Community Vitality

Through our partnership with Keep America Beautiful (KAB) and several other environmental organizations, Waste Management supports thousands of community environmental education and beautification initiatives that highlight our desire to help create and maintain vibrant communities.

For many years we have supported KAB’s annual Great American Cleanup, the country’s largest community improvement program, which engages more than 4 million volunteers in more than 20,000 communities. In 2015, we provided 39 grants totaling $300,000 to various nonprofit environmental organizations and KAB affiliates with programs focused on community beautification and recycling education. In particular, we partner with KAB to fund Think Green® Grants, which support projects such as these:

  • Creating more opportunities for outdoor recycling for the Ohio University campus in Athens, Ohio.
  • Piloting recycling services in apartment complexes in Westmoreland County, Virginia.
  • Bringing a central recycling collection site to an area without recycling in McComb, Mississippi.
  • Supporting the Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision’s Annual Tire Sweep challenge to remove abandoned tires from streets in Detroit, Michigan.
  • Sponsoring a Waste In Place workshop for elementary school teachers in which the teachers learn litter and recycling curriculum in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
  • Creating a disability-accessible wetlands observation deck on a nature trail in Niagara, New York.
  • Waste Management also sponsors environmental education and beautification initiatives run by community-based organizations. For example, we support Friends of the Rouge, a group enhancing quality of life in Michigan’s Rouge River watershed. In 2016, we sponsored its annual Rouge Rescue cleanup event as part of its 30th anniversary celebration.

We also lend our expertise in recycling education to special events. Our Southern California area team partnered with the Special Olympics World Summer Games to bring recycling education to its 2015 games. Waste Management provided complimentary trash and recycling to 6,500 athletes and their fans, along with WM Recycling Ambassadors to educate on good recycling practices in what was the biggest sporting event in Los Angeles since the 1984 Olympics.

Keeping Neighbors Safe

When Waste Management drivers are working their routes in the wee hours of the morning, they have a unique opportunity to be the eyes and ears of the neighborhoods they serve. For more than a decade, our Waste Watch® community program has leveraged this advantage by training our drivers to recognize and handle situations that just don’t seem right. The program teaches drivers how to observe and report suspicious activities and emergencies to local public safety and law enforcement agencies. Introduced in Forest Grove, Oregon, Waste Watch has trained thousands of employees to keep an eye out in more than half the U.S. communities we serve.

To become recognized as a Waste Watch Certified Driver, an employee participates in a formal training program, which includes instruction from Waste Management corporate security and local law enforcement personnel, and then passes a written examination.

We also partner with other safety-related organizations and programs, including Amber Alert, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, Community Crime Stoppers and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Over the years, the Waste Watch program has received widespread national acclaim, earning recognition from local municipalities and the National Sheriffs’ Association’s Award of Excellence in Neighborhood Watch. Our drivers have been lauded for reporting suspicious activity ranging from thefts to vandalism. Drivers have also helped save lives by calling in emergency medical assistance for individuals in physical distress.

Here are just a few examples of helpful or just plain heroic actions by our Waste Watch Certified Drivers:

Local Economic Impact

Our day-to-day operations — from $3.6 billion in wages and benefits to the $418.9 million in income taxes paid in the U.S. and Canada — boost economic growth in the communities in which we live and work. In 2015, we spent $6.5 billion on supplies, one-third of which involved purchase of collection and operating fleet. Supporting small businesses through the materials and supplies we purchase also contributes to local and national economic growth: In 2015, we spent $87 million with diverse suppliers as part of our commitment to diversity and inclusion.

In many of the municipalities in which we do business, we also provide other economic contributions as part of our commitment to the municipality. Our major business projects paid $132.8 million in host community fees to municipalities in which they are located. Host community benefits are fees charged by the community where the operating unit resides, specific to the facility type in operation. These fees may be a flat amount per month, a percentage of specific revenue or a dollar amount per ton/yard received. Total host community benefits declined significantly from 2013 to 2015 with Waste Management’s divestiture of Wheelabrator Technologies.

Income Taxes Paid
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Real Estate Taxes Paid
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The primary factor in the year-over-year reduction in U.S. income taxes is a reduction in taxable income due to debt refinance and a deduction for related extinguishment of debt expense, as reflected in Waste Management’s 2015 financials/income statement.