OHIO — Rumpke, a Cincinnati-based waste and recycling company, celebrated their 85th anniversary earlier this year.
The company was founded in 1932 by William Rumpke, a hog farmer who essentially invented modern garbage collection practices when he began accepting trash to feed his hogs in lieu of payment for other services. As laws about what you can and can’t feed livestock changed, Rumpke’s business plan changed along with them.
The company has been family-owned and operated since 1932. Current owner Steve Rumpke is the grandson of the original founder, making it a third-generation family-run business.
“And the fourth generation is also involved,” Corporate Communications Supervisor Molly Yeager said. “It’s rare for a family business to make it to a third generation, let alone a fourth.”
The company operates 12 landfills, 17 transfer stations, and a fleet of over 1700 vehicles, and serves most of Ohio and Kentucky and parts of Indiana. Rumpke’s transfer station in Greenville opened in 1989, and currently employs 85 people. The transfer station is where trash from homes and businesses around Greenville is offloaded from smaller, traditional local garbage trucks, consolidated into large semi trailers, and shipped either to the company’s landfill in Colerain, or their recycling center in St. Bernard.
Recycling has always been a big part of the company’s identity, according to Yeager.
“I like to say we’ve been recycling since the beginning,” Yeager said. “The Rumpkes are a German family, and Germans are very practical. This was the Great Depression, and everybody was very serious about saving what you can, and about distinguishing between what you can and can’t use. It was very much a different time.”
Almost nine decades later, Rumpke has managed to give most of the communities it serves access to curbside recycling. The company recycled more than a billion pounds of refuse in 2016 alone. And it continues to expand.
“In September we broke ground on a new corporate headquarters in Colerain,” Yeager said. “So when it’s finished, we’re finally going to have all of our corporate employees in one location.”
The company is also attempting to expand into new ventures, such as creating and operating its own driver training program.
“There’s currently a shortage of CDL drivers, so we started our own program where, instead of paying for the training, we pay our drivers while they learn,” Yeager said.
And amid all this, the company’s Greenville location also continues to thrive, according to Yeager. Rumpke’s Greenville facility is currently hiring mechanics to work on the company’s fleet of vehicles.
“It’s continuing to grow as we grow,” Yeager said.
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