FCC Wins Giant Dallas Recyclables Contract

FCC Wins Giant Dallas Recyclables Contract

Dallas has contracted with a Spanish environmental firm, Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas (FCC), to handle all the city’s recyclables with it building and operating a recycling plant in the city, which the Spanish environmental firm said could be worth $300 million during the unit’s lifetime.

Dallas awarded the contract to Barcelona-based FCC to manage all its recyclable waste for 15 years, with the potential to extend it another 10 years, according to a news release.

FCC will have exclusive rights to the recyclable material for the life of the contract.

The company will build an automatic sorting plant with the latest sorting and classification techniques, including artificial vision, as well as optical and gravimetric sorting machines, FCC said. Material sent to the material recovery facility (MRF) will be collected single-stream.

FCC called the move “strategically significant” for the firm, as the Dallas-Fort Worth region is the fourth largest metropolitan area in the United States.

Six companies vied for the contract from Dallas’ Sanitation Services Department.

 In September FCC gained a municipal solid waste (MSW) contract for Orange County, Fla.–the first contract given to a Spanish company in the United States, FCC said. FCC previously has secured a contract for biosolids management in Houston.

FCC has operated for more than 100 years and operates more than 50 similar plants in several countries across the world.

For FCC, Mexican businessman Carlos Slim became its largest shareholder at 25.6 percent at the end of 2014. Bill Gates also holds a 5.7-percent stake in the group.

Dallas announced last month that FCC would build the MRF, to process and market up to 120,000 tons of recycling material annually.

The Dallas city council approved FCC building and operating the plant at a cost of $20 million at the McCommas Bluff Landfill. The city expects construction to begin in early 2016 and operations to start by January 2017.

The facility culminates a two-year process for Dallas to develop a long-term recycling program. It evaluated multiple recycling and resource recovery technologies to increase recycling.

Dallas’ plan is to achieve a 40-percent recycling rate by 2020 and have it increase further with time. The city decided to focus on single-stream recycling, as opposed to mixed waste processing, gasification or anaerobic digestion, because it saw the opportunity to increase recovery rates from the existing single-stream program.

Dallas has struggled to improve its recycling rate. In May it was sued over its single-use carryout bag restriction.

And in 2013 the city settled in a long-standing flow control case, allowing haulers in the area to dispose of waste where they choose. Dallas in September 2011 passed an ordinance that all waste collected inside its borders go to the city’s McCommas Bluff Landfill. The settlement made permanent a court injunction against the ordinance issued in October 2012.

Meanwhile, both the private and public sector struggle with how the drop in commodity prices have put pressure on both to make the recycling business more economical.

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