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Posted: Wednesday, June 27, 2018 12:00 am

We have the luxury, in America, not to think too much about our garbage. Toss a banana peel or an old pair of shoes in a can, push it to curb and it’s gone by the afternoon.

That’s not an accident or a fact of nature. That’s because people like Ron and Rebecca Miller of Peach State Disposal have spent years figuring out the best ways to get garbage transported away from people’s homes and to the landfill.

Peach State enters its 15th year providing curbside service to the residents of Walton County, but Miller has been in the business his whole life.

Miller attributes his affinity and inspiration for starting a garbage business to his mentor, Jeff Baxter, who ran a small collection company in his hometown of Cartersville.

“I did everything from riding on the back of garbage trucks, fixing leaking hydraulic hoses and mechanics, and even door-to-door sales,” Miller said.

After earning his Business degree from Georgia Southern University, Miller decided to learn the internal side of the business. So he landed a management position at a large corporate collection company, Waste Connections, in Cobb and Douglas counties.

It was there he got to know the business side of waste collection; the management, hiring, accounting and the marketing that goes into running a successful company.

However, Miller felt limited on what he could accomplish by working for a such a large company and decided to set out on his own.  

In the early 2000’s, Miller started looking around the Southeast for a place  he could start his own waste collection company.

The easiest route would have been to start in his own hometown, but he didn’t feel it was right to compete with his mentor who had taught him everything about the business. Miller began to look for an area where the population and growth were at numbers to make it profitable to collect waste, but at the same time wasn’t too crowded with competition.

After careful research, he set out for Walton County.

“We started Peach State Disposal in June 2004 with no contacts in Walton County and zero customers,” Miller said, “It was just me with one truck and my steadfast wife, Rebecca, in our home office signing up new customers.  She would be answering the phone with one hand and feeding our newborn with the other.”

The first few years were tight.

“We were as broke as the Ten Commandments,” Miller said.

But Walton County’s growth and hiring good people, like first employee Bruce Buckley, who is still with the company today, helped them grow into a thriving company.

Through the years of hard work, Peach State grew a healthy customer base which helped them ride out the crash of 2008.

Since Peach State’s growth is so dependent on real estate market growth, it took a few years before the company was back to growing at a healthy rate.

Peach State has since expanded beyond Walton County and now serves Rockdale and Newton counties too. Today, its customer base has more than doubled since the market downturn.

Miller thinks his biggest challenge now is filling in the gaps in the territories Peach State already covers, rather than stretching itself too thin.

Plus, the company’s small size is their biggest advantage.

“We can offer much better service than a bigger company,” Miller explained, “With us being local, if we miss a pick-up, or a busy family forgets to put their trash out, we can swing by and still get it rather than having the customer wait until their next pickup day.”

And that gets back to what makes this business unique. People only notice when their old pair of shoes they throw out doesn’t go away.

Miller says he does feels the pressure of only being noticed when something goes wrong, but also knows his company is the best place to make sure nothing does.

 “We set out to provide exceptional service and plan on continuing for a long time to come,” he said.

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