COVID-19 caused a slowdown in waste and recycling pickups for many cities and businesses across the country as many drivers and other municipal solid waste (MSW) workers were unable to do their job in a safe and efficient manner. Suddenly, the invisible problem that reliably disappeared at your doorstep, became visible as trash piled up from missed pick-ups.

It’s a tough time for our industry, but at Rubicon® we’re confident that our expertise, technology, and network of hauler options can navigate these challenges.

The Driver Shortage is Real

If you pick up a newspaper or go online in almost any country in the world right now, you will see reports of driver shortages across industries; from international shipping to local deliveries, to, you guessed it, waste and recycling hauling. Go to any landfill or recycling facility and you will see “Drivers Wanted” ads, or even recruiters handing out offers.

Simply put, the pandemic has accelerated where we were already headed: a driver shortage crisis. Specifically, the average age of drivers continues to grow (73 percent are 40+ years old) as we see a major gap of younger workers coming in to replace these retirees. Additionally, with the rise of last mile delivery services during shutdowns, younger drivers found work at these places instead—without having to get a commercial driver’s license, or taking the risk of riding a trash truck, which ranks as a top-five most dangerous job in America.

This has caused a slowdown in commercial and residential waste and recycling service, as staffing shortages and supply chain challenges are making it difficult for many haulers to keep the same number of trucks on the road.

Rubicon’s Vast Hauler Network Helps Solve the Driver Shortage

At Rubicon, we work with a network of more than 7,000 vendor and hauler partners, 90 percent of which are small, independent businesses. These haulers have strong, sometimes familial ties with their drivers, which often leads to greater driver retention.

What does this mean for you and your business? The scale of our network means your business has access to vastly more hauler options through our digital platform. If your business contracted direct to just one hauling company, you would be subject to their labor shortage cost offsets (overages, contamination, etc.) and be at the mercy of their schedule. Do you have some extra cardboard that you need out of your warehouse as soon as possible? Your hauler may be able to respond to this request on short notice, but if they can’t, you’re out of luck. Rubicon’s network of more than 7,000 vendor and hauler partners means that we can get someone to you for that extra pick up when you need it, where you need it.

If Rubicon has proven anything during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is that our business is agile and able to overcome any obstacle that it comes up against. When you entrust Rubicon with your waste and recycling business, you can be sure that our network of hauler partners is as agile as your company’s ever-changing needs.

Rubicon’s Mission Future-Proofs Your Business

Rubicon’s mission is to end waste. It helps its partners find economic value in their waste streams and confidently execute on their sustainability goals.

Countless studies have shown that when businesses link purpose and sustainability practices to their core mission, they have a much higher degree of success in creating a loyal following of customers, and attracting and retaining employees. Think of it as conscious capitalism; you are running a business, sure, but you also care about protecting the environment and keeping as much of your business’s waste out of landfills as possible.

When you join Rubicon on our mission to end waste, you are signaling to current and future customers, partners, and employees the type of company that you are striving to be.

To find out how you can get started working with Rubicon, be sure to contact ustoday.


Tom Owston is Chief Commercial Officer (Interim) 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.