Skip to Main Content
(Press Enter)

/ Social /
Environmental Justice

A Civil Rights Assessment analyzed the impact of WM's policies and practices on the civil rights of stakeholders, focused on three areas: Diversity & Inclusion, Environmental Justice, and Supplier Diversity.

Findings highlighted how WM operates with consciousness of the impact its operations may have on surrounding communities, including in communities with EJ indicators, and invests significantly in transparency and building positive relationships to be a good neighbor.

To maintain our responsiveness to community concerns - and our openness to working jointly on projects that serve community interests - WM will continue to anchor our efforts around the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) definition of environmental justice which focuses on the just treatment and meaningful involvement of all people, regardless of income, race, color, national origin, Tribal affiliation, or disability.

WM continues to address environmental justice concerns by utilizing data to provide transparency and accountability. We believe transparency is essential to building trust and fostering a positive relationship with our stakeholders. By leveraging data, we can make informed decisions to proactively monitor our impact on, and engagement within, the communities we serve.


Since 2010, WM has conducted periodic reviews of environmental justice data in the communities we serve by analyzing the income and race demographics of residents living near our facilities.

To identify communities with environmental justice indicators, we use several datasets, including the 2020 U.S. Census, EPA’s Environmental Justice Screening and Mapping (EJSCREEN) tool and open-source data from Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. (ESRI), a leader in geographic information system (GIS) software, location intelligence and mapping. Our analysis, updated in 2021 to reflect feedback from investors and environmental justice experts, focuses on demographic data within a one-kilometer radius of our facilities. We also updated our methodology to align with the EPA's definition of "low-income," as detailed in the EJSCREEN tool. We will continue to improve our methodology to strengthen accuracy, transparency and alignment with the most widely used environmental justice tool, the EPA’s EJSCREEN.

The charts presented on this webpage display the percentage of WM sites related to two demographics characteristics: percentage minority or non-minority populations; and households above or below low-income thresholds, as defined by U.S. EPA’s EJSCREEN tool. To learn more about the EPA EJSCREEN definitions and methodology, please visit the EPA’s FAQ site.

Population demographics within one kilometer radius of WM facilities



  Below Low-Income1

  Above Low-Income1


21% of All WM


25% of All WM

Transfer Station

13% of All WM

Office & Other

30% of All WM

Recycling & Organics

5% of All WM

Renewable Energy2

6% of All WM

Hazardous Waste

<1% of All WM

1 Income level for households within one kilometer of WM facility, based on U.S. EPA’s definition of low income, according to U.S. EPA’s EJSCREEN.

2 Renewable Energy includes Landfill Gas-to-Energy and Renewable Natural Gas facilities.  

Environmental Justice Mapping Tool

WM created a tool that consolidates available public information with WM site locations to map the environmental justice impact of each of our facilities. The WM Environmental Justice Mapping Tool allows users to input the location they want to review along with a radius surrounding that location. Any WM site within that radius is then populated on the map, along with a site listing. The site listing contains information about that WM location including the site name, address, available services and technology at that location, and links to U.S. EPA EJSCREEN reports for that site.

Access our mapping tool.

Areas of Dense Population

WM engaged with the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) on consensus reporting standards for waste facilities, and on using GIS-based systems to understand community concerns and potential impacts. SASB determined that the most useful measure across sectors would be mapping potential air impacts from facilities in urban areas. Urbanized areas are defined as areas with a population of at least 50,000 people. The table shows the number of landfills within an urbanized area, within five kilometers of an urbanized area, and outside a five-kilometer perimeter of an urbanized area.

Landfills in Urbanized Areas
Urbanization Number of Active Landfills Number of Closed Landfills Total Number of Landfills
Within an urbanized area 44 90 134
Within 5 km of an urbanized area 80 59 139
Outside a 5 km perimeter of an urbanized area 121 74 195

Scatter plot showing the distribution of all of WM’s operations, excluding office space, in the communities that we service.