RSWA Sues Local Recycler

There’s a strange ongoing saga between the Rivanna Solid Waste Authority and local recycling facility operator Peter van der Linde that I haven’t written about here simply because it’s too confusing to be summed up in a couple of paragraphs. But I’ll take a stab at it here.

Back in April, Dave McNair wrote a long feature about the local man’s Zion Crossroads facility, which is a state-of-the-art, single-stream, mechanical sorting recycling operation. It’s a natural addition to the 800 dumpsters that the home builder rents out throughout the region. He’s long hauled waste to Allied’s Zion Crossroads waste transfer station, where he pays to deposit the contents of those dumpsters, so it’s logical that he’d want to recover some of that money by recycling the waste and turning it into valuable scrap. Somewhere along the way, the RSWA started charging a $16/ton service fee to everybody other than Allied to dump their Albemarle-originating waste at Allied’s facility, which haulers aren’t happy about, because they can’t see what the RSWA has to do with it, and also because they figure it gives Allied an upper hand. (Waste from outside Albemarle is $34/ton.)

Now the RSWA has filed a lawsuit against Van der Linde, alleging that he’s had his haulers lie routinely, claiming to be hauling trash from outside Albemarle, thus depriving them of an unknown quantity of money. Van der Linde counters that it wouldn’t make any sense to lie, because then he’d have to pay more, and he also claims to have surveillance video showing that his guys routinely weren’t even asked where their load originated. He says that this is really about the RSWA trying to shut him down because he’s getting all of the waste business at his facility, which charges less, thus ending their monopoly. In a statement, the RSWA denies it, saying that they’re simply trying to claim money that he owes them.

If you’re confused, Tasha Kates sums all of this up in today’s Daily Progress. I know I’m puzzled. It just doesn’t make any sense for the RSWA to sue over getting too much money. I must be missing something.

11 thoughts on “RSWA Sues Local Recycler”

  1. I too must be missing something.

    If Van der Linde can do it better – economically and envionmentally, shouldn’t the RWSA be lauding him and contracting with him rather than fight him?

    From the DP: “… a trial is set for June 2010 …” Wow. At least it’ll all be over soon.

  2. It feels a bit like RWSA is out to justify their stake in this whole thing. Listening to Van der Linde on the radio the other day he claims a 95% recycle rate on all trash received. That is without any sorting before the stuff getting to his sorting machine. So no truck loads of recycling to carry to McIntire anymore. I need only convince my trash hauler to use Van der Linde. I do not really understand what the $16 RWSA tax is for anyway. What value are they adding to the trash disposal or recycling? Surely not the lonely surly guy at the McIntire Recyling Center. I also find it interesting that Van der Linde has offered to strategically place containers at no cost to the taxpayer around the country and city for the public to use. What am I missing? Sounds pretty good.

  3. Isn’t the RSWA run by the same (I-am-right-you-are-wrong) guy who runs the RWSA? You know — ‘we must have a $200 Million dam (and other stuff, whose costs shall remain unknown) because I’m in charge and I said so!’ Seems like the attitude simply has trickled down into both of these authorities.

  4. Same guy who now says the dam will cost less –just forget about VDOT and all the cost to upgrade the 64 embankment, oh and it’s less but we can’t give you an estimate, but we need several million more from the rate-payers to re-design the dam again which may not work. Yup same guy

  5. Actually to be fair this guy is just following marching orders. It’s been clear for awhile that this entire authority needs to be re-structured to become a board 100% elected by the citizens. Just having token elected representatives wouldn’t change the fact that staff will run rings around them.

    Any smart lawyers out there that know the procedure to disband these Authorities and get real representation for the rate-payers ?

  6. TJ,

    Careful what you wish for.

    If you move to direct elected representation on all bodies of this sort, you may well wind up with folks much more interested in the political process and making a name for themselves than in anything else.

    Many capable, motivated citizens who could bring a lot to the table in terms of sound ideas and experience and whose sole motivation is to make sure that the basic, mundane mechanisms and infrastructure of a community work well–and who have little or no interest in public recognition–would opt not to serve if doing so meant slogging through periodic political campaigns.

  7. At this point anything is better than what we’ve got and I’d rather have the opportunity to throw them out if they displaced the incompetence of these boards. This is the pretty much the same bunch that has been there for over a decade and look at the mess we’re in. I would welcome the political process at this point. If you look at the City and County elected school boards you’ll see that in this community many competent people are willing to go through the process.

  8. Simpler still, RSWA is Tony Soprano and Peter van der Linde is the young punk, new on the scene, who is refusing to pay the mob their skim. And, oh by the way, doing a better job, cheaper.

  9. Despite the DP article and Waldo’s cogent summary I still find this very difficult to understand.

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