Ribbon cutting for Eagle River Waste

From left: JoAnn Goss-Gardner, administrative assistant, Meeker Chamber of Commence; Fain Richardson, ERWS general manager; Tricia Rupp, ERWS assistant manager; Stephanie Kobald, executive director, Meeker Chamber of Commence; and Tom Miller, ERWS owner. Doc Watson Photo

By Doc Watson
Special to the Herald Times
MEEKER | The Meeker Chamber of Commerce and several Meeker residents were present at a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house last Friday for Eagle River Waste Services (ERWS), which included hamburgers, hot dogs, and all the trimmings.
As reported in the Herald Times, ERWS was purchased from REDI Services last October. “Just the trash service was purchased,” assistant manager Tricia Rupp stated. “REDI retained water, septic and portable restroom services.”
Rupp, who was among all six employees retained from REDI Services, also added, “We only did the trash service,” but the new owner, Tom Miller, “added recycling to their services.”
Also retained were General Manager Fain Richardson, two trash truck drivers and two helpers who man the back of the trucks.
Company President Tom Miller, resides in Edwards and owns another trash company in Pagosa Springs. “I’m a lifer in the trash business,” he said. “I’ve been in this business for 40 years.”
A retired executive, Miller started a private equity company in June 2016 to buy trash companies and has purchased three thus far. “If all goes well, we will be purchasing another in about two weeks that will give us three more operating locations (in Colorado),” he said.
In reference to adding recycling to their business model, “It doesn’t make any financial sense; it’s just the right thing to do,” Miller said.
An especially big issue is electronic waste (e-waste), which means “anything with a cord on it.” In Feb. 2017, Colorado outlawed e-waste in landfills, so there are now only three certified e-waste recyclers in the state. “The one we use is in Colorado Springs, which has about 50 employees,” Miller said. “They take each unit apart and sort all the pieces.”
The old CRT (cathode ray tube) in computer monitors and televisions is its own special headache. Because it contains lead, it has to be taken to a Missouri facility for proper handling. These facilities have the positive trait of employing people with disabilities.
For e-waste, ERWS charges $.75 per pound, which in-turn costs them $.40 per pound to dispose of and is therefore not a large profit margin once you calculate travel cost and overhead.