Inside a materials recovery facility. By Nordroden/Shutterstock

The city of McKinney, Texas evaluated several proposals for recycling services, eventually settling on Balcones, which scored 94.8 points out of 100 according to the city’s criteria. | Nordroden/Shutterstock

Balcones Resources was awarded the city of McKinney, Texas’ 15-year recycling contract, which includes plans to build a facility outside city limits. 

The planned $66 million facility will cover 120,000-square-feet and open in spring 2026, according to city council documents. It will “combine the latest innovations in recycling technology with employee wellness and community engagement programs,” a Balcones press release noted. 

Adam Vehik, Balcones Resources president, said the project is “over a decade in the making.” 

“We’ve had operations in the area since the early 90s and are excited for the significant environmental and economic impact this state-of-the-art facility will bring to the North Texas community,” Vehik added. 

The facility will target recovery rates higher than 95%, as well as employee safety and quality control, the Balcones press release noted. All recycled commodities will be marketed in North America, prioritizing Texas-based customers. 

Vehik said the recycling campus “represents Balcones’ vision for material recovery.” 

“We focus on achieving the highest recovery rates possible,” he added. “We invest in equipment and infrastructure that supports community growth, and we design systems that remain flexible to adapt in the future as the recycling landscape changes.”

This facility will be Balcones’ fifth MRF in Texas. The company has had a municipal recycling contract with the city of Austin since 2012 and is set to open a facility in San Antonio, Texas in 2024. 

Contract competition

The city of McKinney was previously served by Waste Connections, which provided both trash and recycling services. Steve Tilton, McKinney assistant city manager, said at an Aug. 15 city council meeting that after issuing an RFP in 2022, city staff determined that splitting up the contract would create the best value. 

Frontier Waste Solutions and Balcones scored highest overall on the RFP’s criteria, with Frontier netting 90.2 points out of 100 and Balcones 94.8. Tilton said the city carefully evaluated each company’s history.

“We’ve had a lot of conversations with other communities that they provided service for,” Tilton said. “How were they able to transition? Where have they been able to do that successfully? Those reference checks have checked out positively.”

Frontier was awarded the city’s refuse collection contract after bidding a $14.2 million annual charge for commercial and residential collection. The contract includes three renewal options, one for eight years and two five-year extensions. 

Balcones proposed both a 7-year recycling contract for $824,000 annually and 15-year contract for $857,000 annually, winning the 15-year contract, with several options for five-year renewals. 

Services will start Oct. 1, 2024.

Waste Connections and Republic entered combined bids for both waste and recycling, with Republic bidding $20.6 million for collection and $991,000 for processing annually. Waste Connections bid $17.1 million for collection and $1.1 million for processing annually. 

Tilton said the new contracts will save the city about $3 million per year on the waste side and “greatly enhance our ability to recycle in a way that we have not been able to do before.” 

“We’ll have a 95% efficiency rating for the material that goes in there,” he said. “That is a large improvement over where we’re at now.” 

Councilwoman Gere Feltus noted that recycling “is a big concern for a lot of our constituents.” 

“Residents here are wanting to be able to recycle and know that we’re doing something good for the planet,” she said, voting in favor of both contracts. 

Councilman Justin Beller agreed, adding that the things that matter to him as a consumer are that “my service continues to be what it is for a better price and a better outcome.” 

The contracts passed unanimously, 7-0.

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