Waste Management operates the largest network of landfills in its industry, with a reported 283 active sites managing the disposal of more than 125 million tons of waste per year. In addition, Waste Management manages 185 company-owned closed sites while in their respective post-closure or operations and maintenance phase. The company is worth soemthing like $20 billion dollars.
The company carries out a policy of operating to standards of safety and environmental compliance that go beyond regulatory requirements.
Waste Management is focused on solutions that improve the future of solid waste management, including bioreactor technology, which accelerates the decomposition of organic waste through the managed introduction of air and liquids into the waste mass.
Waste Management Inc trucks display the text “The Waste we collect helps power over 1 million homes”
Currently, the company is reported to be conducting research at 10 landfills to confirm the environmental benefits of bioreactor technology as an alternative method for managing landfill waste.
However, some say that efforts like creating a ‘green’ social network shouldn’t distract the public from the actual practices of Waste Management, Inc. The company has set themselves up for intense scrutiny through their green rebranding. Activists have said that they’d better be prepared to put their money where their mouth is, having made such aspirations public.
There seems to be a view in some quarters that Waste management Inc should be able, by being the greenest waste management company in the country to somehow get other companies taht are barely making any effort at all to imporve. They say that, Waste Management Inc. should do this by stepping up their environmental initiatives.
Waste Management Inc., are also percieved as having rebranded themselves as ‘green’ after several toxic spills and illegal dumping allegations in the 80s and an accounting scandal in 1998.
The same critics say that in the past their ads certainly have bordered on greenwashing and to an extent rely on unfounded claims. for example, that the waste they’ve collected has powered over 1 million homes.
Environmental critics point out that, powering homes should be compared with recycling, but then also claim that recycling waste saves far more energy than burning it could create, without establishing proof for that claim.
Waste Management Inc., also come in for criticism for operating trash incinerator, which campaigners say are the leading source of dioxins, which are highly toxic carcinogenic chemicals. They complain that signs on their trucks say ‘Last year we recycled enough paper to save over 41 million trees’, yet they recycle less than 5% of the trash they collect. Again, the counterpoint to this would be that WMI can only operate within the US economy and recycle at the rate that markets and municipal funding will allow.
Waste Management Inc., would also, due to its size be likely to be the biggest US polluter, and yet the company also receives criticism for that unremarkable fact.
There are however reports on the web that a study of the waste hauling industry in 1986 by the Council on Economic Priorities found that Waste Management is the least law abiding waste hauler in America. At that time they had a poor record of environmental compliance among waste haulers.
Waste Management is extensively involved in landfill gas utilization, which comprises landfill-gas-to-energy (LFGTE) production. The company is reported to have over 115 LFTGE facilities, and has plans to add another 60 facilities by 2012.
Waste Management Inc., operates LFGTE facilities to collect methane and carbon dioxide gases emitted during the natural anaerobic decomposition of organic waste in the landfill. These gases are then used to fuel engines or turbines that generate electricity to distribute power to the surrounding area.
As a result of the new installations, Waste Management is collecting more landfill gas than ever
At the start of 1971, Waste Management is reprted to have purchased the Calumet Industrial Development (CID) disposal facility, a landfill located south of Chicago in the Calumet City area. This marked the company's first foray into the handling of hazardous wastes.
In 1975 Waste Management separated its chemical waste management operations from the rest of its businesses, forming Chemical Waste Management as a separate division of the company.
The company also operates approximately 150 e-cycling centers throughout the US through its subsidiary, WM Recycle America. In January 2010, the company announced that WM Recycle America was implementing the Responsible Recycling (R2) Program for electronics recyclers, which establishes accepted practices to help protect the environment and workers’ health and safety while e-waste is handled.
In addition these practices this allows third parties to monitor activity and create greater transparency in the e-cycling sector.
Waste Management operates the largest network of landfills in its industry, it has a reported a reported 283 active sites managing the disposal of more than 125 million tons of waste per year. It has a chequered history for waste regulations compliance and yet that may be due to its size.