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

Tell us what you think

Ask a question or leave your comment below letting us know your thoughts on a citywide contract for curbside trash and recycling.

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    Having the city make the decision on which trash hauler to use is a terrible idea, The city managers have their own personal agendas, especially about the environment, and have a record of making bad decisions. Witness the paper bag debacle at the grocery stores where grocery bags now rip and are overloaded to minimize cost. Allowing the city to contract for curbside trash is an invasion of individual freedom.

    krhartmann asked 4 months ago

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on trash contracting. City Council has directed staff to explore the topic of trash contracting in our community. The first portion of the project focused on gathering input from the community on their priorities and concerns in considering a communitywide contract and what they look for or value most in their trash and recycling hauler. The second portion of the project focused on more specific elements that might be included in a request for proposals (RFP) and how our community prioritized the various elements. Your comments were captured and shared with City Council at the July 12 work session. On July 19, Council will vote on a resolution to move from an open market system with licensing to a contracted system. Council’s meeting on Tuesday will include an opportunity for members of the public to comment on the proposal virtually or in person. If you don’t want to comment at the meeting, email your thoughts to cityleaders@fcgov.com or continue to share them on our engagement platform at ourcity.fcgov.com/contract-for-trash

    If you are interested in sharing your current trash bill information to help city staff further understand the variation in pricing throughout the city, please fill out this form.

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    I just want to voice my opinion here and say NO to this idea. I like freedom of choice and don't want you to have any input over the trash company we use. Small government is what we need. You all need to opt out ! Thanks

    Melinda asked 4 months ago

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on trash contracting. City Council has directed staff to explore the topic of trash contracting in our community. The first portion of the project focused on gathering input from the community on their priorities and concerns in considering a communitywide contract and what they look for or value most in their trash and recycling hauler. The second portion of the project focused on more specific elements that might be included in a request for proposals (RFP) and how our community prioritized the various elements. Your comments were captured and shared with City Council at the July 12 work session. On July 19, Council will vote on a resolution to move from an open market system with licensing to a contracted system. Council’s meeting on Tuesday will include an opportunity for members of the public to comment on the proposal virtually or in person. If you don’t want to comment at the meeting, email your thoughts to cityleaders@fcgov.com or continue to share them on our engagement platform at ourcity.fcgov.com/contract-for-trash

    If you are interested in sharing your current trash bill information to help city staff further understand the variation in pricing throughout the city, please fill out this form.

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    Please leave trash collection to free enterprise. It is not local governments job to provide every service. People deserve freedom of choice. Trash collection businesses provide vital local employment opportunities. I will always vote for smaller government and more freedom of choice for individuals and businesses. I vote NO on Fort Collins government takeover of trash collection services.

    Charyl asked 4 months ago

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on trash contracting. City Council has directed staff to explore the topic of trash contracting in our community. The first portion of the project focused on gathering input from the community on their priorities and concerns in considering a communitywide contract and what they look for or value most in their trash and recycling hauler. The second portion of the project focused on more specific elements that might be included in a request for proposals (RFP) and how our community prioritized the various elements. Your comments were captured and shared with City Council at the July 12 work session. On July 19, Council will vote on a resolution to move from an open market system with licensing to a contracted system. Council’s meeting on Tuesday will include an opportunity for members of the public to comment on the proposal virtually or in person. If you don’t want to comment at the meeting, email your thoughts to cityleaders@fcgov.com or continue to share them on our engagement platform at ourcity.fcgov.com/contract-for-trash

    If you are interested in sharing your current trash bill information to help city staff further understand the variation in pricing throughout the city, please fill out this form.

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    We already have a similar system through our neighborhood HOA. I can't imagine doing it any other way!

    JGerek asked 4 months ago

    Council supports staff recommendations not to include communities with HOAs that meet the Pay-As-You-Throw Ordinance requirements.

    If you are interested in sharing your current trash bill information to help city staff further understand the variation in pricing throughout the city, please fill out this form.

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    Pleas stay out of the trash business. Government entities always give the best case senario regarding costs. The city cable service being a perfect example. We were sold on lower cost and increased bandwidth. Why is that service more expensive than any of the existing providers?

    michaelslinley asked 4 months ago

    Peer Communities that have implemented contracted systems have found the pricing to be stable and uniform for all households with generally lower costs due to increased efficiencies achieved by one hauler. While we will not know what costs will be for each household until we have gone through the competitive bid process, a contract would allow the City more control over the amount and frequency of price increases. We are gathering information from our community to understand what prices they are currently paying, if variability in pricing currently exists in Fort Collins and to what extent. If you are interested in sharing your current trash bill information to help city staff further understand the variation in pricing throughout the city, please fill out this form.

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    Good morning. I do not support a single contract for the entire city but do support a multi-district, multi-contract approach that leverages the existing capacity of locally based companies. this basically makes the collection process for everyone more efficient and will reduce churn in local operations (in case a current trash hauler loses out on all contract bids). This process will avoid losing out to providers from the Denver area who's drivers and trucks will have to commute to FC to provide services. That being said, it opens up competition to nearby providers from Greeley/Loveland. While not active in the industry, I used to work on solid waste issues in the 1990s in Washington DC and multi-district bidding is considered one of the most efficient approaches to waste collection (outside of a well run municipal operated system). Thanks

    Peter Eberle asked 4 months ago

    One goal of moving to a contracted system would be to bring consistent, uniform pricing to all Fort Collins residents. In a districted model, different contracts would have different pricing. That would mean everyone in the same district would have the same pricing, but not that everyone in the City under a contract would have the same pricing. A decision about one or more districts has not yet been made. 

    At the July 12 work session, City staff formally recommended not having multiple districts but moving forward with a one-district contracted system model. City staff and Council agree that the benefits of moving to a contracted system are diluted in the multiple-district model.

    If you are interested in sharing your current trash bill information to help city staff further understand the variation in pricing throughout the city, please fill out this form.

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    The city should create a waste utility rather than this complicated and likely to be ineffective "district" plan. One household opting out means the benefits are negated.

    Michelle asked 4 months ago

    At the July 12 work session, City staff formally recommended not having multiple districts but moving forward with a one-district contracted system model. City staff and Council agree that the benefits of moving to a contracted system are diluted in the multiple-district model.

    A City-run utility is not being explored at this time.

    If you are interested in sharing your current trash bill information to help city staff further understand the variation in pricing throughout the city, please fill out this form.

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    I support a contracted system with weekly pickup of both trash and recycling. My current HOA contract picks up trash weekly and recycling every other week. This discourages recycling; we often have too much recycling after two weeks to fit in the bin. I take it to Timberline, but I expect that others put recyclables in the trash.

    Michele Thomas asked 4 months ago

    We have heard from others in the community that they would also like weekly recycling pickup. City staff has recommended that the Request for Proposal (RFP) include pricing estimates for both every-other-week and weekly recycling. Recycling collection frequency is just one factor in many that will be decided upon later in the process should we move forward with a contracted system. We encourage you to follow the project on our Our City page for more updates on this and more in the future.

    If you are interested in sharing your current trash bill information to help city staff further understand the variation in pricing throughout the city, please fill out this form.

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    I live in a neighborhood where all homes use the same trash hauler. This trash hauler does an excellent job. This is managed through my HOA. Will this change if City decides to implement a citywide contract?

    Stunned asked 4 months ago

    Council supports staff recommendations not to include communities with HOAs that meet the Pay-As-You-Throw Ordinance requirements.

    If you are interested in sharing your current trash bill information to help city staff further understand the variation in pricing throughout the city, please fill out this form.

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    We previously lived in Southern Oregon where the trash service is by franchise agreement with the cities. The service we received was better, including the operation of the recycle collection and transfer center (which was is pristine shape) and the trucks were newer, better maintained, and better equiped; better system in my opinion.

    Linda asked 4 months ago

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on trash contracting. 

    If you are interested in sharing your current trash bill information to help city staff further understand the variation in pricing throughout the city, please fill out this form.

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