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

The following site covers subject matter through 2018.

Better Solutions

Waste Management
Phoenix Open

Waste Management has been the title sponsor of the Greenest Show on Grass since 2010. Coming up on our 10th anniversary, the Waste Management Phoenix Open remains the most attended PGA TOUR tournament and largest third-party certified zero waste event in the world. We have consistently used this spotlight to engage with stakeholders on environmental issues, as a platform to show the varied and valuable services we provide, and to raise the bar for sustainable sports globally.

The Waste Management Phoenix Open tracks its carbon and water footprints, in addition to being zero waste. Use of water, energy and materials all contribute to the GHG emissions that are warming our planet, and the event commits to balancing all environmental impacts from tournament activities.

As the title sponsor of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, Waste Management works tirelessly to create a unique PGA TOUR tournament with a widespread and lasting positive impact. We challenged our commitment to the fans, local communities, and environment, as well as to hosting Thunderbirds, the PGA TOUR and to our own brand by achieving zero waste for the fifth year in a row with another on the way. It’s the ultimate model of what is possible in terms of environmental leadership and vision.

  • Every choice made during the planning process was thoughtfully worked through to ensure that the event lived up to the title of “The Greenest Show on Grass.” Year after year, Waste Management is the backbone of this zero waste achievement, making sure all tournament material finds new value — through reuse, recycling, composting, donating or turning it into energy. These efforts are meant to inspire partners, fans and viewers at home to experience and witness what’s possible.
  • Waste Management also looks beyond diversion, prioritizing a reduction of waste in the larger sense and establishing programs for water conservation and restoration, renewable energy, GHG monitoring and carbon offsets.
  • The Waste Management Phoenix Open is not only a chance to showcase our services and capabilities — it’s a platform through which Waste Management strives to drive environmental responsibility.

Waste Management
Phoenix Open

Natural Resource Management

  • 75 million gallons of water restored
  • 100 percent renewable electricity
  • All operations and player travel emissions offset

Managing Materials

  • 100 percent landfill diversion
  • Food and material donation

Fan & Stakeholder Engagement

  • Zero Waste Station engagement
  • 100 percent vendor compliance with material requirements

Community Impacts

  • Over $10 million to charity from Thunderbirds Charities
  • $105,000 to environmental organizations

Transparency & Environmental Impacts

  • Council for Responsible Sport — Evergreen Inspire
  • Golf Environment Organization — GEO Certified©
  • UL — Zero Waste to Landfill Operations with 13.9 percent Incineration with Energy Recovery


Waste Management
Sustainability Forum


The Waste Management Sustainability Forum is an opportunity to convene a wide variety of thought leaders, policymakers, business people, experts, entrepreneurs and entertainers on the subject of sustainability. From its early, modest beginning eight years ago in a conference room at Arizona State University to its 2018 event with wall-to-wall screen and a livestream audience watching from home, the Forum has evolved to inform and inspire. It encourages participants to exchange ideas and learn to transform big thinking into bold actions to create a better world.

This year, introductory remarks by The Gates Foundation’s President, Bill Gates, and Waste Management’s CEO Jim Fish reminded us that sustainability is about more than just environmental goals and measurements. Mike Rowe, Executive Producer and Show Host and Keller Rinaudo, Founder and CEO of Zipline, talked about the amazing power of people, and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel spoke to resiliency. A recording of the day can be found here.

As in previous years, the Waste Management Sustainability Forum shifted gears in the afternoon, taking a deeper dive into key issues in our industry. The afternoon panels this year covered international recycling trends associated with China’s changing import policies and a high-level analysis of the role of life cycle thinking in the recycling industry. With record attendance for the entire day — right up to the last speaker — attendees heard thoughtful presentations on leading efforts in our industry, and where they are heading.

Sustainability Forum Panels

All About China

Our recycling panel offered a rare opportunity to hear from the largest domestic mill buyer of mixed paper, Pratt Industries, and from one of China’s largest mill groups, Lee & Mann. Ross Lee from Lee & Mann provided a unique insight into his company’s approach for managing through changing policies that result from the Chinese government’s commitments to a cleaner China. Clearly, material quality takes center stage for mills in China.

And Myles Cohen, President of Pratt Recycling, explained how his company recycles New York City’s mixed paper into pizza boxes, and mixed paper from Waste Management into the recycling containers used throughout the Waste Management Phoenix Open course. These efforts exemplify one of the key messages from this panel, which is the need for sufficient demand for recyclable materials if we are to successfully maneuver through the current global oversupply caused by China’s import restrictions.

A critical topic covered by the panelists was the overwhelming need to focus on quality. Both domestic and international mills reminded us that China’s quality requirements have generated much stricter quality requirements across the globe.



Linking global markets to state and local policies, the rest of the afternoon dug deeply into the trends, facts and projects associated with life cycle thinking, as well as looking more broadly at our environmental goals and how we can think differently about our materials management programs to maximize our environmental benefit. We were reminded of why we recycle, and the importance of focusing on those actions which offer the greatest environmental benefits versus simply counting tons recycled.

Cheryl Coleman, Director for the Resource Conservation and Sustainability Division within the Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery at the U.S. EPA, described EPA’s framework policy, called Sustainable Materials Management, which focuses on using life cycle thinking to evaluate products along their entire life cycle, creating goals and programs that focus on achieving the greatest overall environmental impact — not focusing only on end-of-life programs and goals.

This approach has been embraced by the State of Oregon, with senior policy analyst David Allaway, from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s (ODEQ) Materials Management Program, presenting on his state’s programs. Allaway’s national leadership on this topic centers on the rationale for considering the environmental impact of materials, versus end-of-life, weight-based recycling goals. Evaluating their own waste stream and the environmental impacts of various materials within it, Oregon has come to focus their efforts on reducing food waste by 25 percent by 2025 and recovering 25 percent of their plastic and carpet by 2025.

Mayor Denny Doyle from Beaverton, Oregon, next outlined the efforts that the City of Beaverton is making to reduce food waste, in support of his state’s reduction goals.



Dr. Tim Townsend, Jones Edmunds Professor of Environmental Engineering Sciences in the Engineering School of Sustainable Infrastructure and the Environment at the University of Florida, talked about the work he and his graduate students are doing to reevaluate Florida’s recycling goals — reshaping their goals away from simple end-of-life, weight-based recycling goals to energy reduction goals. Similar to Oregon’s efforts, Dr. Townsend has reviewed waste characterization data for the state through the prism of GHG emissions and energy. From this, Dr. Townsend described how new goals could reflect a realistic 75 percent energy reduction goal from a 2005 base year, with specific programs geared toward recycling the right things.

This panel brought the national discussion around goals and measurements to a new level by clearly describing the case for change and the concept of creating new and different goals that reflect environmental benefits along the entire life cycle of products and packaging.


Moderated Debate of Life cycle Principles

One of the concerns with a shift to Sustainable Materials Management or Life Cycle Thinking has been the debate over whether it is a distraction from important recycling efforts. Perhaps one of the best ways to engage in such meaningful discussions is to bring together thought leaders who do not necessarily agree. One of the highlights of the afternoon was a discussion between senior policy analyst David Allaway and Steve Alexander, President and CEO of the Association of Plastics Recyclers. Through a moderated question and answer session, Allaway and Alexander discussed topics such as whether or not life cycle thinking gives packaging producers license to skip the “design for recycling” component of their obligation for packaging improvement. Policies that drive the greatest environmental benefits simply must be incorporated into programs to ensure a long-term and ongoing effort for continuous improvement.


Life Cycle Analysis

U.S. EPA’s Jarrod Bridge, an environmental physical scientist in the Sustainable Materials Management Program, wrapped up the day with a short workshop on EPA’s WARM (Waste and Reduction Model) tool, that calculates carbon and energy emissions for various materials in the waste stream. This popular workshop was included specifically in response to previous attendee requests and has since been recreated at other venues.



An additional 442 people participated in the Sustainability Forum online, bringing the total number of participants to well over 800 individuals.


More information on past and future Waste Management Sustainability Forums can be found on our website.