Carbon Footprint
We have been reducing our company-wide carbon footprint since 2005. In 2013 we continued that trend, cutting out emissions by another 175,000 metric tons. Compared to out 2005 baseline, we have cut our carbon footprint by over 50%.

The largest emission reduction over the past year came from the closure of our only waste-to-energy incineration facility. The Maine Energy Recovery Company (MERC) facility emitted roughly 100,000 Mg CO2e (metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents) per year. With the closure of the operation at the end of 2012, and full dismantling of the facility over the course of 2013-2014, we eliminated those combustion emissions from our carbon footprint.

MERC processed roughly 200,000 tons of MSW per year, and these tons did not simply disappear with the closure of the facility. Much of this tonnage has been redirected to other landfill facilities, each of which has a lower carbon footprint than MERC in terms of greenhouse gas (GHG) per ton. So the net impact of the decision to close the facility will be a decrease in disposal emissions.

Additional emission reductions were achieved through continued improvements to the gas collection systems at our landfills, as well as through fuel and energy efficiency measures in our fleet and facilities.

Since joining the voluntary EPA Climate Leaders program eight years ago, we have drastically reduced our overall carbon footprint. We now intend to continue our climate leadership within the industry by turning our attention to smaller emission reduction projects. Our goal will be to reduce the carbon intensity of our operations.

In January 2012, we were recognized by the EPA, the Association of Climate Change Officers (ACCO), the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), and The Climate Registry (TCR) with a Climate Leadership Award for Excellence in GHG Management.

2013 Greenhouse Gas Emissions
(metric tons CO2e)
Since 2005, we have cut our carbon footprint in half by reducing emissions from our operations. We also benefit the climate by finding new ways to conserve resources through recycling, organics recovery, and energy production. At Casella, protecting the climate means emitting less and recovering more.
Reduction in Greenhouse Gas Per Ton
We have begun to track our greenhouse gas emissions on an intensity basis, or in terms of emissions per ton of material received at our facilities. The downward trend in this chart shows that we have begun to decouple our emissions from our tonnage and business growth.
Continuing to Improve Our Environmental Impact
Having reduced our carbon footprint by over 50%, we will now focus on reducing our company-wide emissions on a per ton basis. We will achieve this intensity reduction goal through a continued focus on the strategies listed below.
Enhancing Gas Capture at our Landfills

To minimize landfill gas emissions, we focus on measures that improve the gas capture systems at each of our facilities. These measures include rapidly installing horizontal collectors, strategically employing low permeability intermediate cover, achieving comprehensive coverage with our vertical wells, and keeping our capture and cover systems well-tuned and well-maintained throughout the year. Through these efforts, we strive to exceed industry standards and achieve high capture efficiencies at each of our active landfills.

Fuel Efficiency in our Fleet

The fuel consumed by our fleet of vehicles accounts for roughly 13% of our total carbon footprint, and costs us over $20 million per year. Improving our fuel efficiency is an important sustainability effort that benefits us both environmentally and economically.

In 2005 we set a goal to reduce our overall diesel consumption by 10% or roughly 580,000 gallons by 2013. In pursuit of this goal we implemented various fuel efficiency measures and began transitioning some of our fleet to run on compressed natural gas (CNG), which is a cleaner-burning alternative to diesel. Our 35 CNG vehicles displace approximately 400,000 gallons of diesel fuel per year, reducing carbon emissions while also improving local air quality.

Despite these initiatives, our fleet efficiency improvements have not kept pace with growth in our collection business, and we have not yet achieved our goal of reducing our overall diesel consumption by 10%.

Energy Efficiency at our Facilities

Electricity and heating fuel usage at our facilities accounts for 3% of our company-wide carbon footprint and costs us over $3 million per year. Our facility energy usage makes up a small portion of our overall greenhouse gas emissions, but beyond climate benefits, efficiencies in this area will help to improve local air quality and reduce local operating costs.

In 2009 we set a goal to reduce our electricity and stationary natural gas consumption by 5%. The following measures helped us to make progress toward these targets:

Natural Gas: Prior to its closure, the Maine Energy facility consumed over 500,000 therms per year of natural gas. The decommissioning of this facility slashed our stationary natural gas consumption and reduced our total usage by roughly 75%, allowing us to achieve our goal.

Electricity: Since 2009, we have implemented efficiency measures such as lighting retrofits and the installation of timers for our vehicle plug-in stations. However these improvements did not keep pace with increases in electricity usage elsewhere in our footprint, so we have not yet achieved our electricity reduction target.

Enhanced Measurement and Monitoring

Over the past year, we have migrated our energy and greenhouse gas data to Hara/Verisae's cloud-based software platform. The system provides an accessible and secure space to store our data, dashboards to explore trends in our energy consumption and emissions, and custom reports to support internal and external communications. We have begun to leverage the new system to support facility-level benchmarking and normalization of data into useful key performance indicators (KPIs). These new capabilities will allow us to identify and prioritize projects to drive further energy savings and emission reductions in the coming years.

Employee Green Teams

To lead the company toward achieving our sustainable operations goals, we have begun to form "green teams" at select facilities throughout our footprint. These teams will convene quarterly to develop and implement facility-specific strategies for achieving sustainability goals.

Drawing upon the support of our in-house sustainability team, our energy and emissions database, and local utility and energy efficiency partners, these green teams will lead the company toward a new wave of energy savings, emission reductions, and environmental improvements.

The green team initiative will tap into our local teams' knowledge and expertise to help achieve our sustainability goals, while also supporting a broader effort to engage and energize employees around our resource renewal vision.

Net Producer of Electricity

In 2013, we produced more than 5X as much energy as we consumed. This graphic depicts annual electricity consumption at our facilities and annual electricity production (in Megawatt Hours - MWh) at the power plants we own and/or operate.

As a company, we want to reduce the energy we consume and increase the energy we produce to maximize our net benefit.
Learn more about our Sustainability Initiatives
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