Environmental Justice

Our dialogue on issues of environmental justice continues to be highly productive. An overview of our key dialogue on this topic can be found in the Community section of this report.

The chart below shows the distribution of all of Waste Management’s operations. In the upper quadrants are our facilities that are located in communities with above the state average income (measured at the 5 kilometer radius); in the lower quadrants are facilities found in communities with lower than the average income in that state. In the right-hand quadrants are sites located in areas above the state average in non-Hispanic white representation; the left-hand quadrants show facilities in communities under the state average. Our methodology is that employed by noted environmental justice academic experts and by U.S. EPA in its regulatory programs. For more information on the methodology used to formulate this chart, please see p. 35 of the Appendix to our 2010 report.

Note that each dot on the chart appears in relation to its deviation from the state average (50 percent white representation; 50 percent above-average income). No adjustments or normalization have been made. When the chart is generated by Excel, the quadrants are proportioned to reflect the degree of deviation from the average represented by each axis.

When we first released this type of demographic footprint for our landfills and waste-to-energy facilities in 2010, we reached out to environmental justice experts to determine whether this was useful and whether our disclosure could be improved. The response was a request to expand our reporting to include all of our facilities, and we provide this here. The following table includes the breakdown of the types of waste and recyclables management facilities we operate and their demographics. The entire picture for Waste Management depicted in the “scatter chart” is generated automatically from a Microsoft Excel chart of our locations, U.S. census data, and state average race and income data.

In 2015, our demographic footprint was modified by under 5 percent due to divestitures and acquisitions. We did not undertake a comprehensive revision of our mapping. We did review the demographics of both divestitures and acquisitions and found their pattern would be somewhat higher in income and lower in non-white representation than our current footprint. We will update this information when a new census is conducted or when Waste Management undergoes an acquisition or divestiture sufficient to change our demographic footprint (whichever comes earlier).

Facility type % of facilities above
average income
% of facilities above average
white representation
Autoclave 64% 45%
Landfill gas to energy 35% 72%
Hauling companies 58% 56%
Medical waste incinerator 0% 100%
Electronics processing 50% 100%
Landfill 41% 68%
Materials recovery facilities 59% 47%
Satellite hauling 48% 66%
Transfer stations 54% 55%
Waste-to-energy 76% 41%
Total 48% 58%