Waste Advantage Magazine

Rumpke: leading the way in the waste industry


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In 1932, William F. Rumpke operated a coal and junkyard business in Carthage, OH. After receiving a payment of hogs, his business focus changed to hog farming. During the hog-farming days, he collected trash from local residents to feed his hogs. Inedible items were removed and recycled while the rest was fed to the livestock. In the 1940s, William’s brother Bernard joined the business and the two of them began making decisions that would impact their family for generations. A few years later, the farming business ended as the company shifted its focus solely to waste collection, recycling and disposal—and Rumpke was born.

Headquartered in Colerain Township, OH, just outside of Cincinnati, Rumpke is one of the nation’s largest privately owned residential and commercial waste and recycling firms today. It employs 2,300 people and owns or operates nine landfills (MSW and CDD only), eight material recovery facilities (including two buy-backs), one tire recycling facility and 20 transfer stations. Rumpke’s landfills accept municipal solid waste and construction demolition debris. Through their Rumpke Portable Restroom division, they work with companies to properly dispose of liquid waste within their Cincinnati market. Throughout their service region, Rumpke also offers recycling solutions for residential, commercial, industrial and construction customers.

During the past 30 years, the Rumpke family has successfully expanded its service area and added several divisions such as Rumpke Recycling, Rumpke Portable Restrooms, Rumpke Hydraulics, The William-Thomas Group and Rumpke Park in Harrison, OH. William and Bernard’s sons, Bill and Tom, were actively involved in the business as well and initiated the company’s commercial container service. During the 1970s, Bill and Tom bought the residential business from their fathers and served as co-owners and co-presidents until Tom passed away in January 2004. Rumpke services customers throughout Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and West Virginia (see Figure 1, page 24). The national chain accounts division, The William-Thomas Group, uses its Haul Pass Network (a network of smaller haulers) to service chain business locations throughout the country.

In These Economic Times
Constant communication played a key role in Rumpke’s success during 2009. While it’s no secret that the economic climate was rather difficult throughout late 2008 and 2009, the challenges it presented further united the Rumpke team ensuring progress. “These past 12 months presented a variety of challenges including lower landfill volumes, decreased roll off loads and plummeting recycling markets, but we met these obstacles with solutions and determination. Our team introduced and implemented cost cutting measurements that worked,” says Chief Operating Officer, Bill Rumpke Jr.

Rumpke continued implementing software to serve as a platform for the development of line of business scorecards. These scorecards have renewed Rumpke’s focus on the most important financial metrics. Quarterly reviews for each line of business helped the team become more pro-active and maximize opportunities.

Meanwhile safety statistics continued to define their culture of safety. Rumpke also developed additional educational opportunities for employees such as employee relations training programs, a variety of sales programs and more safety seminars for drivers, mechanics and equipment operators. At the same time, environmental compliance records improved despite increasing scrutiny from regulators. Internal audits ensured that any potential issues were quickly addressed.

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