Phoenix solicits proposals for plastics processing facility

Dive Brief:

  • The city of Phoenix wants to build a facility to process less commonly recycled mixed plastics, as first reported by KJZZ. The #3-7 plastics currently going to landfill would be repurposed into new products or fuel, but incineration and combustion technologies are not an option, according to Resource Recycling. In its request for proposals (RFP), the city estimates its #3-7 feedstock to be at least 521 tons per year.
  • The city’s preferred location for the facility would be at its site called the resource innovation campus (RIC), which is home to one of the city’s two transfer stations, a composting facility and the future home of a palm waste processing facility. Contracts for facilities located at the RIC would be 10 years, and proposals for other locations would be considered for five-year contracts.
  • Three companies — FGM3 Environmental, PolyFuel and Renew Phoenix — responded to the city’s RFP, which closed last week.

Dive Insight:

This plastics repurposing program would be part of the Reimagine Phoenix initiative, launched in 2013, which has the goal of a 40% waste diversion rate by 2020 and zero waste by 2050. Last year, the initiative progressed significantly as the city spearheaded efforts to enter into partnerships and launch competitions to address solid waste issues in addition to recognizing businesses that are voluntarily recycling. Its diversion rate consequently jumped to 30% last year, a 10% increase YoY.

Although the city wants to use the plastics facility for its own recycling purposes, it would allow the winning bidder to also accept feedstock from other sources, which would make the infrastructure investment more economical. However, the facility would have to accept 100% of the city’s feedstock before accepting other material.

The city’s solicitation is unique in that it seeks to create plastic processing infrastructure rather than simply contracting with a private entity’s existing facility. By indicating its preference for proposals that would locate the plastics facility at the RIC, the city would cut down on costs for transporting recovered materials to more distant processing facilities.

The city notes the desire to build the plastics processing facility partially is due to current market conditions resulting from China’s stricter import policies and tighter contamination standard. The facility would create a new domestic market for the mixed plastics, most of which are currently being sent to landfill.

SOURCE: Waste Dive