Grosse Pointe City extends recycling contract with GFL

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published July 21, 2020

GROSSE POINTE CITY — Officials in the Grosse Pointes had been hoping to present city leaders with bids from multiple recycling contractors this year, but with COVID-19 derailing those plans, they’re instead extending their recycling contract with current recycling provider GFL (Green For Life) Environmental.

The Grosse Pointe City Council voted unanimously in favor of extending their recycling contract with GFL for another 15 months during a Zoom meeting June 15. There is no increase for the first three months of that contract, and for the rest of the contract, there is a 2% increase.

City Manager Pete Dame said the recycling contract had been slated to expire at the end of June. He said Grosse Pointe Farms led the contract negotiations for a collective consisting of the City, Farms, Grosse Pointe Park, Harper Woods and Grosse Pointe Shores. Because of economic problems brought about by the pandemic, Dame said, they felt this wouldn’t be a good time to bid out the contract.

“Due to the pandemic, the recycling market remains in flux,” Dame said.

City officials feel GFL has been doing a good job.

Under the terms of the contract extension, the existing rate will remain in effect from July 1 to Sept. 30. From Oct. 1, 2020, to Sept. 30, 2021, residents will see a 2% monthly increase. Dame said that, in the City, the charge for recycling appears on residents’ water bills.

Dame confirmed for City Councilman Donald Parthum Jr. that this means the current rate, of about $7 per month, will be going up in October by about 14 cents.

GFL — formerly Rizzo Environmental Services — has been providing recycling for the City since 2009.

“I think some of us were concerned it was going to be a (higher increase),” City Councilman John Stempfle said. “Two percent is very reasonable.”

Dame echoed that sentiment, calling the increase a “very reasonable cost — probably not even an inflationary (level) increase.”

Some residents have expressed concerns that their recyclables aren’t actually being recycled but are, instead, being added to the regular trash.

“Given the instability of the recycling market, how much are they recycling in those bins?” City Councilman Daniel Williams asked.

Dame said that the City’s own workers pick up trash, while recycling is contracted out. He said GFL has recently started its own materials recovery facility, or MRF — pronounced “murf” — “to control costs better.” A MRF, according to, “receives, separates and prepares recyclables to be sold to an end buyer.”