The 2019 update to our 2018 Sustainability report is available here.

The following site covers subject matter through 2018.

Better Company

2017 Key

on this Page

  • Footnotes






Energy Use


Avoided GHG Emissions (MMTCO2e)4

Renewable Energy Generation


Recycling of Materials5


Carbon Permanently Sequestered6

Reflects the impact of our 2014 divestiture of the Wheelabrator waste-to-energy business.

Waste-Based Energy Benefits

Tons of Coal Equivalent


Waste-Based Energy

(million households)

Resource Savings Achieved Through Recycling

Household Energy Equivalent

(in millions)

Cars Off Roads

(in millions)

Safety Performance

Totally Recordable Injury Rate

(incidents per 100 employees)

Vehicle Accident Recordable Rate

(driver hours without a vehicle accident, in thousands)
2016 and 2017 adjusted to exclude “Other Vehicle Initiated Impact” incidents.


Charitable Giving

(in millions)
Open Footnotes

Key Performance Indicator Footnotes

  1. Since 2013, we have used the modified 100-year global warming potentials (GWPs) promulgated by the U.S. EPA. Pertinent to our carbon footprint, our Scope 1 and 3 emissions calculations use the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (FAR) GWP, and our Scope 2 emissions from purchased electricity use the IPCC Second Assessment Report (SAR) GWP.
  2. Process emissions come from our landfills. The amount of landfill gas that is collected can be measured, the amount of landfill gas generated, and the amount emitted to the atmosphere as fugitive emissions must be estimated using prescribed calculation methodologies. The applicable methodologies are the Solid Waste Industry for Climate Solutions (SWICS) Protocol and the U.S. EPA Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP) rules. Our landfill footprint includes estimated emissions from both active and closed facilities.
  3. Our methodology for calculating fleet efficiency conform to U.S. EPA’s SmartWay Truck Tool. SmartWay calculations use records compiled for tax credit and fee purposes. The tax documentation reflects fuel purchased in a year, including some insignificant amounts of fuel stored rather than used in a given year.

    Note that our transportation emissions reported here include those from both our collection fleet and our noncollection “yellow iron” (i.e., off-road equipment such as forklifts and excavators) used on site. A small amount of fuel in this category is used for nontransportation purposes (e.g., running emergency generators or barbecue grills on site), but we do not subtract these from our transportation totals.
  4. We are reporting these data to inform our customers and the public about the potential GHG reduction benefits associated with carbon storage in landfills, our renewable energy production and the value of the recyclable materials we collect and process. We are not presuming to characterize how emerging regulatory programs will allocate credit for these avoided emissions, so we do not claim these GHG reduction benefits as our own nor attempt to deduct these reductions from our carbon footprint.
  5. In our calculations, we assume that, by recycling and composting, we divert materials from our modern WM landfills with landfill gas-to-energy capacity. If instead our recycling and composting were to divert materials from the “national average landfill” from the EPA WARM model, the emissions reductions achieved by recycling and composting would 36,091,771 MTCO2e in 2017. Note also that the increase in emissions reductions realized by recycling does not correspond arithmetically to the increase in total tons recycled. That is because, for example, paper recycling (80% of all recyclables) achieves very high emissions reductions, while the emissions reduction potential associated with glass recycling (20% of recyclables) is nominal on a per ton basis. For a discussion of the protocols that govern this calculation of carbon storage or sequestration, see page 160 of the Appendix.
  6. For a discussion of the protocols that govern this calculation of carbon storage or sequestration, see page 160 of the appendix.
  7. Tons of coal equivalent is calculated based on the equivalent number of households that could be powered by waste-based energy production. Note that standard industry assumptions about household energy use differ for the waste-to-energy and landfill gas-to-energy sectors: Standard waste-to-energy reporting is 1,000 households per installed megawatt, while the household conversion for landfill gas-to-energy is based upon U.S. Energy Information Administration data that is updated yearly. Our calculation does not include wind or solar energy because we don’t own the energy.