WM sustainability report highlights waste-to-energy achievements

By Erin Voegele | January 04, 2016

Waste Management recently published its 2015 Sustainability Report, highlighting progress made in meeting its 2020 sustainability goals. The report provides updated data to the company’s full 2014 report titled “Creating a Circular Economy.” According to the report, green energy accounted for 13 percent of WM revenues in 2014.

The report discusses the concept of a circular economy, which focuses on the “use and reuse materials time and again, recycling them and reusing them, in a closed loop of innovation.”

“Avoiding the mining and extraction of new materials reduces demands on natural resources and reduces the carbon and other emissions that result from the manufacturing process,” explains MW in the report. “The concept works particularly well for metals, which are almost indefinitely reusable. For products like paper and metal, resource reuse is also generally cheaper than use of virgin materials.”

WM explains that it works with customers to reduce the amount of waste they generate and treat recyclables as a valuable commodity. MW also said it is working on way to extract value from organics. In addition, the company is continuing its work to convert waste that isn’t recycled into energy. “We continue to supply feedstock to waste-to-energy facilities and to convert methane from our landfills into energy and fuel,” said MW in the report. The company is also continuing to find ways to convert residuals from recycling into fuel products.  

The report indicates MW currently operates 135 landfill gas-to-energy facilities.  Overall, the company created enough energy to power than 1.08 million households in 2014, up from 1.07 million households in 2007. By 2020, MW has set a goal to create enough waste-based energy to power 2 million households.

According to the report, WM’s renewable energy generation resulted in potential avoided emissions of nearly 4.59 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2014, down slightly from 4.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2011.

A full copy of the report can be downloaded from the WM website.