Hiking up the Hauling Rates: The New Costs of Municipal Waste and Recycling Collection

Though garbage is often collected in the wee hours of the morning, the hauling rate increases that municipal trash removal services will be imposing will be clearly visible on your monthly statement.  For the past two years, the municipal recycler Recology has increased its rates – culminating in the 12.15 percent hike that some communities will incur in 2014 – despite the fact that the actual operating costs will only increase by two-tenths of a percent.   The New York City Business Integrity Commission (BIC) has proposed a 15-percent increase (of the city’s rate cap), thereby increasing the maximum rates that waste haulers may charge commercial establishments for garbage removal within the city, making it the first increase since 2008.

trash-for-recyclingDispelling the potential assumption that this was a one-off increase, the BIC has also proposed a review of increases every other year, beginning in 2015.  This recommendation has received its share of support from the collection industry (e.g., the New York City Chapter of the National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA)) which has absorbed significant business costs for years without the benefit of being able to offset those costs.

Fuel, labor and equipment or inventory costs have continually increased making maintaining profitable operations an ongoing challenge for those in the field.  Though waste management and collection may not register as a for-profit enterprise, it is in fact just that with all that that infers.  Thomas N. Toscano, chief financial officer of Mr. T Carting Corp. and president of the New York City Chapter of NSWMA articulated the fiscal reality of the situation thusly,  “I applaud the increase in the rate cap,” said, and, “With the continued increase in fuel, equipment and labor costs, this rate increase was necessary to maintain the quality of service our customers need. New York City is an extremely competitive market place, so I hope the BIC will continue to address the necessity of having a rate cap at all.”

From coast to coast, municipal waste management and collection agencies are effectively lobbying for and gaining rate increases, which means increased costs for standard and non-standard waste collection and recycling. This is particular evident in the current and proposed costs for bulk item collection.  In the case of Recology, the increases were, in part due to their lack of experience with gauging the fluctuations in demands and the costs of serving their communities. For consumers, another more appealing option, would be to likewise take a “free-market” approach and engage an independent collection provider, such as Fast Haul, which having served the Greater Bay Area for over 20 years, has refined its processes and systems to such an extent that it can provide collection services at a more competitive rate.

Leaner operations such as Fast Haul, don’t have the overhead or the liability and other dependent costs that large-scale municipality collection agencies have, and that enables them to provide a more economical alternative to the traditional municipal collectors.