San Antonio will begin soliciting a new recycling contract this year, with City officials warning of cost increases on the horizon. The City’s current deal with Republic Services runs through July 2024. The Phoenix-based giant in the North American solid waste industry acquired ReCommunity, the original contractor, in 2017 and took over the agreement that began in August 2014.

At Republic’s processing center at 1949 Hormel Dr., workers manning a fast-moving system of conveyor belts and sorting machines work to separate glass, aluminum, plastic, and cardboard to ship to buyers in surrounding states. Last year, the contract involved processing roughly 80,000 tons of residential recycling at $13 per ton, costing the City $1.1 million, Solid Waste Management Director David Newman said.

Republic was one of the four credible companies that responded to Solid Waste’s request for information last year and has expressed interest in renegotiating a contract with the City, Newman told council members in a B session briefing Wednesday. Others were Houston-headquartered Waste Management, one of Republic’s key competitors; FCC Environmental Services, a U.K.-based subsidiary of a Spanish construction firm; and Balcones Resources, an Austin processor with five other locations in Texas, Arkansas, and Florida.

Recycling costs are likely going up no matter who gets the contract. San Antonio’s contract dates to before 2017, when China’s policy shift on recyclables upended the global markets for reused paper, plastic, and glass, among other commodities.

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