Talking trash: local waste pickup company sold to Waste Management

Long-time locally- and family-owned Tennessee Trash LLC, which performed residential and commercial waste pickup throughout Knox and Loudon counties for more than a decade, was sold to Waste Management of Tennessee in a move that was official Saturday, June 1.

“Tennessee Trash grew an outstanding business, and (the merger)complements Waste Management’s operations,” said Mitch Rowan, Waste Management director of market planning for Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama and Kentucky. “It has been excellent timing for both companies.”

Tennessee Trash customers, which numbered around 30,000 for residential and about 1,500 for commercial, received notice of the change earlier this month, and in the announcement were advised they would see billing changes — but no increases — with their next statements.

“We do not anticipate any rate changes in services at this time,” Rowan said.

Former customers also should expect to see the same employees and equipment utilized previously by Tennessee Trash, as both were retained as part of the merger agreement.

Tennessee Trash had approximately 65 employees who worked from its headquarters, 1100 Gladstone Lane between Farragut and Lenoir City, and oversaw a fleet of about 65 trucks. Rowan said Waste Management would continue to operate that facility, in addition to its own location on the Knox-Anderson County line, from which it has taken care of a customer base, which also includes routes in Loudon, Blount and Sevier counties.

“With this transition, we will be able to serve our customers from both ends of our service area, and it will work well for us logistically,” Rowan added.

Pickup routes remain on the same schedule for Tennessee Trash customers, but he said Waste Management customers may at some point see some changes when those routes are integrated with existing Tennessee Trash routes in the same neighborhoods.

“Many of our routes mirrored each other, so it only makes sense to combine them at some point,” he said.

Rowan shared one unique byproduct for customer’s non-recycled waste will be its relocation to Waste Management’s Chestnut Ridge Landfill in Anderson County, where it will repurposed as renewable electricity.

“This landfill is the only one in East Tennessee that includes a gas-to-energy operation,” Rowan said. “This process captures naturally occurring methane gas that develops from decomposing waste, and directs the gas to five generators that produce approximately 4.8 megawatts of clean, renewable electricity that is made available to power homes in the neighboring communities.”

Tennessee Trash was founded in 2004, and its owners were Harry Gillman, his daughter, Kim Gillman Turner, and her husband, Steve Turner, all of whom had extensive experience in the refuse removal business, according to the company’s website.

Waste Management is headquartered in Houston, Texas, and is the largest waste removal company in the industry, with locations in 48 states total. It is a Fortune 250 company with more than $15 billion dollars a year in sales.