Welcome to the Haul of Fame, a weekly series from Rubicon in which we sit down with a hauler partner to talk about their company, their community, and how they’re collaborating with Rubicon in our mission to end waste.

Maui Disposal Co., Inc. is based in Wailuku, Maui, one of the eight main islands of Hawaii. Since 1969, Maui Disposal has been serving a customer base of more than 2,500 through waste hauling, recycling, and material recovery across both Maui and Lanai. With nearly 60 vehicles and over 150 employees, Maui Disposal offers commercial and construction roll-off solutions, front-end hauling services, and recycling for both commercial and residential customers. A third-generation hauling company, Maui Disposal is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary throughout 2019, and has been working with Rubicon (through our WestRock acquisition) since 2015.

Bill Hendershot, Sales Manager for Maui Disposal, sat down with Rubicon to talk about his company and mission for the Haul of Fame.

How does Rubicon’s mission to end waste match-up to Maui Disposal’s own company mission?

Maui Disposal: Maui Disposal is committed to recycling and sustainability. Our truck fleet is powered by Pacific Biodiesel fuel. We started the first green waste recycling routes in the Hawaiian Islands, and we are the only waste hauler in Maui County with a permitted $12 million Material Recovery Facility (MRF) dedicated to Maui’s recycling efforts. Both Maui Disposal and Rubicon have a mission to end waste, and we are thrilled to be in partnership with Rubicon.

How does Maui Disposal distinguish itself from the competition?

Maui Disposal: Maui Disposal is the largest waste and recycling service provider on Maui. We are locally owned and managed with 50 years of experience. We are the only hauler that is open 365 days a year. Our employees are dedicated to the overall company mission and as a third-generation hauler, our customers know that we have the experience to get a job completed the right way.

What is the view of Maui Disposal when it comes to participating in the circular economy and helping build a more sustainable future?

Maui Disposal: Living, working, and raising children on a beautiful island is not a bad way to live… The Maui Disposal family—and that’s what we call ourselves—a family, is dedicated to helping the island become more sustainable to ensure our lifestyle for generations to come.

What do you love most about the community in which you work, and the customers you serve?

Maui Disposal: We love the Hawaiian spirit of Aloha; caring for our families, our ohana, and our neighbors, working together to help save and protect our land, our aina, and preserving our ocean, malama kai. We are one with the environment.

Has China’s temporary ban on imported plastics caused you to readjust your business in any way?

Maui Disposal:Maui Disposal’s MRF not only processes our own company’s commercial and residential recycling, but also Maui County’s recycling needs. In the middle of the Pacific, without the volume to warrant investment in recycling infrastructure on Maui or the surrounding islands, we are at the mercy of recycling markets in Asia. With China closing its borders to not only plastics, but mixed paper and OCC, we are shipping to a few remaining end users, including South Korea, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Currently the laws of supply and demand are upside down; as market prices are falling, our ocean freight costs continue to rise. With restrictions getting tighter on the user end for what is acceptable, we are forced to do additional sorting and processing.

All this being said, Maui Disposal is committed to recycling, and keeping this material out of our island landfill. Our customers want to recycle, their hearts are in the right spot, but we are having to re-educate commercial customers, as well as the county, on what is now acceptable to be recycled and what is not. To help us keep labor costs down, we’re having to explain to them the market situation, to justify why recycling service charges have to be adjusted. Recycling is a priority here in the islands, but it comes at a cost.

Where does Maui Disposal see itself five years from now?

Maui Disposal: Moving forward, we will continue to be the leader in the waste and recycling industry on Maui, by reinvesting in our future, expanding the scope and direction of our business, and building a successful model for the next three generations of the Maui Disposal family.

Lori Sullivan is Vice President of Hauler Operations at Rubicon. To stay ahead of Rubicon’s announcements of new partnerships and collaborations around the world, be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, or contact us today.