Trash and recycling

FCC Environmental is set to start trash pickup in Omaha by 2021.

Omaha’s next garbage hauler is one vote by the City Council from also collecting the large-scale recycling that residents and businesses leave at five neighborhood drop-off sites around the city.

The council on Tuesday held a hearing on awarding the $312,400-a-year drop-off sites collection contract to FCC Environmental, which Public Works recommended.

Today those drop-off sites are serviced by the city’s recycling processor, Firstar Fiber. The company has complained about people dumping items not covered by the contract.

Councilman Pete Festersen told FCC that he wants the company to keep the drop-off sites cleaner than Firstar has. Firstar is fulfilling its contract, owner Dale Gubbels has said.

Festersen has expressed frustration about the drop-off site in Benson, along 75th and Corby Streets, saying it is often overrun with materials, including couches and more.

“It’s important we maintain the sites around town,” Festersen said.

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Dan Brazil, FCC’s director of collection services, told the council that the company would devote a single waste hauler’s job to keeping the recycling drop-off sites picked up and presentable.

Festersen said he might consider proposing an illegal dumping ordinance like the City of Lincoln recently adopted. That ordinance clarifies penalties for leaving items like furniture and electronics.

Jim Theiler, assistant director of Public Works, said he would research what Lincoln had done and get back to Festersen about whether Omaha already has similar language.

The Omaha sites let people leave cardboard and other recyclable materials. Recycling bulkier and riskier items often requires people to pay a business or local nonprofit.

The council expects to vote on the drop-off sites contract Jan. 28.

FCC secured the city’s 10-year, $24.2 million trash contract in August. It’s crews will start delivering new trash and recycling carts to Omaha residents in October. Pickup starts by 2021.

Brazil said FCC had already ordered a new fleet of garbage trucks and had bought land in north Omaha for its future base of operations. It’s also planning an Omaha call center.

FCC plans to hire about 100 of Waste Management’s garbage-collection employees this year, he told The World-Herald in an interview after Tuesday’s hearing. It wants drivers to know they will have a job, he said.

“We’re really excited to come to Omaha,” Brazil said. “It’s been a long journey for us and the city.”

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