Building on a career in the waste industry for the past 15 years, Jordan Rechenmacher has managed to make significant changes to increase safety and efficiency within the local sanitation division in the City of Idaho Falls. He is also a 2020 Waste360 40 Under 40 Award Winner.
As sanitation supervisor, Rechenmacher has implemented a residential service conversion from hand load garbage pickup to autoload pickup and a glass recycling service.
“The autoload conversion has made the Sanitation Division safer for the employees, allowed us to operate with fewer full time employees which has translated to more efficient service,” says Chris Fredericksen, public works director for the City of Idaho Falls. “Glass recycling is new to our community but has been well received by our residents and commercial businesses.”
Rechenmacher also is a spokesman for his community, stressing the important service that the Sanitation Division provides.
“Jordan is an excellent leader, a trusted supervisor and interacts with the public extremely well. He has been able to effectively change the culture within his division to embrace safety which has benefited all employees,” says Fredericksen.
Waste360 recently sat down with Rechenmacher to discuss his career and the future of waste.
Waste360: What is your background in the waste and recycling industry?
Jordan Rechenmacher: The beginning of my career in the solid waste industry started in 2005, when I received a call from my older brother urging me to put in an application with Allied Waste Services in Jefferson City, Mo. I started shortly after on the back of a rear-load truck.
After several years of being a refuse collector I accepted a route supervisor position with the same company in Denver, Colo. After several re-locations and promotions throughout the years I arrived here in Idaho Falls as the Sanitation Superintendent in 2015.
Waste360: Describe your role as Sanitation Superintendent for the City of Idaho Falls.
Jordan Rechenmacher: I oversee the safety, operations and finances of Idaho Falls’ Sanitation Division. We have a total of 23 full time employees, 26 pieces of equipment and a welding facility. Idaho Falls has a population of approximately 60,000 residents in which we are solely responsible for the collection of all the solid waste within city limits.
Waste360: How did you implement a residential service conversion from hand load garbage pickup to autoload pickup?
Jordan Rechenmacher: The vast majority of the residential pick up here was done via rear-load by hand. In 2015 we started implementing the use of 95-gallon residential containers along with the purchase of side-load automated trucks.
We broke the implementation down to three phases, one phase per year. Over the course of the next three years we focused on public education, proper training of our employees and right sizing our routes. By 2018, every residential home was completely automated.
Waste360: Why did you implement a glass recycling service?
Jordan Rechenmacher: We recognized an opportunity to partner with a glass recycling facility, Momentum Recycling, located in Salt Lake City. We added glass specific 3-yard containers to our already existing 13 recycle drop off locations around our City. Glass is then collected and stored at our facility.
Once we have a pre-determined amount collected, Momentum Recycling brings a tractor trailer to our facility to pick up and haul back to Salt Lake City for processing. Since implementation in January of 2019 we are proud to report that our community has recycled more than 200 tons of glass.
Waste360: How did you become spokesman for the community?
Jordan Rechenmacher: As the Sanitation Division Superintendent, it is an honor to work with my employees and communicate with residents on the recent improvements. We all continue these efforts as we strive to make additional improvements to our services, ensuring that Idaho Falls continues to be a beautiful place to live, work and visit.
Waste360: What makes the services your Sanitation Division provides so important?
Jordan Rechenmacher: The service we provide is essential to our community and neighbors. First and foremost, on a daily basis we are collecting and removing the waste that could be a health and environmental risk to our community. Also, our service keeps the City of Idaho Falls clean and beautiful which is important for not only our residents, but also for our economic development efforts.
Waste360: What do you see as the future of waste collection?
Jordan Rechenmacher: I see the future continuing down the current, positive trend. Collection vehicles are becoming more operator and mechanic friendly. The industry as a whole is embracing a more modern, applicable safety message and automation is replacing physical labor every single day across the nation. Technology advancements are helping to optimize our routes and are getting us closer to a more efficient, battery powered refuse truck. I believe the future looks bright for us.
Waste360: What makes you an effective leader?
Jordan Rechenmacher: I do my best to empower my employees. I try to create an environment in which our employees feel free to bring ideas to the table to make our jobs safer and more productive while maintaining the highest levels of customer service. Not only do my employees have excellent ideas, they are also amazing problem solvers.
Waste360: What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?
Jordan Rechenmacher: I am most proud of seeing my employees succeed. Without my employees none of these positive changes would have been possible. From my administrative assistant, to my foreman, to our newest employee. It is their hard work and determination that makes my job so enjoyable and rewarding.