In 2005, methane gas from Waste Management’s Next Generation
Technology landfill near Montreal began powering the local Cascades
paper mill. Gas from the landfill is recovered and transported
through an eight-mile pipeline to the plant in Saint-Jérôme,
KEEPING AMERICA BEAUTIFUL
| In an effort to create cleaner, greener communities, Waste
Management has embarked on a new program with Keep America
Beautiful, Inc., designed to improve the environment through
sustainable, local solutions.
Waste Management is the leading provider of comprehensive waste and environmental
services in North America. Based in Houston, Texas, the company serves municipal,
commercial, industrial and residential customers throughout North America. The
company is strongly committed to a foundation of financial strength, operating
excellence and professionalism.
Waste Management, combined with its wholly owned subsidiary Recycle America,
is North America’s largest recycler, handling 5.8 million tons of commodities
each year, and saving more than 70 million trees and enough energy to power 1.6
Keep America Beautiful, established in 1953, is the nation’s largest volunteer-based
community action and education organization, with 1,000 affiliates and participating
organizations. This national nonprofit forms public-private partnerships and
programs that engage individuals to take greater responsibility for improving
communities through litter prevention, waste reduction and beautification efforts.
The Great American Cleanup™ is one of its many programs that encourage
people to care for communities through volunteer participation.
The 2006 program involves 35 grants to organizations within Keep America Beautiful’s
national network for a wide variety of stewardship, community outreach and educational
“Helping America think green and clean is our business. Waste Management
collects, recycles or disposes of thousands of tons of America’s trash
each day—and we want to do more,” said Everett Bass, vice president
of community relations and public sector services for Waste Management. “Waste
Management wants to challenge communities to think green, to accept responsibility
toward our environment and to find local solutions to keeping America beautiful.”
The wide range of programs in which Waste Management participates reflects the
diverse interests and needs of the communities involved. These programs tackle
electronics recycling, provide hands-on environmental education, support public
outreach through the media, conduct tree plantings and beautification efforts,
and develop recycling events. Support of these initiatives marks Waste Management’s
continuing commitment to local community quality of life. Through its efforts,
the company raises building awareness about important resources, like landfills,
for safe and effective waste management; how waste can become an alternative
energy source; and recycling.
Waste Management also partners with Keep America Beautiful as a national sponsor
for Keep America Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup™.
Every time we recycle or use landfill gas to create clean energy, we not only
help the planet, we also conserve considerable amounts of energy and natural
resources,” Bass said.
For example, the company’s almost 100 renewable energy projects produce
enough electricity to power more than 800,000 homes and save the equivalent of
8.2 million barrels of oil per year.
“Waste Management believes that recycling and green energy alternatives
make a positive impact on communities across America,” Bass said.
This is just one of the latest examples of businesses across the
world trying to cut costs through use of alternative energy. In the
case of Cascades, landfill gas is replacing 75 percent of the mill’s
natural gas usage and should help meet a large part of its energy
requirements for the next 10 years. It is also reducing carbon dioxide
emissions by 540,000 tons a year—the equivalent of removing
about 120,000 cars from the roads.
The paper mill’s 10-year contract to use Waste Management’s
landfill gas as a cost-efficient, alternative energy source is credited
with keeping the plant open after rising fuel costs threatened the
continued operation of the Saint-Jérôme manufacturing
facility, which was built in 1892.
We ask ourselves, where does our responsibility as a company end
and our responsibility as members of the community and custodians
of the earth begin,” said David Steiner, CEO of Waste Management,
Inc. “I am so very proud that the renewable energy technology
not only was able to capture methane gas for a beneficial use, but
also save 315 jobs at this historic paper mill.”
Reduce, reuse, recycle: Most agree that conserving resources is the
environmentally responsible thing to do. However, that is easier
said than done. The challenge of making recycling a widespread practice,
supported by consumers and business alike, has been a hurdle in the
waste industry for many years.
Waste Management is working to overcome that hurdle. The company
provides leadership to make recycling a working, sustainable solution
for residential, commercial, municipal and industrial customers across
the United States and Canada.
Ultimately, we should do everything we can to benefit our own neighborhoods,
families, cities and quality of life,” Steiner said. “We
are stewards of the earth’s resources. This report lets stakeholders
know about our efforts—both internally and externally—to ‘Think
Through the resources of subsidiary WM Recycle America (WMRA), Waste
Management provides recycling programs that are cost-effective and
environmentally sound for cities, businesses and households. Waste
Management is the largest provider of recycling services in North
America, processing 5.8 million tons of commodities in 2005. At year-end
2005, the company operated 131 recycling locations in the United
States and Canada. It also operates or has operated eight glass-recycling
facilities, two plastics-recycling facilities and three electronics-recycling
Together, these facilities enable us to offer high-quality recyclable
feedstocks to mills worldwide,” Steiner said.
Waste Management has a history of leadership in the recycling industry.
The company was the first major solid waste company to focus on single-stream
recycling, which allows customers to commingle recyclable paper and
mixed containers in one bin for collection. The convenience of single-stream
recycling greatly increases participation, resulting in the recovery
of up to 30 percent more recyclable materials.
Waste Management uses state-of-the-art equipment to sort and process
recyclable paper, glass, plastics, metals and electronics. The company
has introduced innovative ideas, cutting-edge technology and advanced
systems to streamline everything from the collection of recyclable
materials to processing and marketing them.
Materials are recycled as follows:
Fiber. WMRA handles more than 4.2 million tons of fiber annually,
including more than 50 grades of office paper, printer waste, cardboard,
newspaper, and high grade de-inking and pulp substitutes. By recycling
more than 2.5 million tons of newspaper a year, the company saves
about 41 million trees. And by recycling more than 1.5 million tons
of cardboard, it recycles more than six billion boxes each year.
Glass. By recycling close to a million tons of glass annually, the
company keeps roughly 500 million pounds of mining waste from being
Plastics. Waste Management saves enough energy to power almost 116,000
houses for one year by recycling more than 229,000 tons of plastics
Metal. WMRA and Wheelabrator Technologies Inc.,
waste-to-energy subsidiary, process more than 371,000 tons of metals
annually. Through the recycling of more than 57,000 tons of steel
cans, Waste Management reduces greenhouse gases equivalent to taking
approximately 21,000 cars off the road each year.
Electronics. Waste Management also manages and recovers
electronic scrap materials. As the nation’s leading coast-to-coast
provider of electronics recycling services, WMRA offers services
end-of-life equipment recycling, collection events, mail-back programs
and drop-offs, to commodity marketing and brokerage.
In addition to a network of dedicated e-cycling facilities, the company
works with service partners and local Waste Management facilities
to offer collection and processing operations in more than 20 states.
Waste Management’s network of more than 80 drop-off locations
is the largest in the United States and Canada.
WMRA has played a leading role in product stewardship efforts, creating
successful electronics-recycling programs with companies such as
Sony and Best Buy. Waste Management was the first U.S. electronics
recycler to achieve ISO 9001 and 14001 certification for its regional
processing centers, and the first to develop an Environmental Stewardship
Pledge, publicly defining the company’s high standards for
managing and marketing electronic products and components.
Waste Management’s environmental standards have been employed
by two municipalities in their recycling programs. Last year, the
mayor of Little Rock, Ark., asked Waste Management to help the city
boost participation in recycling by area residents. Working with
local government, the company developed a year-round recycling education
program that taught residents how to recycle properly.
In addition to educational tours for local students at the material
recovery center in Little Rock, Waste Management also helped devise
a “Green Bin Instant Win” program that rewarded residents
for proper curbside recycling. The results were gratifying: In the
first few months, more than 700 residents requested new recycling
bins, and more than 5,000 people enrolled in the program. The city
experienced a 12-percent increase in tons recycled during this time.
Also in 2005, the city of Oakland, Calif., asked Waste Management
to help move the city toward its goal of 75-percent waste reduction
by the year 2010. The company took on the challenge, and helped launch
the largest new recycling program in the county’s history.
In a matter of weeks, Waste Management implemented an enhanced single-stream
recycling program, and delivered 60,000 recycling carts and 100,000
kitchen pails for food-scrap recycling throughout the city. The program
allows the city’s 400,000 residents to combine food scraps,
soiled papers and yard trimmings all in one cart for weekly pickup
and conversion into compost.
Waste Management helps private companies build successful programs,
as well. Waste Management’s ISO 14001 certified service group,
Upstream, helps large companies reduce waste, reuse materials and
capture and remarket recyclables on a large scale, as part of total
environmental management programs customized for each customer.
The ISO certification of Upstream demonstrates Waste Management’s
commitment to applying the highest environmental standards to programs
at customer locations. It means that Upstream has established an
environmental management system that meets stringent specifications
in such areas as determining the environmental impact of services,
developing environmental objectives and ensuring ongoing management
The certification is particularly noteworthy because it applies not
just to a particular location, as is often the case, but also to
all of Upstream’s 200 operating sites. For example, for many
businesses, recycling means sending waste products such as cardboard,
paper or construction debris to a waste-recovery plant. However,
some industrial waste products can be returned directly to the manufacturer
without ever leaving the site. Upstream division recently helped
Alcoa, the world’s largest producer of primary and fabricated
aluminum products, to do just that at its Massena, N.Y., manufacturing
At one plant, 75 percent of the non-hazardous waste stream consisted
of alumina, a key component in the aluminum production process. As
part of its “total waste management” contract with Alcoa,
Upstream helped devise a system to recover and reintroduce more than
20 tons of alumina per week, saving the company an estimated $600,000
annually in landfill and raw materials costs.
In addition to the traditional three “R’s”—reduce,
reuse, recycle—Waste Management has introduced a fourth “R” in
resource recovery. In its own backyard, Waste Management is seeking
out new ways for landfills to contribute to renewable energy solutions.
The company’s long-term vision is to change today’s landfill
into a source of clean energy to power homes and fuel vehicles.
We see a future in which the landfill becomes a form of resource
recovery instead of merely disposal,” Steiner said. “Today’s
modern, engineered landfill is an environmentally sound system for
solid waste disposal. All aspects of landfill operations are controlled
to ensure that the health and safety of everyone living and working
around the landfill are protected, and the environment is secure.”
Waste Management has taken a leading role in the development of
Next Generation Technology, which transforms landfills from waste
repositories into waste treatment
systems. At 10 landfills across the United States and Canada, Waste Management
is applying its Next Generation Technology to accelerate the decomposition
of waste. By circulating air, collected landfill liquid and other
liquids such as
stormwater or wastewater back through the waste mass in a landfill, the decomposition
of waste can occur in years instead of decades. This action improves compaction
and extends the useful life of the landfill without expanding its size.
Additionally, this technology produces more landfill gas over a shorter time,
allowing greater gas recovery, better emissions control and more efficient
gas-to-energy use. As a result, the landfill is stabilized more quickly, which
means the land
can be converted to other useful purposes sooner. The benefits of this technology
are being measured and analyzed for broader future use. Working with the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency, state agencies and leading researchers, Waste
Management contributes to studies of the environmental and economic benefits
of Next Generation Technology.
In another example of speeding up the natural processes of landfill decomposition,
Waste Management’s Riverbend Landfill in Portland, Ore., received an Excellence
in Engineering award from the American Academy of Environmental Engineering for
its unique approach to leachate management. Leachate is the liquid waste produced
by water passing through the solid waste in a landfill. The wet Pacific Northwest
climate generates significant volumes of leachate that must be removed from waste
cells and treated.
A number of treatment options involving filtration, distillation, evaporation
and wastewater treatment were considered, but in the end, something more innovative
was designed: a poplar tree farm. This tree farm employs an advanced drip irrigation
system for precision leachate application and extensive environmental monitoring
systems. This sustainable tree plantation plan ensures consistent harvesting
and leachate handling capacity far into the future. While managing the leachate
generated by the landfill, the trees also provide the added benefit of an attractive
visual buffer and wildlife habitat.
Growing new trees, recycling paper and generating electricity is part of Waste
Management’s daily business. As one of the largest collectors of recyclables
from businesses and households, Waste Management is taking the reduce-reuse-recycle
concept into every venue.
Liz Johnson is senior communications specialist with Waste Management, Inc.
Find out more at www.wm.com.