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City to pay four times more for recycling through 2020

Posted at 6:38 PM, Jan 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-28 19:38:49-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — If the city wants to continue picking up residents recycling and maintain their drop off sites, they have to pay up.

Tuesday afternoon, the city council agreed to. at least until the end of the year.

FirstStar Fiber used to pay the city to take in the recyclable materials. Last year, the two sides were forced to renegotiate because FirstStar Fiber was losing money.

"The material that used to bring in considerably more money, now there are no markets for it," says Dale Gubbels, owner of FirstStar fiber.

So, last September, the city started paying almost $26 per ton, they agreed today to pay $110 per ton, equaling out to about $2 million through the end of the year.

They also agreed to pay $33 more per ton when it rains, and First Star Fiber has to deal with wet material.

"Because of our open bins and we don't have the carts in the system yet, they do require a lot of extra effort to process those wet materials, so we agreed to a higher price,” says Jim Theiler, assistant director for environmental services, Public Works Department.

Mike Bachmann with First Star Fiber said today they need that extra money.

"It does slow down our process tremendously, we're able to sort out what we can out of it, some of it does go to the landfill but we try to recover the most that we can,” says Bachman, plant manager at First Star Fiber.

This contract just covers the city of Omaha until the end of 2020. The bid process for a longer term contract will begin at some point later this year.

The council also agreed to have FCC, who recently won the trash contract, to pick up residential recycling beginning in 2021.