Brentwood recycling not being recycled, there’s no contract: Republic Services and source

According to an anonymous call to 40 South News on Jan. 30, Brentwood has been dumping the city’s recycling into landfill since December 2018. Republic Services has said it doesn’t provide recycling service to Brentwood and has not yet signed a recycling contract with the city.

The caller, who would only be identified as a Brentwood city employee, said, “They’re dumping probably 20 tons a week in the landfill and the residents don’t even know it.” The caller said the city has received monies from the state for buying recycling containers, as well as grants for trucks for recycling.

The city reported in November that it had switched its single-stream recyclables hauler from Resource Management, which had stopped accepting recyclables, to Republic Services, with no plan to raise rate for residents.

The city of Brentwood said in a statement on Feb. 26 (below) that city officials approved a temporary agreement with Republic Services on Dec. 3, 2018.

When waste processor Resource Management closed its recycling center on October 31, 2018, the City of Brentwood had to find an alternative materials recycling facility.

On December 3, 2018, Brentwood’s Board of Aldermen approved a temporary agreement with Republic Services pending approval of a formal agreement so the City can continue to offer single-stream, curbside recycling to Brentwood residents.

Republic Services will charge the City of Brentwood $115 per ton of items delivered; the City then receives back 80% of the sales of any of the items actually sold for recycling depending on the market rates.

The Brentwood Sanitation Department averages approximately 55-57 tons of recycled materials per month.

Because single-stream recycling is experiencing challenges due to increased stringent standards overseas and increasing recycling costs, we are also working to educate our residents about how to recycle responsibly. Here’s an example of information about “responsible recycling,” on the cover of our Winter 2019 newsletter

Emails from Republic Services said the company doesn’t provide recycling service or have a contract with Brentwood.

“We are the recycling provider for the cities of Maplewood and Richmond Heights, and their recycling is brought to our recycling facility in Hazelwood. We do not provide recycling service to Brentwood,” Republic Services stated on Feb. 20.

A further email (Feb. 22) said: “The city of Brentwood has been in discussions with Republic Services but has not signed a recycling contract as of yet.”

Brentwood, Maplewood and Richmond Heights were all asked how much is recycled.

  • The Brentwood Sanitation Department averages approximately 55-57 tons of recycled materials per month (as stated above).
  • Richmond Heights reported that the city averages 76 tons per month going to Republic for recycling. And that there are 4100 households in the city’s residential waste removal program.
  • Maplewood averages about 39 tons per month recycling picked up by Republic.

Republic Services also stressed the importance of keeping recycling clean: “This is extremely important. Our reminder to consumers is to keep recyclables empty, clean and dry. Leftover food or liquid in a container can ooze out and contaminate the recyclables around it, sometimes leading to an entire load being contaminated. Once recyclables are contaminated, they become trash and are sent to the landfill. We’ve set up a website to help consumers understand what and how to recycle:

11 thoughts on “Brentwood recycling not being recycled, there’s no contract: Republic Services and source

  1. Copy of the pertinent clarification discussion from the Facebook Brentwood Community Group:

    “David Dimmitt: First, contrary to what you may have read on social media, a temporary contract does exist between Republic Services and the City of Brentwood for recycling. Second, Republic Services is accepting Brentwood’s recycling. Ward 2 Alderman Brandon Wegge thoroughly explained on NextDoor the challenges faced by municipalities like Brentwood in dealing with single stream recycling.

    For those who were unable to read those posts, I’ve tried to put together the following history detailing how we got where we are today. Since about 2003, Brentwood has transported its single stream recycled materials to “Resource Management’s” recycling center in Earth City. At the August 15, 2018 Public Works Committee meeting, Staff reported that Resource Management would no longer accept single stream recycling effective 10.31.18 due to market conditions. As a result, Resource Management wasn’t the only company refusing to take single stream and Brentwood wasn’t the only municipality facing this predicament. The City had about 75 days to find alternatives.

    Staff immediately began looking for alternative locations for the residents’ single stream recyclables and reported their findings, which were preliminary, at the September Public Works meeting. At the October 10, 2018 Public Works Committee meeting, Staff reported that only Republic Services “has a MRF (Materials Recycling Facility) in St. Louis County.” Staff also reported that Republic Services submitted a contract to the City to takeover the single stream recycling.

    Waste Connections was another option but they ship their recycling to Kansas City and, more importantly, had not submitted a contract to the City. The City of St. Peters was a 3rd option but it only accepts “dual stream collection meaning that paper products are sorted separately from all other recycled materials such as glass, plastics, and metals.” Staff also contacted Kirkwood and University City, both of which reported that they were going with Republic Services.

    Unfortunately on 10.31.18 the City could no longer dispose of the recycling because Resource Management would not take it after that date and the City did not have an agreement in place with Republic Services. The Republic Services contract had to be approved by the Board of Alderman and needed to be revised by our City Attorney. Until a final contract could be agreed upon, the Board of Alderman at the December 3, 2018 meeting, approved a temporary agreement with Republic Services. Unfortunately, Republic Services did not approve of the temporary agreement until February 19, 2019. Republic Services began accepting the City’s recycling on February 21 and continues to do so.

    Please keep in mind that 1) the City didn’t have much notice that Resource Management was going to stop taking the recycling, 2) after receiving Resource Management’s notice, Staff immediately looked at alternatives for Resource Management, ultimately finding Republic Services, 3) Staff could not force Republic Services to sign or approve the temporary agreement until Republic Services was ready to do so.

    As for the “cost” question, the City employees pick up the recycling, trash and yard waste, using City-owned trucks. The residents are not billed for this.

    If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact your aldermen or alderwomen as this is probably the best way to get answers.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this.”


    “Sven White: David Dimmitt, does that mean the items the city collected in recycling containers between 10/31/18 and 2/21/19 were sent to the landfill, but going forward they are being sent to a recycling facility?”


    “David Dimmitt: Sven White, yes, that’s correct.”

    • Thanks, Sven. Good to know Republic Services began accepting Brentwood’s recycling on February 21.

  2. This really bothers me. I try to make sure I recycle everything that is recyclable. I try not to create unnecessary waste. This has to be fixed so we don’t continue to fill up the landfills

    • It has been. See the Brentwood Community FB post. Alderman Dimmit has a good explanation as to what happened.

      • Hi Mike,
        Yes, for those of us not of the Facebook body, would you provide a few details of the fix? Thanks.

  3. Oh I’m so confused, what is going on? My recycle stuff is clean, we have to keep container “in house” so don’t want dirty stuff in the container to attract who knows what! Please inform the residents what’s happening!

  4. And now that I think about it; Why are they (we) still paying for 2 pickups (trash & recycling) when 1 would accomplish the same result? If the info Doug got is correct, someone has some explaining to do.

  5. The City administration should have been up front about this and let the residents know that recycling was not being done.

  6. Used to joke about the all that stuff going straight to the landfill. Had no idea that was reality. I bet we’re heading to a much more regulated recycling regime. Six separate containers, and it all has to be hand washed and sorted. And, of course, the cities will have to hire recycling inspectors and give them their own staff, office space, and vehicles. So, in the end it’s more expensive, and detrimental to quality of life, than just going straight to the landfill.