Operations

We collect solid waste

We collect solid waste Waste Management provides solid waste collection services for residential, industrial, municipal and commercial customers in 48 states, the District of Columbia, Canada and Puerto Rico. With nearly 26,000 collection and transfer vehicles, we operate the largest trucking fleet in the waste industry, collecting over 80 million tons of solid waste each year. The company serves more than 20 million customers, offering a wide range of services, from picking up household trash at a single-subscription residence to providing comprehensive waste programs for large national customers with hundreds of locations.

We dispose of waste

Waste Management has the largest number of landfills in the industry. The company's 293 active landfill sites have an average remaining permitted life of 22 years. Utilizing the most advanced engineering, construction and monitoring methods, these landfills serve the disposal needs of geographic markets across the U.S. and Canada and adhere to the highest standards of safety and environmental responsibility.

We transport waste

With the large volume of solid waste generated from urban markets across North America, it is not always feasible or economical to transport waste directly from the collection point to the landfill. Waste Management has 346 strategically-located transfer stations to consolidate, compact and load waste from collection vehicles into long-haul trailers or rail cars for transport to landfills. This operation improves the utilization of collection equipment by minimizing transportation time and efficiently moving large volumes of waste to disposal sites.

We recycle

Waste Management is the largest collector of recyclable materials from businesses and households in the U.S. and Canada. Through its 146 material recovery facilities, the company processed over five million tons of recyclable commodities in 2002. While recycling continues to gain momentum as a viable part of the waste stream, the industry is highly fragmented and current processing capacity far exceeds demand. In early 2003, the company formed a new recycling organization, Recycle America Alliance (RAA) - now called WM Recycle America - to optimize capacity and improve profitability by combining assets and operations with other key domestic recycling processors and marketers. This Alliance, which is the nation's largest recycling company, provides services such as recycling, materials brokerage, container processing and trading, an activity that helps manage a company's exposure to commodity price volatility.

We convert waste into energy

With 16 waste-to-energy facilities across the U.S., Waste Management's wholly owned subsidiary Wheelabrator Technologies Inc. has the capacity to burn more than 23,800 tons of waste per day, using trash as fuel to generate electrical or steam energy. Together, these energy plants produce up to 670 megawatts of electric energy per hour, enough to power almost 600,000 homes. The process of converting waste to energy was pioneered by Wheelabrator more than 25 years ago, and in that time the company has processed over 100 million tons of municipal solid waste to energy, saving more than 150 million barrels of oil while generating 50 billion kilowatt hours of electricity. The conversion of waste to energy represents a beneficial use of trash that would otherwise be deposited in landfills and indicates Waste Management's commitment to progressive alternatives for the management of solid waste.

We power trucks with natural gas

Converting diesel-fueled trucks to clean-burning natural gas is one of the ways in which Waste Management is working to provide environmental solutions that promote clean air. The use of natural gas instead of diesel fuel in these trucks reduces air emissions by an amount equivalent to taking about 27,800 cars off the road. WM currently owns and operates 12 natural gas fueling stations.

We use landfill gas for energy

Methane gas is a reliable, renewable energy source that is produced naturally as waste decomposes in landfills. For many years, Waste Management has worked with businesses, industries and public utilities across America to find beneficial uses for this gas, which can be collected and used directly as medium Btu gas for industrial use or sold to gas-to-energy plants to fuel engine or turbine driven generators that produce electricity. Waste Management currently supplies landfill gas to 72 gas-to-energy projects in 22 states. Altogether, these projects supply more than 200 megawatts of electricity, or enough power for 180,000 homes, while direct sales of methane gas to industrial users replace over two million barrels of oil each year.

We protect the environment

Compliance with regulatory requirements surrounding environmental issues is just the beginning of WM's leadership in promoting good and responsible use of land, air and water. Waste Management works to make a difference in the environment in every aspect of its business, with programs that use natural resources for a greater good.