In the 1950's trash was usually collected by small private persons. In the year 1956 a Chicago area trash collection company was turned over to Dean Buntrock after the death of its previous owner. This is initially where Waster Management began its journey.
Expanding the Business..
In the 1960's the production of garbage was rapidly growing. Dean Buntrock strategically expanded him business by buying other businesses within the Chicago and Wisconsin area. Also during this time he met up with Wayne Huizenga. They talked about possibility one day joining each other’s businesses together.
Solid Waste Disposal Act
The Solid Waste Disposal Act was passed in the year 1965. It was passed due to the public’s growing knowledge of safe and efficient waste removal. Waste removal companies were now required to meet new standards that included; hygiene, and safety levels of disposal sites. This increased the cost of expenses and ultimately of doing business.
Joining of Forces
In the year 1968 Dean Buntrock & Wayne Huizenga decided to join forces. They agreed to collaborate their businesses to become Waste Management Inc. In this year they also became officially incorporated.
First Year of Operation
The first year of operation for Waste Management Inc. was a successful year all around. They were located in Illinois, Wisconsin and Florida. At the end of this year their revenues totaled $5.5 million.
Waste Management Goes Public
Waste Management went officially public in the year 1971. In this year they offered 320 000 shares. They then used the profits to launch one of the spectacular success stories in US history. Between the years 1971-1980 their revenue grew rapidly at 48% per year. In 1979 the earnings were almost 10% of sales!
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
In 1976, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act was passed. It addressed the issues of toxins and chemical waste. The act in its self-scared off most of the smaller companies, but Waste Management took advantage of the situation. They began to rapidly enlarge their presence in the toxic field.
In the year 1980 Waste Management had the largest number of toxic landfills. They then emerged as the industries leader.
Beginning of the End
In 1992 Waste Management began to manipulate their financial records.
In 1993 the Arthur Anderson firm was hired by Waste Management to review its financial records. For five years they helped Waste Management "Cook the Books". They conformed/ agreed to manipulate the accounting practices to show inflated earnings and to hide expenses.
Unraveling of Waste Management
In mid-July of the year 1997, the new CEO of Waste Management ordered a review of the companies accounting practices. This ultimately led to the restatement of the company’s financial records.
Waste Management then acknowledged that it had misstated its earnings by $1.7 billion dollars. At the time, it was the largest restatement in corporate history. When the news became public the shareholders of Waste Management lost more than $6 billion dollars. Their stocks had plummeted more than 33%.