A Multi-Municipal Initiative: RFP and P&E Development

The Renfrew County Multi-Municipality Waste Group (“Group”) through CIF project 956 obtained technical RFP support, and financial assistance to develop promotion and education (P&E) materials. The Group aimed to develop a joint waste management procurement document between to standardize recycling and waste management contracts and improve access to recycling program for multi-residential buildings.

The Group is made up of Town of Arnprior, Town of Renfrew, Township of Horton, and Township of McNab/Braeside, and are located in the Ottawa Valley, northwest of Ottawa. Before applying for a CIF grant, each municipality individually tendered and contracted for recycling and waste collection.

Goal of Harmonized and Improved Collection

The goal of the joint tender was to enable more contractors to bid on the tender than if each individual municipality tendered independently and to thus increase competition and potentially reduce operating costs.

With four municipalities working together, there was also potential to optimize collection schedules. The ability to pair recycling and garbage collection into a single day, or even a single collection truck offered a further convenience and potential cost savings for taxpayers. At the time of the initial consultation between the CIF and the group, all four municipalities’ garbage and recycling contracts were becoming due shortly, making this an ideal time to begin discussions about the potential of a joint program.

The group also intended to update P&E materials. The Towns of Arnprior and Renfrew in particular identified that there was significant room for improvement in the collection services available to multi-residential buildings. Many multi-residential buildings operators in these communities did not offer private collection services while many of their tenants had accessibility issues that limited their abilities to use the curbside Blue Box collection service. In line with collection program improvement, the partners purchased new carts and provided P&E materials, such as labels and oops stickers, developed specifically for outside of each container. 

Project Outcomes

By trying to issue a joint contract, the group attempted to take advantage of economies of scale for better pricing. However, the timelines afforded to bidders was tight and ultimately, the short timeline to contract start date may have impacted the advantage of scale. It was much easier for a service provider to submit a proposal to service one municipality with one or two trucks than obtaining several trucks to service the entire group.

Despite this, all four municipalities have entered into recycling and waste management contracts through a tendering process. Two of the four municipalities found success in their original bids through the joint-tender documents, while the other two municipalities released supplementary, individual tenders which the RFP permitted for flexibility purposes.

Each of the four also sought to enhance access to P&E materials, and Arnprior and Renfrew purchased and implemented multi-residential totes for recycling collection at larger residential buildings. In addition to providing totes, the two municipalities also added stickers to outline what materials should be placed in each bin.

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Project Reflection

Overall, the group recognizes this experience as beneficial through the development of relationships between neighbouring municipalities. The process created communication channels that may not have otherwise existed. Additionally, working together in a large group as such allowed for multiple different prospective and opinions. Questions and comments were brought up that may not have been discussed if each municipality worked on their own.

“According to our recycling contractor, they are very happy with the OOPs stickers. They expressed belief that the stickers are improving the overall quality of collected recyclables in Arnprior”. Erin Williams, Acting Environmental Engineering Officer, Town of Arnprior

A few challenges along the way

As with every project, there were a few challenges. Working in a group of four municipalities, it was often difficult to coordinate the schedules of all parties. Further, not all municipalities benefitted from the joint tendered contract; two out of four received lower bid prices when tendering individually versus within the group.

In addition to several positive outcomes

Ryan Frew, Director of Public Works at the Township of McNab/Braeside highlights the benefits in his comment that “as a member of the group involved in this joint procurement initiative it is clear that the support from the CIF in the preparation of the tender document was invaluable. As a group of small municipalities with limited staff resources, CIF provided the knowledge and templates needed for us to achieve our goal of producing a joint waste/recycling tender within a short timeframe. Even though the outcome of the tender did not result in combined contracts for all our municipalities or harmonization of our schedules the overall process really was as a success. I believe that we received greater interest and exposure to more contractors as a group offering than if we would have tendered individually. With the addition of longer timelines to any future joint procurement initiative the outcome has the potential to be an even greater success.”

For more information

View the report for CIF Project 956