Sidney Torres IV, local businessman and former owner of SDT Waste & Disposal Services, said Monday, July 18, 2016 he will return to the New Orleans trash disposal business with a new venture. IV Waste will start private trash pickup service for local businesses in August 2016. (Photo courtesy IV Waste)
Local businessman Sidney Torres IV built a reputation as New Orleans’ very own celebrity trash king bringing waste disposal services back to the city in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. A decade later, Torres is getting back into the trash business.
In a Monday morning (July 18) Instagram post, Torres announced IV Waste, his latest venture, will begin garbage pickup in New Orleans and the wider metro area in August. The service is currently focused on private trash pick-up for restaurants, hotels and other area businesses.
Torres told NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune the new venture will be on the lookout for local government waste disposal contracts, though it wants to be selective about the work it takes on.
“If there’s a municipality that comes up and it makes sense and fits within our wheelhouse, then we’ll bid on it, ” Torres said.
Torres is former owner of SDT Waste & Debris Services, a business he built into a multi-parish trash empire before selling to IESI Corp. in 2011. SDT was known for its GPS-equipped garbage trucks and dousing smelly French Quarter streets with a lemon-scented spray.
Torres, a real estate developer, said he did not intend to return to the trash business after the sale. He went on to buy The Cove, a resort on the Bahamian island of Eleuthra he redeveloped and sold in 2015.
A video posted by Sidney D Torres IV (@sidneytorresiv) on
Torres started getting calls from former customers unhappy with their trash service when he returned to New Orleans. He found himself stopping his car to pick up trash or survey battered and overflowing trash bins.
“I’m the type of person who when I take on something, it engulfs me, ” Torres said.
Torres purchased IV Waste’s first garbage truck after the non-compete agreement from the SDT sale expired earlier this year. The company now has eight trucks and a maintenance yard in New Orleans East. Service starts Aug. 1.
Torres said more than 200 customers have arranged to switch to the service, including French Quarter establishments such as the Omni Royal Orleans and Antoine’s Restaurant. Trucks will also be picking up trash at restaurants in Metairie and surrounding areas.
The new venture has a lot in common with the old SDT Waste & Disposal.
Torres recruited much of the SDT management team and the new company will use the same lemon-scented spray to keep trash bins, sidewalk areas and trucks clean. Trucks will be equipped with GPS tracking technology and customers will have access to unique geo-codes to allow them to track nearby trucks and scheduled pick-ups from their smartphones.
Torres said the goal is to continue SDT’s emphasis on customer service but on a smaller scale. SDT employed 250 and held contracts in New Orleans as well as St. Bernard and St. Charles parishes at the time of its sale. IV Waste will be a smaller company, he said.
“My focus on this go around is to have that same feeling we had in the very beginning of SDT, ” Torres said. “I like to have a connection with my drivers and know my drivers and know their families.”
Is a public New Orleans garbage contract in the cards? SDT was a private disposal service before moving on to win public contracts in New Orleans and elsewhere in the region. The city’s sanitation contracts, which were extended three years ago, are good through 2016. Metro Disposal and Richard’s Disposal were slated to split $103 million in their extended deal.
Torres said he has already gotten calls from several subdivisions on the North Shore who are interested in hiring IV Waste for trash pickup.
Any contracts have to make sense for the size and scale of the company, Torres said. He doesn’t want to grow too fast.