Waste War: the fight over trash and recycling

"All I ever wanted to do was recycle," says Peter Van der Linde, who opened a state-of-the-art Material Recovery Facility (MRF) in Zion Crossroads in 2009. The 100,000 square-foot facility uses high-tech machines and manual labor to sort through trash and recycling, and since opening it has transformed the local trash business–and  "upset the status quo" in the area trash business.

In addition to being sued by the Rivanna Solid Waste Authority, his facility has been vandalized, he was blackmailed, and corporate haulers in the area have fought to close him down.

"People were trying to use our agency to irritate Mr. Van der Linde," said Valley Department of Environmental Quality Waste Manager Graham Simmerman, who was in charge of issuing Van der Linde's DEQ permits for both his construction and demolition and household trash recycling operations. According to Simmerman, numerous anonymous complaints were made about Van der Linde’s facility, starting from the day he broke ground, all of them unfounded. Simmerman called the anonymous complaints “extremely frustrating” because his agency had to diligently investigate each one.

Simmerman, who calls Van der Linde's facility "the cleanest in the region," said he suspected the calls were from players in the trash business because Van der Linde's facility is "upsetting the status quo" by diverting waste "away from the RSWA and BFI/Allied Waste/Republic Services."


Wasted revenue? Authority realized in 2005 station didn't track originsPublished on Apr 20th, 2009Untold millions in revenue may have been lost here, at Allied Waste's transfer station at Zion Crossroads, between 1998 and 2005. PHOTO BY JEN FARIELLO As reported in a...read more
COVER- What a Waste: Is the trash Authority going obsolete?Published on Apr 2nd, 2009 "The landfill of the future just came to town," says Peter Van der Linde, who recently opened a $11 million recycling facility near Zion Crossroad that could solve our waste...read more