The business of garbage disposal tends to create an air of competition among rival trash haulers. Any hauler will try to gain an edge over the competition by offering a slew of services, from curbside pick-up to roll off dumpster rentals. But apart from competing on services, haulers will also seek out ways to save money on the other end of the business. Every waste removal company needs a place to dispose of their trash. This can sometimes be done free of charge by negotiating with landfill owners, usually in exchange for the company’s services.
Well for one Los Angeles trash hauler, this kind of deal wasn’t enough. One small company in Kern County, Benz Sanitation, secured a contract with the county for trash pick-up and free disposal at the Kern County landfill. This proved to be an all too tempting deal, as most haulers usually have to pay hefty disposal fees. The company also had operations running in neighboring Los Angeles County where they had to pay such fees. So Benz Sanitation decided to utilize its Kern County contract to the fullest. They began labeling its the LA area trash as originating from Kern, allowing them to dispose of the waste for free in their own landfill.
The gimmick wasn’t uncovered until officials ended their contract with Benz, choosing a new company to handle their trash collection. After the switch, officials noticed that a small town in Kern County, Ridgecrest, suddenly began disposing of a lot less trash. This was the town that Benz Sanitation claimed the LA trash originated from, resulting in an inflated disposal rate.
The gig was up. State prosecutors swiftly slammed the small trash hauler with a fine of $2.4 million and forced Benz, the owner, to step down from the company’s management. He was also placed on felony probation for an unspecified term. The company’s garbage trucks were also outfitted with GPS trackers to monitor their disposal habits. And to top it all off, county officials will be auditing the sanitation company at some point in the future.
The lesson to be learned here is an oldie, but goodie. Basically, don’t lie. No matter how clever the lie is, it will almost always backfire and result in audits and GPS trackers. So don’t get tagged with a tracking device; be honest about where your trash came from.