waste reduction

Product and Material Solutions

We partner with customers to help them Design with Intent so they can make products more sustainable and recyclable from the outset. This process takes a systems approach to product design that considers three factors: material selection, ease of disassembly and recycling infrastructure capabilities. The ultimate goal is to return resources to the value chain after a product’s use rather than send valuable materials to landfill. Similarly, we can help customers Design for Recyclability by thinking through where a product goes when discarded in order to understand how the material can be recycled or if the waste can be eliminated altogether. A pioneering food and beverage manufacturer, for example, wanted to develop an innovative and efficient product delivery system, with a goal of achieving widespread recycling of their product at typical material recovery facilities. We combined industry research with physical testing at our sorting facilities to provide guidance on the recoverability and recyclability of the product prototype.

For products and packaging already in the marketplace today, WMSS takes a product through a typical recycling process to see which components can or cannot be recycled and to determine if there is a viable commodities market for post-consumer materials. When a consumer packaged goods company started a marketing campaign that touted keeping its products out of landfills and returning packaging materials to the value chain, we evaluated 19 of its personal care products for suitability of curbside recycling. Our evaluation combined our own recycling professionals with third-party processors to provide recommendations for material management strategies, recycling technologies and product design attributes. The results of our study helped the customer avoid false claims, increase public transparency and advance its R&D process for future products and packaging.

Big League Success: Boston’s Fenway Park

In 2015, our Total Recycling Programs at Boston’s Fenway Park have resulted in some big numbers that made a big difference and earned the Boston Red Sox the MassRecycle’s 2015 Recycler of the Year Award in the business category.

914 Tons

Waste converted
to energy

2,091 Trees

Conserved, enough to
produce 25.8 million
sheets of newspaper

398 Tons

Material diverted
from landfill

1,516,560 kW

Hours of electricity saved,
enough to power
145 homes for a year

1,219,540 Gallons

Water conserved, enough to meet
the daily fresh water needs of 16,260 people

1,599 Cubic Yards

Landfill airspace saved, enough to meet the
annual municipal waste disposal needs of
a 2,053-person community

Waste Management’s Sustainable Services At-A-Glance

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Founded in





Customer Cost Savings
Since 2003


saved in 2015

141 Programs, including


& Paper











1 2015 survey of 180 customers

  • Optimized Logistics
  • Process Improvement
  • Strategic Sourcing
  • Recycle/Reuse

Process Solutions

We help companies and organizations who have set ambitious zero waste-to-landfill goals achieve those goals through our consulting and advisory services group and the largest dedicated on-site team in North America.

The consulting team conducts comprehensive audits of the social, environmental and economic impact of our customers' businesses. What separates WMSS consultants from other consulting groups is the project doesn’t end with the audit. We make recommendations for cost-effective ways to improve energy efficiency, resource management, waste diversion and alternate disposal opportunities. Then we develop detailed roadmaps for eliminating waste and executing this strategy on site, often through reduced demand for source material and increased recycling.

Our on-site team is embedded with customers seeking sole-source suppliers with the infrastructure and expertise to execute national waste reduction programs. With their understanding of each customer’s operations and unique challenges, our on-site employee can deliver low-risk, high-value solutions to complex environmental, business, safety and regulatory needs.

Through WMSS, our on-site team and local area projects providing sustainability solutions, WM provides a broad array of services to its customers. For example, we have developed large-scale recycling initiatives for retail stores, college campuses and public venues. Successful waste reduction for any venue with thousands of square feet and thousands of visitors requires strategic planning to determine what can be recycled and how to maximize results. Such is the case at Patriot Place, a 1.3 million square-foot shopping, dining and entertainment destination adjacent to Gillette Stadium, home of the NFL New England Patriots and the MLS New England Revolution. Our Total Recycling Program team collaborated with Patriot Place management for 12 months in advance of launching the Waste, Recycling & Organics program. Tenant meetings, janitorial training, container monitoring, equipment tutorials and continuous communications were among the steps taken to decrease waste by 32 tons, increase landfill waste diversion from 26 to 44 percent and divert 90 tons of organics from landfill. The latter reduced CO2 emissions by 82 metric tons, as calculated using our ENSPIRE® platform. This successful collaboration led to Patriot Place being one of the first shopping centers in Massachusetts to divert organics from the landfill, and the WRO program becoming a role model for other shopping centers.

We also often partner with sports events or business conferences to create sustainable events with a zero waste challenge, similar to our own Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournament. Through recycling, composting, waste-to-energy initiatives and donations, these events cumulatively have diverted 99.56 percent of waste, or 449 tons, from landfills.

Helping Our Customers Reach Their Sustainability Goals

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Our resources, technologies and innovations offer a broad portfolio of environmental solutions in North America. Here’s how these solutions are benefitting our customers.

Heavy Equipment Manufacturers

Achieved $2 million+
in 2015 cost savings.

$2 million+

Regional Hospital

Diverted 4,280 pounds of hazardous pharmaceutical waste from entering the water supply in one year.

pounds diverted

Global Retailer

Contained costs and supported compliance by managing waste streams — such as regulated materials, universal waste, solid waste and recycled materials — at return centers.

Automotive Manufacturer

Achieved a 70 percent reduction in waste generation on a pounds-per-vehicle basis.


Chemical Manufacturer

Saved $14 million over the past 7 years, in part by diverting 100,000 gallons per week of bulk organic waste to alternative fuel production.

$14 million

Oil Company

Achieved a 20 percent recycling rate and realized $4.3 million in costs savings over 4 years.

$4.3 million

Sporting Venue

Increased diversion from 26 to 44 percent and reduced CO2 by 82 metric tons.

metric ton reduction

Analysis & Intelligence

WMSS offers customers a portfolio of tools to measure, manage and communicate their sustainability progress and goals. ENSPIRE is our online business intelligence platform that aggregates and repackages raw sustainability data into one interactive dashboard, helping to accurately track financial, environmental and social performance; facilitate streamlined decision-making and simplify reporting. Upon collection of data for reporting purposes, WMSS provides analysis to inform strategic planning, best practices and efficiency opportunities. In 2015, ENSPIRE managed more than 10 million tons of materials for customers at more than 39,000 locations. In 2015, we managed 15 million tons at nearly 60,000 locations.

Meeting the need for an increased focus on corporate transparency, ENSPIRE is highly customizable to “speak” our customers’ language and enable them to see the data most relevant to their operations. For example, an international cruise line uses the platform to provide data for corporate sustainability reporting according to Global Reporting Initiative standards. With a single click, the cruise line can run side-by-side comparisons of any ship in any port, as well as generate customized metrics such as pounds of waste produced per passenger per night at sea. The ENSPIRE platform not only measures efficiency, but creates it as well. A food manufacturer has reduced time spent on monthly sustainably reporting from 40 hours to three hours, gaining nearly a week of time each month to focus on strategic sustainability efforts. This customer uses ENSPIRE as its sustainability dashboard to measure progress toward a goal of recycling 90 percent of waste generated, as well as tracking energy and water usage.

Our Construction group’s Diversion and Recycling Tracking Tool (DART®) helps project planners, contractors, architects and building owners set “green” performance targets and measure their progress during construction, renovation and demolition projects. DART is used across the United States and Canada to track both materials reused on construction sites and those processed for recycling off site. The diversion rates captured through DART support LEED certification and corporate sustainability reporting. In 2015, more than 416,627 tons of material was diverted through reuse or recycling. Our top 10 construction customers alone put more than 142,692 tons of materials to reuse. These customers use DART to create diversion plans, monitor their progress and report their final performance on a project-by-project basis.

For customers who want a “big picture” view of their product’s environmental impacts, we offer Lifecycle Assessments that evaluate all stages of a product’s life — raw material extraction, manufacture, distribution, use, repair and maintenance, and end-of-life disposal or recycling. The analysis provides insights into which stages have the greatest potential to avoid GHG emissions or to conserve natural resources.

Our Vendor Scorecards are a supply chain management tool that helps customers assess whether their vendors meet sustainability goals, including compliance with sustainable purchasing policies and packaging requirements. The scorecards can then be used to create more sustainable purchase programs, improve the design of products and packaging and eliminate waste.

Third-Party Verification

In a consumer landscape awash in green claims, many of our customers seek external verification of their efforts to reduce waste, save energy and achieve other sustainability goals. WMSS serves as a guide through this process, including advising on these third-party rating and certification systems.

  • BOMA 360, from the Building Owners and Managers Association International, validates best-in-class management practices in building operations and maintenance; safety, security and risk management; training and education; energy, environmental and sustainability efforts; and tenant relations and community involvement.
  • Council for Responsible Sport certifications maximize opportunities at sporting venues around the world to divert waste to recycling and compost, switch to 100 percent renewable power, use as many regional resources as possible, offer free access to thousands of youth and other targeted audiences, all while providing tens of millions of dollars in economic impact to host cities and regions. In 2016, we will become the primary on-the-ground evaluators for events applying for certification.
  • ENERGY STAR certification includes benchmarking with the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager® and validating applications.
  • UL Environment Zero Waste Claim Validation certifies best-in-class, zero-waste and zero-waste-to-landfill programs.
  • Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) uses our accredited consultants to certify entire green building projects or obtain individual credits and helps customers quantify materials in the waste stream via LEED MR6 waste audits, of which we conduct approximately 40 per year.
  • Green Globes Certifications are a web-based program from the Green Building Initiative for green building guidance and certifications that includes an on-site assessment by a third party for new buildings, renovations, building management and more.
  • U.S. Zero Waste Business Council (USZWBC) facility certification program goes beyond waste diversion numbers to focus on the upstream policies and practices that make zero-waste programs successful. USZWBC has crafted the third-party verified facility certification to meet the requests of businesses for a valid, comprehensive verification of zero-waste achievements.