Huizenga grew up in the waste collection business, working as a hauler as an adolescent. After graduating from law school and practicing law for a time, Peter joined his cousin, Wayne Huizenga, in the family garbage business, which would become Waste Management in 1968. After years of growth, Peter helped take the company public in 1972, and served as its director for 30 years.
According to former Waste Management CEO Dean Buntrock, Huizenga was instrumental in facilitating the company’s success in the early years.
“It's hard to put into perspective,” Buntrock said, according to Crain’s. “[Waste Management] went public with $10 million in revenue, and a million and a half was the Huizenga part. Going back in those early days, his mother had to sign a lot of guarantees and paper … In that way, Peter was certainly key, because a lot of things wouldn't have happened [without him].”
In a 2005 profile with Crain’s, Peter noted that while Wayne was the figurehead of Waste Management, he was more ingrained in the day-to-day operations of the company in his later years.
"I'm the go-to guy. Wayne is Mr. Big," he said. "A lot of the family has moved away. Of my generation, I'm the one who lives here year-round."
Peter Huizenga’s death comes less than two months after Wayne Huizenga died at the age of 80.