Rizzo and Advanced Disposal to divvy up Detroit collection

Rizzo and Advanced Disposal to divvy up Detroit collection

By Bobby Elliott, Resource Recycling

Nov. 20, 2013

The City of Detroit has tapped two private waste management companies to take over residential trash and recycling services.

Selected from 10 bids submitted in September, Detroit-area Rizzo Environmental Services and East Florida-based Advanced Disposal will divvy up trash and recycling duties for five years starting May 1, 2014. According to city spokesman Bill Nowling, the city anticipates saving $6 million per year by privatizing services, falling short of a June estimate of as much as $15 million in savings. Negotiations between the city and Rizzo Environmental and Advanced Disposal have yet to be completed.

Approximately 125 city garbage truck drivers could be left without work due to the decision, though both Rizzo Environmental and Advanced Disposal have vowed to consider qualified former city employees for the new positions. According to the Detroit Free Press, both companies have agreed to offer between $17 and $18 in hourly wages and Rizzo's director of government affairs and public relations Joseph Munem explained to Resource Recycling the company would like to hire from the existing workforce.

"We intend to consider qualified applicants from the existing workforce and we will, of course, give preference to them," Munem said. "Once final negotiations are set, I am certain that finding a way to work through this will be part of those negotiations."

At press time, Advanced Disposal had yet to respond to requests for comment on how the company plans to engage city waste management employees.

Detroit will meet with union organizations to discuss the decision and its impact on city workers. The City has stated that no union group entered a bid to retain services under a reworked deal.

The City decided to privatize trash and recycling services after emergency manager Kevyn Orr, a former bankruptcy lawyer, assessed the city was spending $50 million annually on trash and recycling services. By saving an estimated $6 million per year through the new framework, Detroit's costs would fall to $44 million per year, assuming negotiations go as planned.

The Greater Detroit Resource Recovery Authority will continue to oversee services until May 1, 2014.

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