Clarification: The headline of this story has been updated to more accurately reflect circumstances involving Premier and Annapolis officials.
- City officials in Annapolis, MD discovered Premier Waste Group, a waste brokerage that has serviced most of the downtown area since 2011, has been operating in violation of city code for years, as reported by the Capital Gazette.
- City code requires businesses contract directly with a licensed trash hauler, however Premier has acted as a middle man between 95% of Annapolis businesses and city-licensed haulers. Owner Ian Djuric claims he was not aware his business violated city code and has expressed confusion about why the city allowed him to operate for so long.
- Due to code enforcement, Premier is now working to sell its contracts to Ecology Services Refuse & Recycling. The Capital Gazette reports no trash pickups have yet been affected by the sale of the contracts.
While waste brokers are present across the U.S., it is clear that many municipal and private industry leaders are not a fan of such businesses. Rubicon Global has experienced extreme backlash from big-name haulers for its business model — Waste Connections once referred to the company as "nothing more than an old-fashioned waste service broker seeking its business by taking customers from established companies." Republic CEO Don Slager has also denounced brokers by saying they're not good for business and don't add value to customers.
Despite their status in the industry, brokers like Premier have found ways to operate efficiently. It is currently unclear how Ecology Services, a city-licensed hauler, grasped the opportunity to buy all of Premier's contracts, though the deal is a huge win for Ecology's revenue stream. Premier nearly had a monopoly on the city's downtown contracts, yet Premier was able to license those contracts out to various haulers — something Ecology will not be able to do. It is now up to Ecology to increase its staff and equipment, especially trucks, and pursue each contract seamlessly so businesses don't experience missed pickups or complications.
The overall mess in Annapolis demonstrates a clear lack of communication between Premier, city leaders and businesses. While Premier was technically the entity in violation, it is curious that Annapolis leaders were truly unaware of Premier's operational tactics for more than five years. As contracts are shifted, it will be crucial for Annapolis leaders to stay on top of this matter — and possibly revisit city code so this situation does not reoccur.