Capturing Value from Waste through Innovative Resource Solutions

Solutions Wanted

How can we all recycle more and waste less?

A cross the country, thousands of municipalities, businesses, institutions, and households are working to increase their recycling and reduce their waste. They understand how wasting less and recycling more can help conserve resources, protect the climate, support jobs, and create value. Some have already made great progress, and others are just getting started, but nearly everyone wants to be doing more.

As a resource management company, we view our customers as partners, each with their own values, expertise, and a unique set of waste streams waiting to be renewed.

To each customer partnership, we bring decades of practical experience, insights from multiple industries, a willingness to listen and innovate, and a passion for providing resource solutions.

Resource Solutions are the comprehensive services we provide to help our customers achieve their resource management goals, from today's pressing needs to tomorrow's visionary aspirations. The solutions we provide include: Recycling, Collection, Organics, Energy, and Landfills.

For complex industrial, institutional, or multi-location customers, we bring all of these services together with our professional expertise to deliver a holistic, customtailored Resource Solutions approach.

Recycling and value creation

Throughout this report, we often refer to "value creation." With this we are referring to the proven idea that holistic resource management can create real value for businesses, for example by uncovering operational inefficiencies, reducing unnecessary purchasing, minimizing waste disposal, and engaging employees and customers around positive environmental performance.

We know that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for our industrial, institutional, municipal, and commercial customers. We leverage our expertise and our partnerships to create holistic strategies that bring together all of our solutions and are customized to each customer's needs.

Our comprehensive Resource Solutions enable us to apply our knowledge and experience in recycling, collection, organics, energy and landfills to create economic and environmental value for our customers and our communities.

Our Resource Renewal Vision

We have Believed in a vision for resource renewal long before it was first defined in our 2009 Sustainability Report.

Resource renewal is about turning waste into resources. It is what we do when we partner with our customers to find practical ways to harvest value from discarded materials.

With resource renewal, we help to convert society's current linear system of resource extraction-and-disposal into a cyclical system in which eventually there are no wastes; there are only resources.

We humbly acknowledge that we cannot create this transformation overnight, nor can we create it alone. Such a shift requires a thoughtful policy framework and the active collaboration of players throughout the global supply chain, including: manufacturers who insist on responsibly harvested raw materials, designers who craft products for durability and recyclability, and consumers who respectfully handle and care for the products they buy.

Although this cyclical resource economy is still in its infancy today, with this report we are proud to provide a few case studies that show that resource renewal is possible. See page 38 for more.

The Zero Waste Cycle

"There are no benign technologies that take away all of the results of our activities as human beings. One doesn't have the God-given right to consume the world's resources with no consequences for what we're doing. You don't exist to do anything from a socially responsible standpoint unless you're a profitable company. So, we have to be capitalists to survive, but that doesn't mean that's all we have to be."

- John W. Casella, Creating Excellence Magazine, September 1990
Read the letter from the Ceo

Our Journey & Approach

Like so many others, we operate in a dynamic industry that is in transition. Some of the major issues currently affecting the way we run our business include:
  • Global trends in population and economic development are placing mounting pressure on natural resource supply chains. For both environmental and economic reasons, the world needs high quality recycled commodities to minimize our reliance on virgin resources.
  • The mix of material in the disposal stream has shifted. We are seeing less paper and a wider variety of plastic packaging in the recycling stream. In general, we are seeing a larger ratio of industrial material entering the disposal stream, and less municipal material due to local recovery efforts.
  • The economic and environmental viability of the Waste-to-Energy (WTE) incineration model is coming into question, leaving communities to decide whether to enter long-term agreements with WTE suppliers, or pursue alternatives.
  • State-level decision-makers are passing new rules in hopes of creating environmental benefits, economic efficiencies, and green jobs. Vermont's Act 148 Universal Recycling Law and Massachusetts' new commercial organics ban are examples.
  • Customers want more than just reliable, safe, and compliant solid waste service; they are looking for partners to help them meet recycling goals and a new professional services model that includes access to data, recycling options for more of their waste streams, and low carbon disposal options.
  • The most progressive customers are taking a sophisticated approach that looks beyond the solid waste budget line-item to recognize and invest in the full value creation possibilities of holistic resource management.

Against this evolving backdrop, we have gravitated toward a strategic approach that emphasizes:

  1. Listening to customers to deeply understand their service needs.
  2. Drawing upon our operational expertise and knowledge to solve pressing problems.
  3. Applying our expertise in commodity markets to help customers capture value from their waste.
  4. Deploying solutions that are flexible and responsive to customer needs.

The approach is customer- rather than technology-centric. Instead of a one-size-fits-all, build-it-and-they-will-come approach, it is adaptive to evolving local needs. The resulting solutions and expertise leave us uniquely positioned to deliver shared environmental and economic value to our customers and communities, which in turn positions our company to thrive in the post-disposal, resource renewal economy.

Our Goals
  • Recycle 1 Million tons per year of recyclables and organics.
  • Over the next two years, we will focus on reducing our company-wide greenhouse gas emissions per ton of waste received.
  • With this report we are renewing our commitment to this reduce our diesel consumption by 10%.
  • As with our diesel goal, we are renewing our commitment to reduce our electricity consumption by 5%.
  • Demonstrate improvement in our annual corporate culture survey.
  • By 2015, train 100% of our managers to apply Selecting the One principles in their hiring decisions.
  • By 2016, 80% of managers and supervisors will have completed leadership training.

Shared Responsibility for Social Good

We believe that the services we provide and the investments we make in managing and renewing resources must be economically sustainable as well as environmentally sustainable. One cannot exist without the other.

We also believe that recycling is part of a larger and more crucial set of challenges facing society and the planet. We are - we believe - entering an era of constraints and limits in nearly all areas of human activity, including energy, climate, and natural resources.

In this belief, we are optimists. These challenges represent significant opportunities for innovation, creativity, economic growth and security, environmental stewardship, and quality of life for future generations. These challenges also demand major shifts in thinking, particularly around how and why we shape public policy, how and why we pay for resource renewal, and how and why we place a value on it - for ourselves, our children, and our society.

The economics around many of our most pressing resource challenges - energy, climate, etc. - remain underdeveloped and in need of transformation. Recycling, for example - and its widening contribution to resource sustainability - is one of those challenges.

If our goal as a society, and as a planet, is to address the challenges of resource limits, and to build a sustainable way of life, are resource renewal services like recycling worth paying for? Is recycling worth investing in for the short- and long-term social, economic, and environmental value it creates? What responsibility does each of us have to contribute to its economic sustainability so we continue to enjoy its environmental sustainability?

Our goal - in fact, our responsibility - is to lead that conversation with our stakeholders, public policymakers, and our customers.

Learn more about our Sustainability Initiatives
Capturing value from waste through innovative resource solutions.
Our comprehensive Resource Solutions enable us to apply our knowledge and experience in recycling, collection, organics, energy and landfills to create economic and environmental value for our customers and our communities. Click here to download the PDF version of our 2014 Sustainability Report
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