GFL bears rocky transition while taking over thousands of Republic accounts
- Earlier this summer, GFL Environmental acquired municipal contracts from Republic Services in five Michigan communities — approximately 33,700 households — and an unspecified number of residential subscription accounts. Financial terms were not disclosed.
- The transition recently received local media attention after some residents in Oakland Township reported that their waste hadn't been collected for up to three weeks, as reported by the Detroit Free Press. A spokesperson for GFL told Waste Dive that part of the problem was some accounts hadn't been serviced before they assumed responsibility for them on July 31. "In any transition you have a few bumps in the first week," said Joe Munem, director of government affairs and public relations for GFL. "When we weren't provided complete detail on these subscription accounts and these areas hadn't been serviced, small bumps become pretty big ones in a hurry."
- GFL has since addressed the issue by sending out additional trucks this week, as reported by WDIV Detroit and other local stations, and the company expects normal service to resume next week. Republic did not provide a response about their role in the transition prior to publication.
GFL is one of five haulers that the 18,000 residents of Oakland Township can hire, so compared to the overall number of new customers they acquired the percentage that reported problems is relatively small. Munem told Waste Dive that servicing every street for a municipal contract is easier to plan. Whereas transitioning subscription accounts is naturally more challenging because the routes are spread out, making quality maps important.
In addition to the subscription accounts, the five communities that GFL picked up — Ray Township, Oxford, Wolverine Lake, White Lake Township and Rochester Hills — span two counties and mark a continuous expansion of the Canadian company's presence in Michigan. GFL's local assets come from the acquisition of Rizzo Environmental Services last fall. After multiple Rizzo executives were indicted on fraud charges related to a larger FBI corruption investigation — a surprise to GFL after the deal — all of the company's equipment was rebranded. Rizzo also engaged in a months-long contract battle with Republic in Flint last summer, which Republic ultimately won following the corruption news.
Last month, GFL CEO Patrick Dovigi discussed his interest in expanding through acquisition and potentially doing an IPO next year. The Toronto-based company's presence is large in Canada and so far Michigan is the only U.S. state where it operates. Based on GFL's recent growth, that appears likely to change sooner than not.
- Detroit Free Press Garbage piling up in pricey Oakland Township
- WDIV Detroit Oakland Township residents angered by trash pickup nightmare
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