Priority Waste to take over residential contracts from GFL

By: Nick Powers | Metro | Published June 14, 2024

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METRO DETROIT — The lime green trucks picking up refuse in your neighborhood will soon be yellow.

Green For Life Environmental, the waste management company that has contracts with many municipalities in metro Detroit, recently sold the residential trash collecting assets to Priority Waste. News of the sale hit social media before GFL was able to put out its official statement.

“Social media got ahead of the process,” said Matt Allen, Priority Waste’s director of public relations and government affairs.

Metro Detroit communities will change over on July 1. Residents of these communities will still be able to use their GFL bins. Garbage collection dates will remain the same. The July 4 holiday will still cause a one-day delay of service. Allen said those who are having issues with GFL should continue to contact them until July 1. GFL will retain its commercial contracts.

“This sale encompasses assets and collection operations within Oakland, Washtenaw,

Livingston, Macomb, Genesee, and Wayne Counties,” John Addison, GFL General Manager for Wayne, stated in a letter to employees. “It includes the transfer of contracts with 75 municipal customers as well as 70,000 homeowner’s associations and subscription residential customers.”

Allen said talks for the acquisition began earlier in 2024. The Detroit transition to Priority Waste from GFL happened earlier in June. In Sterling Heights, the company is about a month into its changeover. According to Allen, the transition in both communities has gone well so far.

The Fraser City Council unanimously gave approval for the city manager to sign a letter of assignment with Priority Waste at its June 13 meeting.

At the meeting, Fraser Mayor Michael Lesich questioned if the approval was needed. Fraser City Attorney Donald DeNault explained that the city’s contract with GFL has an assignment clause. This allows GFL to sign things over to Priority Waste. According to DeNault, if the city had a good reason, it could have switched over to a different waste management company.

“Typically, most communities are going to have to approve it,” DeNault said.

Hundreds of GFL employees impacted by the switch will be terminated, though they will be able to reapply for their jobs with Priority Waste.

“Our understanding is that Priority intends to extend offers to the majority of employees, as it will be imperative to maintain continuity of service,” Addison stated in the letter.

Allen said the company is working to make the transition a seamless process so there are no interruptions in service. He said the company has bought approximately 500 pieces of equipment from GFL. This equipment will be assessed by Priority Waste in the coming months.

“We’re going to do an overhaul of their fleet,” Aleen said. “It’s a very deliberative process. We’re going to overhaul, rebuild, evaluate each one based on age and hours of running time.”

GFL did not respond to requests for comment at press time.