Judy Cormier learned Wednesday that her garbage hauler went out of business the day before, leaving her with barrels of trash.
To make matters worse, the Eldorado resident’s credit card was automatically charged this month for service through June and she now must seek a refund.
Pecos Waste Management shutting down abruptly with no notice was uncharacteristic of the company, Cormier said, describing its service as otherwise stellar.
“If they had transitioned and said, ‘Hey, in a month we have to stop, so as of this date you have to find someone new’ — I get that,” Cormier said. “But to just out of nowhere say, ‘Boo! As of yesterday, we don’t exist.’ It’s a mystery.”
The company’s website has the same going-out-of-business message that was emailed to customers.
“After almost six years servicing the Pecos valley and surrounding areas it is with a heavy heart that Pecos Waste Management will no longer be able to provide trash and hauling services effective April 20, 2021,” the website said. “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic this last year and the inability to find dependable, quality employees, we have no other choice than to close our business.”
It also said a legal team was working on how to refund money and empty trash bins.
The phone number took callers to a full voicemail box.
The company also isn’t listed in the New Mexico Secretary of State’s business registry.
Cormier said she and many others must quickly find another trash hauler. There is an added hassle of disposing of trash that is already in the company’s barrels, she said, because most haulers will only take trash in their own containers.
“What happens to the trash and cans we have sitting there?” she said.
She switched to Pecos a year ago, she said, because she was unhappy with the service provided by Waste Management, a larger national company.
Pecos would pick up items for recycling every week — including glass — and for an additional $10 monthly fee would take barrels placed by the garage rather than at the street, Cormier said.
Waste Management did recycling runs every two weeks, didn’t accept glass and only picked up containers at the street, she said, which was difficult because she has a long driveway.
Even with the added fees, Pecos was less expensive, she said.
Cormier’s neighbor, Gloria Pendlay, said she also was taken aback by Pecos cutting off service with no warning.
“It seems to have been handled badly,” Pendlay said. “We don’t know what the reasons were for it to have been handled in just this way.”
Pendlay said she learned through an area Nextdoor chat about a Santa Fe waste hauler that would consider servicing Eldorado if enough residents expressed interest.
The company, Ibarras Trash Services, agreed to take trash from Eldorado residents.
It offers the same service that Pecos did but charges about 50 percent more, she said, adding that she’s not thrilled about the higher price.
“I’m Mrs. Cheap. Anything that costs me money costs too much,” she said. “But I’m kind of over a barrel.”
Pendlay said she also doesn’t want to resume with Waste Management, even though it charges less, because she doesn’t care to lug her garbage up a 300-foot driveway.
Pedro Ibarra, co-owner of Ibarras Trash, said the Pecos Waste owner phoned him about a week ago to ask whether he wanted to buy the routes for 500 customers.
Ibarra said his company is too small to take on that much new work, especially for rural residents who live too far from Santa Fe. Plus, his company is only licensed to operate in Santa Fe County, so he can’t serve areas in adjacent San Miguel County, he said.
So he turned down the offer.
But then about 30 people in Eldorado called the company, inquiring about whether it could pick up their trash. He decided to add a route for that area.
“We understand there’s a need, and someone has got to fill it,” Ibarra said.
Containers will be delivered to customers this week and trash pickup will begin Monday, he said.
Quentin Collins, another Eldorado resident, said he learned about Ibarras Trash after he had already paid for three months of Waste Management’s service.
Collins said he’s stuck with two full containers of trash. As a disabled veteran in a wheelchair, he can’t drive, making him unable to haul the garbage to the landfill.
Most likely, his two young sons will have to dig out the trash from those bins and put it in Waste Management’s barrels, he said.
He had spotted signs that Pecos Waste was in trouble, such as an Apache Ridge resident saying in an online forum that the company had halted service.
Still, he was surprised the company didn’t give some advanced notice, he said, because the owners must have planned the closure for some time.
“It was a bit disconcerting,” he said.