A look ahead at proposed changes to The Woodlands solid waste services

By: Brynn Rader, Woodlands Online
| Published 05/31/2019

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THE WOODLANDS, TX -- The May 22 Board of Directors Regular Meeting included a presentation from the consulting firm, Solid Waste Specialists, informing the community of their findings regarding our environmental services. With Waste Management’s current contract expiring on February 1, 2020, changes could be expected for residents of The Woodlands.
Solid Waste Specialists was chosen to review The Woodlands Solid Waste and Recycling services back in 2018. They performed an extensive review, orchestrated a bidding process, and examined the submitted bids carefully. The presentation included details along with their recommendation.

“This is a Cadillac system,” the representative of Solid Waste Specialists said, speaking highly of the quality and level of our environmental system. According to the consulting firm, very few communities in the state of Texas have operations in place as encompassing as The Woodlands does. The representative stated that we “have a taxing collection system that demands a lot.” As a result, we have a very clean community.

For the past 23 years, Waste Management has maintained our community cleanliness. In August 2018, initial negotiations to renew the contract with Waste Management failed to produce desired results. Solid Waste Specialists stepped in to take over a thorough review and oversee the bidding process.

The township opened the window for placing bids in January 2019 with the stated desire to continue the existing service levels and possibly some optional service enhancements. The Solid Waste Specialist representative stated it was unusual that out of the nine firms which attended the pre-bid meeting, only three firms submitted bids. The process and required paperwork for submission were extensive, but other factors came into play. Purchasing new equipment to facilitate collection services made the task cost prohibitive for some companies.

Here is an abbreviated look at the three companies who submitted bids and how it may look for residents.

- Waste Pro, based out of Florida: the highest of the three bids came in at $25.40 per household.
- Santek, based out of Tennessee: the lowest of the three bids came in at $12.89 per household.
- Waste Management, serving Texas since 1966: came in at $14.51 per household.

After some investigation and considering all details, Solid Waste Specialists recommended The Woodlands Township award Waste Management the bid. The representative stated Waste Management’s national focus, to push for more diversion, aligns with the position of The Woodlands.

A slide during the presentation stated the recommendation: “Based on a thorough review of the bid documents, it is the recommendation of Solid Waste Specialists to negotiate a new agreement with the current vendor, Waste Management, based on community standards and specifications outlined in the bid documents.”

The Board of Directors moved to negotiate with Waste Management with the stated goal of contracting the price at $14.15 per household; a rate quoted by Waste Management in 2018 before the bidding process began.

The Woodlands Township is currently in the process of negotiations and finalizing matters. It is a weighty decision affecting the community since the recommended company has given a cost estimate increasing environmental service prices for residents by approximately 40 percent.

This information is provided as a courtesy to the community, keeping residents up-to-date on this issue. New arrangements will not take effect until next year. If you would like to listen to the presentation given at the Board of Directors meeting, click here to watch the video.

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