Four business owners filed complaints Tuesday with the cities of Henderson, Las Vegas and North Las Vegas as well as Clark County about waste-disposal company Republic Services of Southern Nevada.
The complaints allege that Republic Services is using its exclusive franchise agreements with the cities and the county to curb competition.
Republic Services has held an exclusive franchise agreement with Las Vegas since 1985; with Clark County since 1993, under prior ownership; with North Las Vegas since 1978; and with Henderson since 1973, under prior ownership. Republic Services is the only waste-disposal company allowed to collect municipal solid waste . Companies have been allowed to compete with Republic Services in the construction and demolition market since 2005.
However, Republic Services also owns the only landfill in Las Vegas proper and sets its own disposal rates for its competition.
Secured Fibres, formerly a recycling andwaste management company, alleges the company was put out of business by Republic Services undercutting what they charged in the construction and demolition market while increasing landfill disposal fees.
“RS took full advantage of their landfill franchise agreement to manipulate hauling and landfill pricing in an effort to force small competitors out of business,” wrote Vince Collet, owner of Secured Fibres and Wolf Drop Box. .”
A complaint filed by Par 3, a landscaping company, states that they were also pushed out of the construction and recycling business.
“Par 3 was a large customer of Republic Services as we took all of the waste we could not recycle to the Apex Landfill. At the same time, Par 3 was a competitor of Republic in the dumpster business,” the letter states. During the recession, Chief Operating Officer Kam Brian claims, similar to Collet, that Republic Services raised tipping fees and undercut the private market.
“While it is no longer a concern for our business, we still feel strongly that the County ought to promote an environment that allows local businesses to compete on a level playing field with County franchisees,” Brian wrote.
Simple Environmental Services Group , a waste and recycling management company, claims that “interference” by Republic Services cost the company an estimated $405,153.96 in annual contracted net revenue over the course of the last 18 to 24 months.
Danielle Basson, COO of Simple ESG, alleges that Republic Services unnecessarily and “purposely” interrupted service to 80 percent of Simple ESG accounts, about 300 properties.
“We thought it was just a fluke that one or two properties went on service interrupt,” Basson said.
She said a Republic Services representative acknowledged that all clients’ accounts were current but that Republic interrupted service anyway.
Basson told the Review-Journal that she is still working to get Republic to pay for the damage done by their error, which she estimates at about $15,000 in labor and operational costs.
A Track Out Solution, a competitor with Republic Services in the construction and demolition market, contends that the franchise “has the appearance of penalizing” private companies working to recycle construction and demolition waste “while rewarding” Republic Services for “simply co-mingling their construction and demolition material with their curb-side municipal solid waste.”
A Track Out Solution Manager Chris Darling told the Review-Journal that Republic Services is effectively “double dipping” their facilities that were primarily funded by Republic Services customers to handle municipal solid waste to give them a competitive advantage in the market.
“They’re able to use the revenue from their franchise agreement to offset their costs in the construction and demolition market,” he said.
An 2015 study by Applied Analysis, which was commissioned by three of Republic’s competitors in the private C&D market, came to the same conclusion.
Tim Oudman, market vice president with Republic Services of Southern Nevada, said via email, “Republic Services has and will continue to support the market structure that has been in place for longer than a decade relative to the collection of construction and demolition material and recycling from businesses. Our intent is not to change any of that.
“We do not consider the claims made by the entities referenced in your correspondence to be factual.”
Contact Nicole Raz at email@example.com or 702-380-4512. Follow @JournalistNikki on Twitter.