a key feature.

In 2011, Humboldt County residents were asleep at the wheel when the previous RFP process was initiated. This time, we know what is at stake.  HWMA staff is beginning to assemble a preliminary working draft prior to the involvement of the Subcommittee and member agencies.  At the February 12, 2015 HWMA Board Meeting the Executive Director will deliver a Preliminary Draft of Recycling RFP and a Draft MOU and Evaluation and ranking system.   



Be aware that your input will be most effective if received by mid-January 2015.  ZWH encourages the public to inform the HWMA Executive Director of what they want in the way of the operation and services provided by the company that submits the winning proposal and is awarded the contract. 

ZWH has already provided comment to the HWMA in the form of a compilation of desirable Proposal evaluation criteria and a list of expectations that we believe the chosen contractor should meet. Citizens who wish to comment are encouraged to focus on criteria for HWMA to apply to evaluate proposals.  Readers are invited to use our evaluation criteria compilation and expectations list as a starting point for their comments.  If you prefer, simply tell the HWMA Executive Director you support ZWH’s November 29, 2014 ”Expectations” List (below) and all criteria in the November 29, 2014 “Criteria” Compilation. 

Email your comments to HWMA Executive Director Jill Duffy at
Subject heading: Draft HWMA Recycling RFP / Evaluation Criteria.

A convenient comment form can also be found on the
Zero Waste Humboldt website.
and scroll to the bottom for the form.

Process steps and timelines are described in our summary of public comment opportunities, also on the ZWH website.


Help us persuade HWMA to set the bar high. 

Tell HWMA you want the contractor awarded the recycling contract to:


Minimize contamination levels of recyclables (especially paper/fiber) resulting in higher-valued recyclables.


Minimize residuals post-sorting (resulting in less waste to landfill).


Maximize categories of items separated or processed as recyclables.


Maximize values of recyclables processed.


Use best practices to increase percentage and tonnage of recyclables in waste stream.


Minimize its carbon footprint through transportation and operational efficiencies.


Set a minimum fixed level for payment/ton to HWMA and maximize revenue sharing as a percentage of recyclable sales.


Emphasize local/regional/in-state marketing when cost-effective and markets available to support local/US businesses and decrease natural resource extraction.


Agree to modify the contract to respond to changes in laws and regulations, improve technology and operational efficiencies, and reduce waste on a cost-only basis.


Agree to allow diversion of recyclables deposited at facility to local/regional manufacturing and reuse businesses at cost or at reasonable/preferred rates (e.g., minus processing/export costs).


Maintain operations consistent with HWMA strategic plan goals and strategies, and work with HWMA/member agencies to plan how to reach those goals/implement those strategies.


Agree to work in public/private partnership with local non-profits and governments to promote waste reduction and improve efficiencies through public and commercial education .


Operate efficiently to control costs while providing living wages and safe working conditions to employees/contractors.


Maximize use of local employees/contractors by processing materials at a local facility.


Provide operational and sales data as specified in HWMA contract and as needed to permit transparency for contract oversight and monitoring purposes.



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