In the fourth episode of our NothingWasted! Podcast, we chat with Kevin Atkinson, 2017 Waste360 40 Under 40 awards recipient and owner of Texas Pride Disposal, which provides garbage and recycling collection services to residential and commercial customers around the greater Houston area. We got to speak with him about waste trends, growing an entrepreneurial business and more.
Here’s a quick look at our conversation:
Waste360: Is this industry becoming more data driven based on what you’re seeing on a daily basis?
Kevin Atkinson: I think it definitely is, and there’s nothing wrong with that, to a degree. Maintaining the balance of data and common sense, though, is key. Data can be overharvested such that it actually becomes an obstacle. And in a lot of ways, we don’t want to overcomplicate what we’re doing.
Waste360: Are you seeing any trends of note in your waste streams?
Kevin Atkinson: I think the media has done a good job of portraying what’s going on with China, which helps us get the message out about cleaner streams and what can and can’t go into recycling containers. But, ultimately, it’s a long road to haul, and customer education is key. As for the streams themselves, the swing from newspaper to cardboard over the past 10 to 15 years is amazing. So many of our customers have opted to move to larger bins simply because of all the cardboard they’re receiving. I’m curious to see how this will all play out going forward.
Waste360: What takeaways can attendees expect from your WasteExpo session?
Kevin Atkinson: I’ll be happy to share lessons from the standpoint of having worked for a large national company—managing more than 200,000 customers—to starting a business literally from scratch: two trucks, 1,200 subscription customers and no contracts. And I’ll offer recommendations on things like mentors, new versus used equipment, financing and more.