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

The following site covers subject matter through 2018.

Better Operations


Long-Term Stewardship

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  • Landfills With a
    Lasting Legacy

Long-Term Stewardship

Just as we strive for safety and environmental quality at all our operating landfills, we want to be stewards of the environment when these facilities come to the end of their useful lives. Since 1991, Waste Management has had an independent, formally designated Waste Management department to manage the company’s legacy sites — closed landfills linked with companies Waste Management acquired over the years and facilities closing at end of permit life. The department is separate from ongoing operations, with specialists experienced in the science and engineering of site closure and long-term management of these properties. These experts bring a fresh eye to sites ending their useful lives, and they are attentive to opportunities for secure maintenance of the sites for the long term. The Environmental Legacy Management Group also looks for opportunities for these sites to provide new benefits to the community.

These efforts are supported by innovative, peer-reviewed science from Waste Management employees working with leading experts in their fields.


Landfills With a Lasting Legacy

Currently, Waste Management has six closed landfills that provide
areas for community parks and recreation opportunies.

County Line
Denver, CO

  • soccer fields
  • BMX track

Oyster Bay
Oakland, CA

  • hiking trails
  • picnic areas
  • dog walking
  • frisbee golf

Ontario, Canada

  • walking trails
  • dog park
  • playground

Midway and Settler’s Hill
Contiguous sites in west metro Chicago, IL

  • golf courses
  • cross-country course that is currently in development by the county

West metro Chicago, IL

viewing area open to the public at certain times but controlled by the Forest Preserve

PJP Landfill
Jersey City, NJ

transferred to the City and NJDEP which allowed for use as a public park


Solar Energy Applications at Closed Landfills

Our large geographic footprint of landfills and their proximity to existing infrastructure can make them ideal locations for large-scale solar installations. We continue to increase our commitment to solar generation, a strategy that is aligned with U.S. EPA’s RE-Powering America’s Land initiative. first launched in 2008, this innovative federal program has resulted in nearly 253 installations on contaminated lands, landfills and mine sites, with a cumulative installed capacity of just over 1,397 megawatts nationwide.

Currently, we lease seven closed landfills for solar development, working collaboratively with the Waste Management Renewable Energy group. A summary of the portfolio follows:

In New Jersey, we have partnered with Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G), which, in 2018, constructed a third solar project on the closed Cinnaminson landfill in Cinnaminson, New Jersey. The project is planned to be 13 megawatts and is anticipated to be commissioned by the end of the year. We plan to generate 54 megawatts of power from the solar fleet on closed facilities before 2019.

Site Size Lease Holder
Parklands (NJ) 10.1 MW (dc) PSE&G
L&D (NJ) 12.9 MW (dc) PSE&G
Hunt Road (MA) 6.0 MW (dc) Citizens Energy
Berkley (MA) 3.612 MW (dc) Captona Energy Partners
MT Sullivan (MA) 2.54 MW (dc) Captona Energy Partners
Hudson Stow (MA) 5.83MW (dc) Captona Energy Partners
Cinnaminson (NJ) 13 MW (dc) PSE&G

Expertise & Research

As the largest operator of landfill networks in the industry, we provide extensive staff training to assure continuing education and dissemination of current best practices. This training includes classes in landfill design, construction and management; landfill gas systems management; and advanced instruction in air permitting and compliance. These courses are complemented by a range of eLearning modules in the management of greenhouse and other gases. Other learning opportunities enhance expertise in almost every phase of safe landfill operation.

In 2018, Waste Management opened its first landfill gas technician training center at the former ELDA Landfill in Cincinnati, Ohio. As recognized leaders in landfill gas management, the intent and purpose of the training center is to use internal expertise to train entry-level technicians to provide continuity and consistency across the enterprise. The training center allows for both classroom instruction on the technical aspects of landfill gas and field proficiency assessment.

We also contribute to new bodies of knowledge through research collaborations with expert stakeholders. For example, Waste Management engineers working with an academic research team evaluated and estimated the capacity of an evapotranspiration cover at a subject landfill to oxidize landfill gas emissions by modeling the methane flux from the waste mass to the base of the cover system. The study provides a method for estimating when methane oxidation in a landfill’s cover may represent the best available control technology for residual landfill gas emissions. Published in 2018 (Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association, DOI:10.1080/10962247.2018.1500403) the study should help landfill operators and regulators agree upon the process for determining when to cease active landfill gas system controls.

Additionally, in 2017, Waste Management and a research team completed a case study on optimal approaches to long-term landfill management by assessing threat potential from closed landfill assets to eliminate that threat. The research project evaluated the two industry standards for performance-based outcomes (functional stability and organic stability) using actual data from a closed Waste Management MSW landfill. The results were published in 2018 (Waste Management 75 (2018) 415-426), providing the industry its first implementation of performance-based analysis using real-world data to assess threat potential across media. This foundational research is key to identifying long-term stewardship options that are reliable, science-based, and designed to assure safety throughout the transition of closed landfill properties to beneficial re-use after closure. See Appendix to review a list of peer-reviewed technical articles and conference papers published by Waste Management experts in the past several years.