One thing Iíve
learned over the course of my life, and which I firmly believe has helped
keep me alive up to this point, is the following: Donít mess with
These fellows are from a different breed. Not only the laymen
who rumble around before dawn collecting waste at a feverish pace, but
also the guys in the main office, who probably hoisted a can or two in
their younger days.
Iíve often wondered how these garbage
companies maintain their exclusive contracts with the city year after year
after year. Fortunately, my thought process stopped at the wondering
Unfortunately, I seem to be paying for
it. The rate for picking up garbage at my business has risen over 30
percent in the last two years. Iíd shop around, but there is no place to
shop. Only one company is authorized to collect my garbage. Their rates,
approved by the city, are final.
So every month I pay $500 to have our
company garbage taken away. Itís one of those charges that just seem
like way too much. But what could I do?
Enter the Recycling Fairy. He came from
out of nowhere, dropping off a brochure that promised to cut our garbage
bill in half.
I should mention at this point that Iíve
always been an environmentalist. Save a bird, save a tree, close up the
ozone hole, curb that Greenhouse effectÖIím all for it. But this is a
business column so instead of preaching the value of saving the world, Iíll
stick to the value of saving money.
And I was incredulous to learn from the
Recycling Fairy when he floated into my office that I could actually save
money while helping to save the planet. I quickly became not only an
environmentalist, but an ardent one.
It seems that 70 percent of the garbage
that is being picked up by our monopolistic collector is recyclable
material and charged a fraction of the cost.
Iím not talking about aluminum cans,
bottles or cardboard. Even novice environmentalists like myself are
conscious of their recyclable value. We already have those items picked up
at no charge.
No, Iím talking about metal, wood,
Styrofoam, plastic and paper products Ė all recyclable garbage and sent
to landfills to die a premature death.
Garbage should be separated into
"wet" and "dry" categories. Wet garbage (primarily
food) is history. Dry garbage can be recycled into marketable commodities.
Iím pleased to say my company is very
dry. The wet garbage that we do produce, mostly from employee lunches, now
needs to be separated from the dry garbage or it will contaminate it, not
only ruining the planet but also my cost savings.
everywhere we have a waste basket, there would have to be two; one for
dry, one for wet. A minor inconvenience, considering the benefits, which
also include saving the world.
Only one problem remained. How was I
going to tell the garbage people? Rumor has it Jimmy Hoffa cut back on his
garbage service, and look what happened to him. Itís one thing to save
the world, but it would be more poignant if I was around to see the
Once again, the Recycling Fairy came to
my rescue. It seems other clients had contacted their local garbage
company and told them they were cutting service. They quickly received
offers they had trouble refusing, generally in the form of rate cuts (for
To avoid this, the Recycling Fairyís
company now handles all contacts with the local garbage company, including
the bill for the greatly reduced wet waste pickup, which they then pass
along to the client along with their bill for the recyclable pickup.
From $500 a month down to $250 per
month, and I didnít have to even mess with the garbagemen.
Well, thatís not entirely true. I
still have a slight problem. The Recycling Fairyís real name is Tom Hunt
from Waste Resource Technologies, and until he became a Recycling Fairy,
it seems he worked for the garbage companies.
Like most former garbagemen, heís a
pretty good-sized guy. Itís just a guess, but Iím going to go out on a
limb (and perhaps lose one) by saying that he may not appreciate being
called a Recycling Fairy.
No one said saving the world
would be a cakewalk.