Pratt Industries, one of the largest industries in Rockdale, has been selected for the trash collection and recycling contract with the city of Conyers, representing an investment of about $13 million in new facilities and about 50 new local jobs.
The city bid out its trash collection and recycling services, which is currently mandatory for all city residents and used by many businesses, after facing rising costs for equipment and fuel. The city has about 3,300 residential accounts and 269 commercial accounts.
The city has been operating its sanitation services at a loss of about $150,000 a year for some time.
City Manager Tony Lucas said the decision was made last week, although parts of the agreement are still being negotiated, after Pratt and two other finalists, Waste Management and Advanced Disposal, made presentations at the city council retreat.
“There were so many positives about Pratt,” said Lucas. “Not only were they bidding on elements of the original contract, but they were building the MRF (materials recycling facility), not only a transfer station. A system that totally segregates anything. It segregates it in the categories it needs for utilization.”
“That’s a $13 million investment on their part. And 50 new jobs.”
Pratt, which has a facility for paper recycling, box making, and gassification/energy plant located off Sigman Road near Ga. Highway 138, told the city it would be able to reduce the solid waste by 80 percent through recycling and using materials for energy at its gassification plant. Only 20 percent of the waste collected would go to landfills, said Lucas.
“We were facing either having to go up on our rates, residential as well as commercial, because it was getting more expensive,” Lucas said. In addition to increased fuel costs and landfill costs, the city was looking at having to buy new equipment and dump trucks. “We were going to have to go up probably significantly.”
The contract with Pratt would lock in residential rates to the current price of $20 a month for the next 10 years.
The city would continue pickup of limbs, leaves, and other items left on the curb.
Pratt does not own its own landfill but has agreements with two or three landfills and was required to demonstrate a 25 year capacity.
It employs about 400 people at its 114 acre Conyers campus, built in 1995. The Conyers millugator – the term for the combined paper mill, corrugator and box making plant – recycles more than 1,000 tons of paper daily, according to Pratt spokesperson Michael Oregan in a previous interview.
Pratt, a US branch of the Australian-based Visy Industries, also has two other recycled paper millugators – one in Staten Island, New York and the latest built in 2009 in Shreveport, La. – along with more than 50 box plants throughout the country.
It reportedly also performs waste collection and recycling in Lousiana but this would be the first such operation in Georgia.
The company came to the US in the 1980s with a mill in Macon and soon made the jump to recycled paper after recycled paper boxes were allowed to be used on train shipping systems, said Oregan.