Two opposite facts, the very large size of the waste management market and an extreme fragmentation of the offer, mean that some companies were able to develop at very high speed throughout the 1960s and 1970s, by consolidation.
They bought out smaller local operators like dumpster near me companies, often family businesses that held contracts with municipalities or directly with residents. They have firmly established themselves in the industrial and commercial waste market and in transport (hauling). They resumed services under management.
As junk disposal experts recall, between 1964 and 1973, 65% of the cities surveyed mentioned involvement in the collection service in one form or another, but the proportion of services with exclusively municipal collection declined from 45 to 39%.
Several authors will castigate the unorthodox methods of this wild capitalism which will lead in the 1970s to the constitution of conglomerates listed on the stock exchange.
Despite everything, the technique remains crude: trucks, transfer stations, large carriers and landfills that are called dumps and not yet sanitary landfills. Between these two words there is more than one nuance; they testify to two ages of this industry.
The possibilities of development were then such that this was more than enough for the growth of firms; it was not necessary for them to imagine actions of diversification in other sectors. This characteristic explains why operators are still specialized in their original sector and why they have not entered energy, drinking water or other urban networks.
The trend in favor of private management will continue throughout the 1990s. According to the National Solid Waste Association, more than 80% of the country’s waste is collected by private companies, whether through public or private contracts; for the municipal part, their preponderance is less, as shown by the table published by the International City Managers Association on management methods in 1984.
The treatment of garbage
The dominant technology since the 1920s has been that of the discharge developed by English engineers. It is developing rapidly because there is land available and cheap; moreover, the low cost of energy and dumpsters allows waste to be transported outside the cities.
At the end of the 1970s EPA and environmental experts question the sanitary aspect of these landfills to establish that a large number are not compliant; gradually the level of environmental standards is increased.
A landfill will have to include: a tarpaulin, leachate recovery devices, methane recovery, measurement of air and soil pollution. At the end of the operation, a surface cover must be laid and a 20-year monitoring (after care) is planned.
According to dumpster rental specialists, experts put forward a cost of $330/400 million per year to meet these standards. Added to this is the phenomenon of scarcity of land to open new landfills. No community, whether in the countryside or on the outskirts of the city, accepts this type of installation: Not In My Backyard.
Waste collection and treatment methods
Landfill treatment is seriously challenged and with it the whole waste system. Over the period 1978-1990 fourteen thousand sites, or 70% of landfills, were closed because they did not meet the criteria.
These closings are not compensated by openings. At the end of the 1980s the prices will increase. We then evoke a disposal crisis. This restructuring strengthens the big companies. According to another statistic from the National Solid Waste Association, 36% of the country’s 2,800 landfills are private and 500 belong to the largest groups: 300 for Waste Management and 170 for Allied-BFI.