Waste Industries is facing criticism from local customers who say service has degraded significantly following the company’s 2018 acquisition of their accounts through Lebanon Farms Disposal.
Over the past week, LebTown has spoken with a number of past and present Waste Industries customers who have described in detail trash pickups by the company that were either botched or never happened at all.
Craig Dundee Donmoyer of North Lebanon Township said that after a dozen issue-free years with LFD, he’s only begun to have problems in the last few months with the Waste Industries takeover. With trash pickup schedule never seeming to be on the same day, he says that he and his neighbors were never quite sure when to put the trash out. “I got tired of calling every week for them to pick it up and just ended my service with them,” said Donmoyer.
Another longtime LFD customer, Chris Fenstermaker, said that his family has been customers with LFD since 2001, and he too has seen a service downgrade following the acquisition. “Since the company was sold to Waste Industries,” he said, “our trash pick up has been missed almost weekly.”
“I have had to call every week in February, ” said Fenstermaker, who lives along Cumberland Street in Lebanon. “Here in the city, that means that much of our trash or recycling might end up rolling around Route 422.” Fenstermaker described difficulty getting messages returned and a general sense of exhaustion an irritation when speaking to customer service representatives. “I am sure they are tired of getting call-complaints,” he noted.
A review of the local Waste Industries Facebook page shows 17 “doesn’t recommend” reviews so far this year. A sampling shows mostly complaints of missed pickups, as well as a couple about Waste Industries’ apparent nonresponse to having damaged property.
A public Facebook post by Fenstermaker elicited a number of similar stories, with a number of people saying they too have switched to a different company.
“We were a customer for four years,” said Lisa Adams of North Lebanon Township. Adams said that they were a great company previously, but the level of caring seemed to decrease following the acquisition. “I went to another local company,” she said.”
Lebanon Farms Disposal was founded in 1964 by Stephen and Tillie Barry and it remained a family business until its acquisition last fall. Terms were not made public. Waste Industries Area Vice President Benjamin Habets explained in an email, “The acquisition fit our strategic growth plan and allowed us to expand our operating footprint into Pennsylvania.” Habets said the company retained existing employees as well as adding to the headcount.
According to Habets, two major factors may be linked to the service problems: Inclement weather and landfill closures.
“The recent snow and ice has certainly made things more challenging as you must take caution to ensure the safety of our drivers and the communities we serve,” said Habets.
Habets also said that early closings of the Greater Lebanon Refuse Authority on February 11 and February 20, as well as the Lancaster Solid Waste Authority on February 20, would also have impacted operations and caused routes to be pushed back a day.
However, a review of weather activity for those days (February 11 and February 20) suggests that inclement conditions were the cause of the landfill closures, too, leaving still unexplained the issues that Adams, Fenstermaker, and Donmoyer all confirmed experiencing on days without snowy/icy weather.
“We have a great team in place and they are focused on safe and quality service delivery,” said Habets.
Waste Industries noted that it gives back to the community through its Full Circle Project, which connects local branch operations with local charities. “If a local charity wanted to contact the local offices they certainly can do so,” said Habets.