SHREVEPORT, La. – The future of recycling in the city of Shreveport is in question as the facility that processes the material disposed by customers is about to close its doors.
Pratt Industries told its employees earlier this month that the recycling facility is closing effective Oct. 9. Last day for employees is Oct. 19.
The city’s contract with Republic, the company that collects the recyclables, ends on Oct. 9.
The city of Shreveport started advertising Tuesday for interested vendors to take over recycling. The deadline to submit the requests for proposal is 3 p.m. Oct. 13, according to Chief Administrative Officer Henry Whitehorn.
“We are hopeful that we will find a vendor based upon the RFP. Otherwise, recyclables will be sent to Woolworth Road Landfill until we acquire another contract,” Whitehorn said in an email to KTBS.
KTBS contacted Pratt Industries, located at the Caddo-Bossier Port, on Sept. 2 seeking information about the company’s departure. Questions were referred to the corporate office, which has not responded to multiple phone calls and emails.
Republic’s media relations team sent the following statement Friday:
"It is unfair for the residents of Shreveport that the local recycling program is at risk of ending. As the collector and hauler of local recyclables, we’ve seen firsthand how much residents care about recycling. This community’s recycling center has decided to close, which means Shreveport’s curbside recycling program will end on October 9 as there are no viable processing alternatives in the area. Nevertheless, our commitment to Shreveport remains strong. We’re proud of our long history of service and involvement in Shreveport, and we remain optimistic that this community’s best days are still ahead.”
Recycling has had its ups and downs in Shreveport.
About 61,000 customers pay $2.50 each month to have recyclables picked up in the city-provided trash bins every other week. The city paid Republic Services about $2 million annually.
In January, the city of Shreveport proposed a new contract with Pratt and BFI Waste Services. Not only did it address recycling, but also sludge disposal at the landfill. Pratt sought reduced sludge disposal and recycling fees.
Pratt sought the new contract after ending a prior agreement with the city in October 2017. City officials said the city's budget and Republic's financials were impacted with Pratt disposing sludge at another location that was more cost effective to them.
After that, the city contracted with Republic to transport recyclables to Pratt. But that also became a costly endeavor with Republic paying a $50 tipping fee per ton to Pratt.
The revised contract proposed in January by the Perkins administration called for Pratt to reduce the tipping fee to $25, with Republic billing Pratt $19 per ton for landfill disposal fees for non-recyclables that should have been discarded as waste. Months later, the contract was pulled for consideration.
Last year, Pratt disclosed it was sending a lot of the collected recyclables to the Mundy Landfill in DeSoto Parish.
Recycling woes are also being felt in other areas of the ArkLaTex.
Waste Management announced it will temporarily dispose of curbside recyclables in its New Boston, Texas, landfill after Caraustar Industries – the company that has been accepting single-stream recycles collected by Waste Management in Texarkana -- said it will no longer accept unsorted recyclables at its Shreveport facility. Waste Management said it has no other place to sell them according to a news release.
The company’s cardboard recycling program is not affected. It is working with Texas officials to find a solution that allows the company to continue curbside recycling services.