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Mitigating Climate ChangeFleet Efficiency

Our fleet of more than 17,000 collection vehicles provides reliable, essential service to our customers. And it does so while reducing our environmental impact.

Waste Management is reducing our fleet’s GHG emissions by transitioning from diesel to cleaner-burning natural gas, an increasing amount of which originates from our own landfill gas. Beyond using cleaner fuel, we are decreasing the amount of fuel we consume via logistics solutions, including route optimization technology that allows us to reach customers while traveling the least possible distance.

Progress Toward Fleet Goals

Waste Management established our first fleet emissions reduction goal in 2007. By 2011, we reached our goal of 15% reduction, primarily by transitioning vehicles from diesel to natural gas. With a vision to create a near-zero emissions collection fleet, we’re now working toward a science-based target to cut fleet emissions by 45% by 2038, against a 2010 baseline. In 2019, we set an interim goal for 70% of our collection fleet to use compressed natural gas (CNG) engines by 2025, with 50% running on renewable natural gas (RNG). We are investing in both fuel and routing technologies to achieve these goals and ensure that Waste Management remains the industry leader in transportation technology.

WM’s Collection Fleet by the Numbers

17,000 trucks

450M miles driven each year

85% new purchases are natural gas vehicles

8.9M fewer miles driven 2017-2019

decrease of36% fleet emissions* 2010-2019

*36% reduction in total fleet emissions, excluding biogenic emissions.

Fueling Our Fleet

Key to achieving our fleet emissions goal is a commitment to invest nearly $400 million annually in near-zero-emissions trucks available. At the end of 2019, our natural gas fleet totaled 8,924 trucks, comprising the largest heavy-duty natural gas truck fleet of its kind in North America. Vehicles powered by natural gas emit almost zero particulate emissions, cut GHG emissions by 15% and are quieter than diesel trucks. For every diesel truck we replace with natural gas, we reduce annual use of diesel fuel by an average of 8,000 gallons, thereby reducing GHG emissions by 14 metric tons.

Vehicles receive CNG fuel through our network of Waste Management-owned and -operated fueling stations. As of the end of 2019, we operated 145 natural gas fueling stations across North America, with 25 of these also open to the public. Waste Management finances and constructs the stations, as well as purchasing the fuel.

We currently fuel over 40% of our natural gas fleet with RNG produced from our own landfills and third-party landfills. In 2019, these third parties expanded to include dairy farms. Using RNG reduces GHGs and nitrogen oxide emissions (NOx) by over 90%.

Our long-term and ongoing investments in RNG production facilities, coupled with a natural gas fleet that can operate on RNG, are moving us closer to a near-zero emissions collection fleet. In 2019, Waste Management’s fleet consumed over 9,752,000 MMBtu of natural gas. Of that total usage, approximately 40% is biogas. In California, Oregon and Washington, 100% of our natural gas fleet runs on RNG.

Waste Management RNG Facilities

Altamont Landfill
Livermore, CA (JV)

Since 2009
Produces 1.59M diesel gallon
equivalents (DGE) of RNG per year
Serves WM’s California operating districts

Skyline Landfill
Ferris, Texas

Since 2020
Will produce 8M DGE of
RNG per year
Serves Atmos Energy System

Milam Landfill
St. Louis, Illinois

Since 2014
Produces 5.0M DGE of RNG per year
Serves Ameren Illinois pipeline

Outer Loop Landfill
Louisville, Kentucky

Since 2018
Produces 6.6M DGE of RNG
per year
Serves Texas Gas

American Landfill
Waynesburg, Ohio

Since 2014
Produces 1.5M DGE of RNG per year
Serves Dominion East Ohio pipeline

Driving Toward Zero Emissions

While RNG vehicles have helped us significantly reduce fleet emissions, we are looking ahead for ways to reduce our impact even further through the next generation of zero-emissions battery-electric and fuel cell electric transportation. In Seattle, Washington, we currently operate two BYD 6F Class-6 battery-electric delivery vehicles.

Waste Management is also currently working with major domestic and international vehicle original equipment manufacturers to identify state-of-the-art zero-emissions truck and compaction technologies for our fleet. WM began operating our first electric powered collection truck in the summer of 2020. By the end of 2020, we expect to have taken delivery of two electric trucks, which will operate in Southern California.

Beyond these initial vehicles, we will continue testing alternative energy collection and support vehicles from nearly every major manufacturer. By experimenting with a broad range of solutions, we hope to find the technologies that allow us to be successful and operate with zero emissions in the communities we serve.

Waste Management’s “Closed Loop” Natural Gas Fueling System As of 12/31/2019

metric tons GHGs reduced
annually using natural
gas and RNG fuel

natural gas vehicles fueled by
landfill gas or gas produced
from animal manure

natural gas vehicles
in fleet or 60% of our
collection trucks

diesel gallons displaced
over the useful life of
existing NGVs

DGE of RNG consumed
in 2019

DGE of natural gas
consumed in 2019

A More Efficient Network

Beyond reducing tailpipe emissions, we can also reduce the footprint of our fleet by ensuring that every Waste Management vehicle completes its service route in as few miles as possible, and that our entire network of assets operates efficiently as parts of an interconnected whole. Digital network optimization limits the time our vehicles are on the road. Daily dynamic routing improves the quality of information about our individual customer locations, helping to improve the quality of our service. Sophisticated data analytics also helps to maximize efficiencies associated with the location of landfills and transfer stations in our network, reducing time on the road even as routes change and traffic conditions vary.

The premise of efficient logistics is simple: a more efficient route means fewer miles traveled, which translates into reduced fuel consumption and associated emissions. Since 2017, Waste Management’s fleet has reduced miles driven by 2%, which equates to an approximate 8.9 million fewer miles driven a year. Optimizing routes not only reduces our environmental impact, it also increases the quality of our service: we miss fewer stops for commercial and residential customers.

Credit for much of this progress goes to our Service Delivery Optimization (SDO) initiative, which helps streamline routes. Under a “Safety, Service, Savings” motto, 95% of collection vehicles are SDO-certified. SDO technology, a component of the WM Way program, includes DriveCam®, a video recorder mounted on the windshield of collection vehicles that is automatically activated by sudden movements. Where appropriate as part of the SDO process, managers watch videos with drivers to coach them on fuel-saving driving techniques, such as proper acceleration, deceleration and efficient speeds. We’ve also instituted an anti-idling program to reduce fuel consumption. Through this program, all collection vehicles built after 1998 can program idle shutdown timers to five minutes, in accordance with the American Transportation Research Institute’s Compendium of Idling Regulations.

In 2019, we transitioned several programs into one entity, which allowed us to teach, train and coach consistently across our model dispatch, SDO and maintenance SDO (MSDO) functions. We quickly saw the benefits of this approach when each MSDO-certified route averaged 30 minutes less downtime than its noncertified counterpart, contributing to an overall weighted efficiency improvement of 1.1%. Of routes certified, 93% were able to maintain, and often improve, their expected level of performance, while meeting our Mission to Zero (M2Z) safety expectations. Currently, 50% of Waste Management routes are MSDO-certified, and we hope to have 100% of routes certified by the end of 2021. Learn more about Systems Training at Waste Management.

Mobile technology is an important enabler of progress. Our mobile app allows fleet managers who are responsible for multiple districts to:

  • View real-time shop operations
  • Communicate with shop technicians and get updates on standard repair times
  • See the number of trucks needed and available to service customers
  • View and mitigate possible downtime risks

Meanwhile, drivers can access logistics support, route optimization and direct dispatch support throughout the day. Replacing multiple communication devices with one device for the driver and dispatch teams makes for a safer, more streamlined operation.

In another example of GHG reduction from optimizing service, Waste Management’s Bagster® service offers compact containers for sale at more than 4,000 retail locations across the United States and Canada, eliminating the need to send a truck to deliver an empty container. Bagster is strong enough to hold up to 3,300 pounds of debris or waste, and when customers are finished with their projects, Waste Management can collect up to 15 full Bagsters on a single, efficient collection