ERP = Enterprise Resource Planning
SAP = Systemanalyse und Programmentwicklung which roughly translates into System Analysis and Programming.
Now, since I work as a SAP BASIS (sys. admin.) administrator at a managed services hosting company so I actually get to work with multiple companies SAP landscapes daily so I can easily play devils advocate for SAP here. Maybe part of the problem for Waste Management is that they have a less than stellar implementation partner. It can easily take months for the developers to tailor SAP for the customer, often so long that you might think that writing something from the ground up makes more sense and maybe sometimes it does. Really, it depends on the scope of your business and what you really want to do and seriously, the scope of SAP is very large even without any of the add on products. However, as to losing the system, neither company should have lost it though I have my doubts that there are many IT managers who could manage to get any version of SAP installed and working on their own so the Waste Management IT Manager and their staff might just have tried to install the demo but failed and then chucked it.
As I really see it though, if the business can't clearly define their needs then they are going to just end up wasting lots of money no matter what software they are working with, I have seen it with .NET, Java, and php/mysql as well as SAP.