Waste Management not walking the talk | AspenTimes.com

Waste Management not walking the talk

Aspen, CO Colorado

No company is perfect, but you would have a hard time believing that when reading Waste Management Inc.’s website.

“As an industry leader, we commit our knowledge and experience to stewardship of the environment, tackling tough issues such as recycling and waste diversion, providing renewable energy and resource conservation, and safe collection and disposal of waste.”

Those words, which come from Waste Management CEO David P. Steiner, are displayed prominently on the trash hauler’s website.

Apparently, Steiner has not been following Waste Management’s recycling practices in Aspen.

On Wednesday, Waste Management was hit with $42,500 in penalties for shrugging off the city of Aspen’s recycling ordinance. The fine came after the city filed 13 charges against the company for recycling-related infractions. As part of a plea deal, six of the charges were dropped.

The amount Waste Management must pay in damages was a mere drop in the trash bin for the Houston-based public company, whose stock closed at $35.27 on Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange, and who earlier this month offered $6.7 billion to buy garbage hauler Republic Services.

As mighty a company as Waste Management is in the industry of garbage removal, it still cannot seem to get a grasp on little ol’ Aspen’s recycling ordinance. For sure, Aspen can get wrapped up in environmental correctness and haughtiness, but the recycling ordinance has real value.

Simply put, the ordinance requires waste haulers to bill Aspen customers using a “base rate” that covers both trash removal and recycling. That means customers pay for recycling whether they want the service or not, which is supposed to encourage


But Waste Management consistently has ignored the rules, instead billing at least two businesses for trash removal and cutting them a break on recycling. And at least 11 other businesses were charged separately for recycling and trash removal.

This might not seem like a big deal at first blush, but Waste Management’s practice has undercut the intention of the city’s recycling ordinance, which is to provide individuals and businesses incentive to recycle. In fact, it appears that Waste

Management has gone out of its way to make its own rules instead of following


This from a company whose CEO says: “We are an environmental company. What’s more, we strive to be a trusted and valued community partner, and we commit our resources and resourcefulness to programs that build up our communities and our cities.”

Someone, maybe Steiner or maybe an Aspen underling, is not walking the talk.

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