Published In the Spotlight, December 2022 Issue of Waste Advantage Magazine
Headquartered in Moorestown, NJ, Liberty Waste & Recycling has been in business almost five years. With over 30 years of experience in the waste and recycling industry, Steven Dickey, President, and Owner, started Liberty Waste & Recycling as a support company working with a larger waste management company in Philadelphia, PA. Shortly after its inception, Dickey brought on former co-worker and friend, Rick Jenkins, Vice President, and together with their combined experience, they built Liberty into what it is today—currently running a successful fleet of roll-off trucks and front loaders, servicing more than 300 area businesses in Gloucester, Camden, Burlington, and Mercer Counties. According to Dickey, “Liberty Waste & Recycling is a fast-growing company, and we are well on our way to being a full-service garbage company, which has always been our goal.”
As a start-up company launched during the COVID pandemic, there were certainly unforeseen struggles to contend with. At the time, Liberty Waste & Recycling was in the midst of adding its A901 waste transporter license in New Jersey. “Recent events absolutely affected our business. During the pandemic, the state of New Jersey was on furlough and what should have taken us a year to set up, took two years,” says Jenkins. “Then with all the state and construction shutdowns in Philadelphia and New Jersey, our new company was at a standstill. We kept our employees on the payroll by having them perform tasks in the shop and around the facility. Our employees and their families are part of the Liberty family and taking care of our own is a top priority. While we did take a hit, the Small Business Administration (SBA) helped us out and got us through those down months so we could continue to move forward and grow.” However, he points out that it still has been a challenge because of the rising prices and lack of equipment and people. “It is still hard finding employees that want to come to work today, but we’re still all in because people still believe in us.”
Hitting a Stride
From the start, Liberty Waste & Recycling’s business model has been customer centric. Dickey and Jenkins explain that they focus on providing a service for customers who need their trash picked up whether it is a business, homeowner, or contractor. Liberty believes in building solid relationships with other haulers, waste brokers and management companies as part of their growing strategy. “Sometimes, with a larger company, customer service tends to take a back seat because they have so many locations. We’ve always taken a step back and said our number one priority must be servicing the customer. By doing that, we can give our customers a collection service that’s hands down better than the rest of service providers in our area.” The biggest thing that has kept Liberty successful is their immaculate image—from clean trucks to experienced drivers who prioritize safety. If something happens on the route, such as a breakdown, the company immediately communicates with their customer on the status of pickup. “I believe that this philosophy has brought us into to the next stage of our business,” says Dickey.
When it comes to safety, Jenkins points out that it starts with having the right technology. Liberty Waste & Recycling uses several programs to manage routing, documentation, and video systems within the trucks - everything is done on an electronic device. Drivers manage pre-trip inspections and mark up in real time if a truck has a problem directly on an iPad. “Whatever they do registers in the main office, we can see what’s going on in the trucks and with the drivers. As a smaller company, we started with a technologically advanced platform so we could move into the future having the necessary tools for advancement, including GPS and timestamps for potential customer disputes,” comments Jenkins.
In addition to technology, Liberty Waste & Recycling has begun to partner with their communities, especially with law enforcement and fire departments, displaying their front loaders at community events. The trucks display a thin blue line on the decals for police and a thin green line for army/military. Stresses Dickey, “We love our country, are appreciative of our military, and we are going to continue to support them as much as we can.”
Although there is somewhat of a high turnover due to the current climate, the company does have a few employees that have been with Liberty Waste & Recycling since the beginning. Despite that challenge, they put advertisements for employees on social media platforms, as well as a few hiring platforms such as Indeed and Zip Recruiter, continuing to hire quality employees. “It is more difficult to hire in the garbage business because it’s very niche. You can find a truck driver anywhere, but it’s not as easy to find a roll-off truck driver or a frontload driver— it is a very specialized industry,” says Jenkins. “What has been hard for us has been the insurance requirements because the garbage business is one of the strictest ones out there, especially in New Jersey. They want a minimum of three years of experience and zero violations— not even a three-year old speeding ticket or a seatbelt violation will be accepted. We’re going to keep moving forward and keep the applicants coming in, and as we find good guys, we will welcome them on board.”
Other challenges for Liberty have included a supply chain issue (an equipment shortage) and fuel surcharges. “Fluctuating fuel costs are so astronomical that to solve the problem we added a fuel surcharge across the board in order to cover the rising costs and be able to continue our exceptional service,” comments Jenkins.
The Trajectory Forward
However, it is Liberty Waste & Recycling’s rapid growth and endurance that shows the company as a “young gun,” moving forward and continuing to expand. Liberty’s future goal is to keep their services growing as well as build additional facilities. “I plan to expand thoughout New Jersey. We are aiming to build our own transfer station, MRF and C&D facility, so we have the resources to take our own material and other material into our facility and be able to sort it,” says Dickey. “Being almost five years old, we have put together a successful business, whereas those that have been around for 15 or 20 years, are still trying to figure it out. That’s our greatest achievement—our willingness to keep growing and moving forward to service more customers in our area. We want to be the premier waste and recycling company on the east coast.”
For more information, contact Steve & Rick at 856-755-5620 or firstname.lastname@example.org.