Contract for Trash

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Fort Collins is currently considering a contracted system for residential trash and recycling collection. On July 19, 2022, City Council passed a Resolution directing City staff to proceed with developing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a single-hauler contracted system. Staff released the RFP On September 13, 2022, and will present results from the competitive purchasing process to City Council for a final decision in early 2023.

In a contracted system, haulers compete for the chance to provide service to all single-family, duplex and small multifamily homes (with seven or fewer units) in a neighborhood. Households that want to use a different hauler can pay an opt-out fee. Communities in Colorado and across the U.S. have found that this type of system reduces the number of trucks in residential neighborhoods, makes prices more consistent, and increases opportunities for recycling and composting.


Systems for trash and recycling collection

There are four ways that cities manage trash and recycling collections for households: a pure open market, an open market with licensing, a contracted system, and with a city-owned and operated hauling utility. Local government plays an increasing role in the different types of systems with the largest role in a city-owned and operated hauling utility and no role in a pure open market system.

Fort Collins currently has an open market with licensing for trash and recycling, meaning that many households shop for and choose their own hauler, or haul their own trash and recycling. Haulers have to be licensed by the City and follow specific guidelines. For example, in Fort Collins haulers must bundle trash and recycling services in what is called a pay-as-you-throw pricing structure, meaning households pay based on the size of their trash cart. There are currently three nationally-owned haulers in Fort Collins that service single-family homes: Waste Management, Republic Services (Gallegos Sanitation), Waste Connections (Ram Waste/Timberline Waste), and one new hauler called Mountain High Disposal.


What we’ve learned

Fort Collins City Council adopted several priorities in late 2021 to reach sustainability goals, including one to explore moving to a contracted system for trash and recycling. Since then, City staff have been researching peer communities with contracted trash and recycling systems, the impact to street maintenance costs, vehicle emissions, noise and safety, our community's concerns and priorities when considering a contract, and the variance in curbside collection pricing that currently exists in Fort Collins.

From this research, staff has concluded that moving to a contracted system is the most affordable way for Fort Collins households to make progress on zero waste goals.


What's happening now

On September 13, 2022, City staff released a Request for Proposals (RFP) detailing the services Fort Collins seeks. Haulers will draft proposals based on that RFP and submit them within 6-8 weeks. A proposal assessment committee will review the proposals, select a proposal based on predetermined criteria, and negotiate with that hauler to draft a contract. Staff will then bring that draft contract to Council for review in early 2023 and request a final decision on whether to move forward with the contract. Service would expect to start 12-18 months after the contract was signed. The RFP includes:

  • More service options for yard trimmings, bulky waste, and weekly recycling collection.

  • Options for super-low generators that don’t typically have enough trash to fill the small, 32-gallon cart size.

  • An opt-out fee equivalent to the service cost of the smallest trash cart size.

  • Customer service and billing services are provided by the hauler.

  • Alley and door-to-truck services for homes that require them at no additional cost.

  • See more details in the RFP Chart: Elements for a Contracted System document.

While the RFP is the guiding document by which a contract will be developed, it does not mean that the City is guaranteed to move forward with a contract or that all elements in the RFP will end up in a contract. Before contract adoption, any changes would be shared with City Council and community members. For more on systems for trash and recycling and what a contracted system in Fort Collins might mean for you and our community, visit the Frequently Asked Questions page.



View recordings of public meetings and Council presentations


Tell us what you think

Fort Collins is currently considering a contracted system for residential trash and recycling collection. On July 19, 2022, City Council passed a Resolution directing City staff to proceed with developing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a single-hauler contracted system. Staff released the RFP On September 13, 2022, and will present results from the competitive purchasing process to City Council for a final decision in early 2023.

In a contracted system, haulers compete for the chance to provide service to all single-family, duplex and small multifamily homes (with seven or fewer units) in a neighborhood. Households that want to use a different hauler can pay an opt-out fee. Communities in Colorado and across the U.S. have found that this type of system reduces the number of trucks in residential neighborhoods, makes prices more consistent, and increases opportunities for recycling and composting.


Systems for trash and recycling collection

There are four ways that cities manage trash and recycling collections for households: a pure open market, an open market with licensing, a contracted system, and with a city-owned and operated hauling utility. Local government plays an increasing role in the different types of systems with the largest role in a city-owned and operated hauling utility and no role in a pure open market system.

Fort Collins currently has an open market with licensing for trash and recycling, meaning that many households shop for and choose their own hauler, or haul their own trash and recycling. Haulers have to be licensed by the City and follow specific guidelines. For example, in Fort Collins haulers must bundle trash and recycling services in what is called a pay-as-you-throw pricing structure, meaning households pay based on the size of their trash cart. There are currently three nationally-owned haulers in Fort Collins that service single-family homes: Waste Management, Republic Services (Gallegos Sanitation), Waste Connections (Ram Waste/Timberline Waste), and one new hauler called Mountain High Disposal.


What we’ve learned

Fort Collins City Council adopted several priorities in late 2021 to reach sustainability goals, including one to explore moving to a contracted system for trash and recycling. Since then, City staff have been researching peer communities with contracted trash and recycling systems, the impact to street maintenance costs, vehicle emissions, noise and safety, our community's concerns and priorities when considering a contract, and the variance in curbside collection pricing that currently exists in Fort Collins.

From this research, staff has concluded that moving to a contracted system is the most affordable way for Fort Collins households to make progress on zero waste goals.


What's happening now

On September 13, 2022, City staff released a Request for Proposals (RFP) detailing the services Fort Collins seeks. Haulers will draft proposals based on that RFP and submit them within 6-8 weeks. A proposal assessment committee will review the proposals, select a proposal based on predetermined criteria, and negotiate with that hauler to draft a contract. Staff will then bring that draft contract to Council for review in early 2023 and request a final decision on whether to move forward with the contract. Service would expect to start 12-18 months after the contract was signed. The RFP includes:

  • More service options for yard trimmings, bulky waste, and weekly recycling collection.

  • Options for super-low generators that don’t typically have enough trash to fill the small, 32-gallon cart size.

  • An opt-out fee equivalent to the service cost of the smallest trash cart size.

  • Customer service and billing services are provided by the hauler.

  • Alley and door-to-truck services for homes that require them at no additional cost.

  • See more details in the RFP Chart: Elements for a Contracted System document.

While the RFP is the guiding document by which a contract will be developed, it does not mean that the City is guaranteed to move forward with a contract or that all elements in the RFP will end up in a contract. Before contract adoption, any changes would be shared with City Council and community members. For more on systems for trash and recycling and what a contracted system in Fort Collins might mean for you and our community, visit the Frequently Asked Questions page.



View recordings of public meetings and Council presentations


Tell us what you think

  • In open market trash and recycling systems (like Fort Collins’ current system), those living in the same city, neighborhood, and even right next door can be paying drastically different amounts for the same trash services, even when they have the same hauler.  We have gathered some information but want to understand the range of amounts our community members are currently paying for their trash services. This information will help us determine the baseline costs of current trash and recycling services as we move forward in the contracting process. To support this, please consider sharing your trash bill information with us through this survey or by sending a copy of your bill to recycling@fcgov.com. If you prefer to remain anonymous, please feel free to black out your name and any contact information, but please leave your address visible as that is essential to understanding how pricing may vary by location or neighborhood. Your personal information will not be shared publicly – only aggregate information will be shared.

    If you've already shared your bill, reach out to your family, friends, and neighbors and ask them to do the same! The more information we have, the better we understand the changes our community will see moving forward with a contract. 

    Note: The proposed contract only applies to single-family and small multi-unit buildings with seven or fewer units in Fort Collins. 

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Page last updated: 03 Oct 2022, 02:25 PM