By Ann Luongo
While there are many wonderful companies on the Cape and South Shore areas that make it their business to give back to the communities that helped put them on the map, few raise that bar as high as to which Nauset Disposal continuously strives.
When owner Shawn DeLude first decided to go into the disposal business, he was a one-man show, quite literally. The entire business consisted of DeLude, himself, a pair of gloves, and an old pickup truck. But his story begins long before then.
“After graduating from Nauset high school in 1989, I took a summer job at a local rubbish company, Bayside Disposal. Bayside Disposal was managed by two founding brothers, Bruce Cole and Flip Morton from Wellfleet,” said DeLude. “It was a great experience, working outdoors, exploring the Cape and learning what it meant to work hard at preserving customer satisfaction.”
Working for a local company taught him the importance of good customer relationships and the importance of integration into the local community. But, in 1993, Bayside Disposal was purchased by Browning Ferris Industries (BFI) and there were local positions for all the employees … except for him.
Will attending classes at Cape Cod Community College, DeLude tried his hand at various local employment opportunities, and took to fishing and masonry jobs to stay financially afloat.
“Within a year, BFI was looking to fill an opening in their accounting department and I was able to secure the position and worked there for approximately six years,” he said. “With an excellent chance to gain a deeper knowledge of the inner-workings of the business, I had the opportunity to participate in the accounting, operations and sales departments and gained a lot of industry experience.”
Over time, however, he realized that the corporate world didn’t seem to care about their customers as he felt they should, and he left BFI to help manage a startup company in Orleans. After a rapid buildup, this new company sold to BFI after just a few short years and DeLude was, once more, out of a job.
Now armed with the local knowledge and coupled with corporate experience, he felt it was time to create a company that was not only local, but would also be service-minded and environmentally friendly.
“I decided that this company would be committed to supporting local businesses and keeping money on Cape Cod. In 1999, I opened Nauset Disposal, and our mission statement said it all: ‘To provide outstanding customer service while conducting business with respect for the environment and a continuing dedication to our local communities’.”
Today, Nauset Disposal serves every town on Cape Cod and just recently expanded its residential offerings to the greater Plymouth area. Now, in addition to the Cape, the company also serves Wareham, Plymouth, Carver, Plympton, Kingston and Halifax, and it has about 50 full-time, year-round employees. It’s come a long way from the one-man operation it once was.
“At Nauset Disposal, we believe being local isn’t just a catchy phrase that’s often thrown about,” said DeLude. “We believe that the economic health of our customers and community are what ensure our sustainability. We feel that providing the best service possible is a must and is without compromise. Excellent service begins with providing customer support, fair pricing, safe, clean, environmentally friendly trucks and equipment coupled with community involvement.”
With the current volatility in the recycling industry, he added, Nauset has made a decision to focus on cleaning up Cape Cod’s single-stream recycling.
“We’ve leaned on our drivers to know what’s recyclable and what’s not, and help to educate our customers. I think this shows our commitment to the environment and, just over the last few months, we’ve seen our residential contamination rates decrease dramatically. Educating our customers on the recycling process plays a key role in ensuring we make a positive contribution to the issue at hand in our region, and my employees have done a great job in helping to move this initiative along.”
Aside from residential and commercial trash removal, Nauset Disposal offers single-stream recycling, dumpster rentals and roll-off containers, temporary fencing, and portable restrooms for job sites and events. They also have a line of Elegant Restroom Trailers which are often used for weddings, galas and events (capecodportables.com) from Southeastern Massachusetts to Newport, RI.
Going forward, DeLude said, he wants to continue to keep things local and put the company’s efforts into where we live.
“I’d like to see us focusing more on sustainable practices with our commercial customers, helping to reduce the amount of material that enters in to the waste stream, as well as increasing recycling participation while continuing to decrease contamination rates,” he said. “I’d also like to see more collaboration with local facilities and transfer stations, working with disposal facilities to figure out a more cost effective solution for all waste streams: mixed solid waste, recycling and cardboard.”
He added that he’d like to see a program for Cape Cod’s commercial food waste in the near future and have the ability to roll in residential food waste after that. This is the next step in creating a more sustainable Cape Cod, he said, citing that MassDEP regulations ban the disposal of food and other organic wastes from businesses and institutions that dispose of more than one ton of these materials per week. “However, even if we had hauling in place to pick up this food waste, there’s no place for us to take it, which presents a major problem.”
When it comes to giving back and supporting the local community, Nauset Disposal is a company founded on the basis of supporting the communities in which we live, work and play.
“We give back to our community because we feel it’s our corporate social responsibility and it’s important to support our employees, friends, neighbors, family members and acquaintances. As a successful local business, we feel we have a responsibility to help those that are less fortunate and contribute to the common good,” Delude said.
“A few years ago, we surveyed our employees to find out what causes they care most about to help us determine where we should be focusing our community investment funds. Based on the results, we decided to focus the majority of our efforts on basic needs, the environment, children’s needs and veteran’s services.”
The company supports approximately 130 organizations each year through in-kind donations of equipment or services, monetary donations or through fundraising at events and hosts an annual event called Trash Bash, which raises money for designated nonprofits. “In 2018, we had nearly 800 people at the event and raised $40,000, the proceeds of which went to 7 local nonprofit beneficiaries,” said DeLude.
The company also organizes Curb Hunger, a food drive in November that benefits the Family Pantry of Cape Cod.
DeLude is humbled by the time his employees give to the company’s causes. “Many of our employees volunteer for nonprofit fundraisers and events, sit on boards and committees, educate the public at seminars and sit on panels at local conferences, they visit schools to talk to children about recycling and how they can help the environment. One of our managers just recently donated his time to volunteer for Operation Reel Heroes, an event that takes Wounded Warriors out on the water for a day of fishing.”
Donations aren’t always the answer to an organizaition’s need.
“We try to get creative with the organizations we support and think outside the box as much as possible. Donations are not always the answer – sometimes reaching a larger audience is more valuable than a monetary contribution.”
DeLude truly believes that Nauset Disposal can – and should – have a positive impact on the communities it serves. As it grows, he said, it will remain committed to continue to be good neighbors and support the areas it servea, while cleaning and greening the Cape, one stop at a time.