The Common Sense Reasons I Own Waste Management Stock

Garbage.  Is it really going anywhere?  Of course it isn’t.  Garbage will always be around.  As long as human beings exist, so too will garbage.  If we have to eat, there will be garbage.  If we have to sleep, there will be garbage.  If we have to clothe ourselves, there will be garbage.  In nearly every single facet of our lives, once something is done, it’s turned into garbage.  What’s done with said garbage will always evolve.  How something turns into garbage will always evolve.  How that garbage is stored will always evolve.  But there will never, and I mean never, be a day where garbage doesn’t exist.  And that’s exactly why I own Waste Management stock. But for further clarification, let’s dive into my reasoning a bit more.

My Hershey Park experience

Recently I talked about the common sense reason I own Disney Stock.  In a very similar experience, I remember going on a family trip to Hershey Park and feeling a very similar vibe.  You didn’t have to know much about the company to sense the excitement around you.  People were spending money hand over fist without even thinking about it.  And all the chocolate I ate that trip reminded me that this brand isn’t going anywhere.  Just like Disney, I wound up buying Hershey stock as soon as I got home (full disclosure I sold it later for a profit and haven’t bought it back because it’s got enough similarities to Disney that I don’t need to own both).  I know.  I know.  We’re supposed to be talking about Waste Management.  Let’s get back to it.

You know what stood out to me when I went to Hershey Park the most?  It wasn’t all the chocolate.  It wasn’t all the rides.  It wasn’t even the smiles on my kids faces (OK sure that was true).  It was the sheer amount of Waste Management logos I saw around the place.  Said logos were on all the garbage cans throughout the park.  I kept thinking to myself, “damn, if this one park has all these garbage cans, what about all the other parks that have Waste Management cans?”  And then I got to thinking more.  This is just garbage cans.  What about the actual garbage?  Who’s actually taking care of this garbage?  What are they doing with the garbage? I realized that Waste Management isn’t going anywhere as long as they don’t muck up their business (no pun intended).

I was already a stock holder at this point but I remember this trip just completely hitting home to me that I made Waste Management my number one holding.  Personally I’m a fan of boring and unsexy stocks.  I like stocks that stick around, pay dividends and always have a chance to continue to grow.  Again, I don’t want to get into too much fundamentals or technical analysis because that’s not really my thing.  Have I don’t my research?  Sure.  Do I pay attention to the company?  Barely.

The storing of garbage

I remember once seeing this crazy documentary about garbage on PBS.  It was incredibly fascinating.  Basically the program followed a can of garbage on its journey from New York City to the myriad of stops across the country and sometimes even out of the country.  It blew me away.  And then to find out that the United States basically has these massive underground garbage dumps was even crazier.  The sheer operation of it all was absolutely mind boggling.  We’re not even talking about above ground landfills here.  And then you’re talking about covering up the smell.  The amount of distance below the surface these dumps have to be.  The amount of chemicals and sealing operations for this garbage.  We’re not even talking about oceans and other places of garbage storage.  Seriously, it’s absolutely insane.  I’m not even really getting into it at crazy detail but when you see what it takes for just one can of garbage to make it from a person’s kitchen to its final destination, you realize just how massive this operation is.  Multiply that by nearly every garbage can not just in New York City, but the state, then United States, and then the entire World.  Then add to this that Waste Management has a massive market share of the garbage industry and you start to begin to understand just how hard it would be to stop this company.  They are involved in EVERY single facet of all this.  We’re talking multiple businesses with crazy room to grow.  Why?  Because eventually the storing of garbage is only going to get harder (because we’re  running out of room) and more expensive.  And who will be on the cutting edge of figuring this out?  Waste Management.  And you can bet your ass they’re going to charge a pretty penny for it all.

The recycling of garbage

It’s not just storing of garbage that this company has their hands in, it’s the recycling part of it.  I think of a massive garbage company like Waste Management almost like big oil in its prime and even today.  Think of Exxon Mobil and clean energy.  For them to survive clearly they’re going to advertise that they’re into clean energy.  They’re going to spend billions on the technology not to mention charge billions for people to use it.  But at their core, they’re still an oil company.  My point is that they play both sides.  A Waste Management is very similar.  They’re all about the environment.  They’re all about coming up with the latest tech for recycling garbage.  But at their core?  They’re a garbage company.  They specialize in the removal and storage of garbage.  Still though, they make money from ALL of it.  Now, I’m not saying a company like Exxon can survive just being an oil company when clean energy is taking a strong foothold.  However, if they adjust and adapt, they’ll be fine.  What’s amazing about Waste Management is that garbage isn’t going anywhere.  Garbage isn’t like oil where we’re trying to get rid of our reliance on it.  If anything, garbage will just keep continuing to grow as populations increase and we produce more goods.  I simply can’t see garbage going away.  And as long as Waste Management doesn’t screw up their dominance in it, I’ll be a shareholder.

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