Last year Waste Management hauled 45,000 tons of garbage, yard waste and recycling out of Key West.

Their municipal service waste contract is coming to an end and on May 7 the City Commission will hear proposals from WM and Advanced Disposal.

“The garbage contract is every city’s largest or second-largest expense,” said Key West Utility Manager Jay Gewin. “Advanced Disposal and Waste Management placed bids ranging from $5.3 million to $8.1 million for four different bid options,”

The bids options provide for an extra day of trash collection (for a total of two trash days), plus the current recycle collection (once a week) and yard waste collection (once a week). An extra trash day most likely won’t happen, according to Gewin.

“By having one garbage day there is more of an incentive to recycle. People look at what they are throwing away,” he said. Another plus is fewer collections eases traffic and parking issues. “Having only one day of garbage collection discourages bins on streets.”

The bids also differ on whether the city continues to operate the transfer station on Rockland Key or whether it is turned over to the waste contractor to operate. If the station is privately operated, Advanced will charge $7,345,572.90 and Waste Management will charge $6,737,494.80.

If the city continues to operate the transfer station (which Gewin recommends) Waste Management will charge $5,884,030.80 and Advanced Disposal will charge $5,376,516.90. The facility is used as a staging point where recyclables, yard waste and trash await transfer to the mainland for processing.

Currently 60 percent of waste is from commercial businesses, not including construction or demolition. The bid awardee will also receive incentives if municipal recycling increases.

“When a business sets up recycling they often don’t understand the cost that cans, bottles, paper and plastics have when they are in the trash. All these items can go in recycles and we won’t have to pay to haul them out.  It costs $73.51 per ton to haul out trash, but we don’t pay to haul out recycles,” said Gewin.

Gewin singled out three commercial establishments in Key West with good recycling rates — The Green Parrot, Margaritaville and Island House.

Florida has identified a 75 percent goal of all wastes of residential and businesses for recycling and getting more businesses to participate is the next step.

Key West’s coming trash services will also have new, “green” features.

“Yard waste will be mulched or composted instead of incinerated. There will be new collection trucks, new efficient commercial containers and a new system that allows us to follow garbage trucks with GPS to see if collection was missed,” said Gewin.

The commission will hear both proposals on May 7.


The city’s recycling rate went from seven to 21 percent since residents received 65-gallon recycling bins from their previous 18-gallon size.

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