Waste Management buys competitor

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— Waste Management is again the only trash-hauling business in Routt County.

The company has bought High Country Roll Off in Hayden, it was announced Friday. The 2-year-old High Country was Waste Management's lone competitor in the county.

"We're taking over all of the routes," Waste Management site manager Mike Stinson said.

Garbage trucks from Waste Management will start picking up trash from High Country customers on Monday.

In Hayden, trash day will change from Monday to Tuesday on June 27 because of the Waste Management purchase. Other customers in the county who used High Country will have the same pick-up days until further notice.

Stinson said he was still crunching the numbers on Friday to find out how many more houses would be added to Waste Management's workload. For sure, the company will take over at least 900 contracts 600 in Hayden and 300 in Oak Creek.

"We'll be able to take care of them," Stinson said.

Repeated attempts by Steamboat Today to contact a representative from High Country were unsuccessful.

High Country underbid Waste Management by about $2 per resident for the trash hauling contracts in Hayden and Oak Creek two years ago. Stinson said those contracts and rates will be honored until they run out in October. However, he said he wasn't sure if the rates would remain the same after that.

Hayden's town clerk, Lisa Johnston, expects the rates to change, especially since Waste Management won't have anyone to under bid it.

"I fully expect trash prices to go up," she said. "But they may also offer some sort of a recycling plan."

If the town chooses to have recycling included in its service for the next garbage contract, Johnston believes that would help justify any price hike.

Stinson, who only recently found out about the sale, didn't know if recycling would be an option for residents in Hayden or south Routt.

He said he won't be ready to decide on company procedures in the acquired areas until the routes are organized and running smoothly.

"This won't stop our recycling process, but it will push it back until we have this under control," he said.

The purchase of High Country Roll Off by Waste Management was handled at the corporate level, Waste Management spokesman Bill Plunkett said. He works at his company's home office in Houston.

The High Country buyout was an example of what Waste Management calls a "tuck-in acquisition," he said.

"The routes have to be integrated or tucked in to the existing operations," he said.

Waste Management is a $13 billion company that employs 60,000 people around the world. Last year, however, the company announced it would divest its international business and focus on the North American market, Plunkett said.

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