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How Does Waste Management Define Environmental Performance?

Environmental performance at Waste Management is defined as:

  • consuming less – we endeavor to consume less water at our facilities, less energy for our buildings, and natural resources overall, while producing green space for wildlife and renewable energy in the service of our customers
  • emitting less – we endeavor to emit less by lowering emissions from our fleet and having fewer releases to water, land and air from our ongoing daily operations. We promote beneficial re-use of previously discarded waste products, as well as encourage and manage recycling.
  • achieving financial objectives.

For our daily operations, Waste Management defines environmental performance as:

  • protecting the environment
  • enhancing the communities where we work and live
  • complying with all rules and regulations.

In our continuing efforts to enhance and ensure protection of the environment, WM supported a comprehensive study conducted by an independent engineering firm globally recognized as experts in the field of landfill engineering to assess the safety of the modern managed landfill. The results of this comprehensive study are now available: Environmental Protection at the Managed Solid Waste Landfill

How Does Waste Management Achieve Environmental Performance?

The company has developed programs, systems and tools, and training to ensure that we meet or exceed these objectives. We measure our performance and hold ourselves accountable to our goals.

Waste Management’s Environmental Department has developed an Environmental Management Program (EMP) to achieve superior environmental performance while supporting our main principles of protection, compliance, conservation, and communications. The EMP integrates our environmental policies and standards planning, training, communications, documentation, assessment, compliance audit services, and management review processes.

WM has environmental teams that specialize in the following areas:

  • Environmental Protection (EP) – provides environmental policies, tools, training, and strategic advice to the groups and market areas
  • Groundwater Protection (GP) – resolves groundwater issues and ensures groundwater monitoring networks are installed to specifications
  • Environmental Engineering (EE) – manages the planning, design and operation of our disposal facilities
  • Air / Gas Management (AGM) – develops policies and standards as well as the planning and develop of air quality and gas management tools
  • National Laboratory Services Program (LS) – manages risks associated w/ the analytical testing of environmental samples

Systems & Tools:

  • Environmental regulatory updates (CyberRegs and Government Affairs)
  • Compliance software and tools (CYCLE and Dakota)
  • Corporate management practices / industry standards
  • Corporate environmental policies and standards
    We communicate within the company using:
  • Environmental Performance Dashboard – centrally tracks internal performance relating to corrective actions, compliance calendar usage, and audit result follow-up.
  • Dakota Auditor – centrally distributes site assessments monthly designed to identify environmental issues
  • Dakota Tracer - centrally manages and tracks all identified environmental issues and their resolution
  • WM’s Incident Alert Notification System - gives immediate notification of significant environmental events
  • WMVisor (WM’s intranet) and WM Monday (WM’s weekly newsletter) - updates employees on environmental and operations activities.
    We communicate with our communities, customers, regulators and investors using:
  • (WM’s corporate website) - highlights significant research, environmental awards, and unique achievements in environmental management
  • WM’s environmental scientists and professionals - present achievements and research at national and international environmental conferences
  • WM’s Corporate Communications department
  • WM’s local management support community outreach
    WM’s Corporate Compliance Audit Services (CAS) conducts compliance audits at all company owned, operated or controlled facilities or operations. The CAS team operates independently of the groups, areas and districts they audit, their duties include the following:
  • Systematic, documented, and objective evaluations for verifying compliance with environmental regulatory requirements
  • Audits to relevant local and corporate management and follows-up to ensure the timely resolution of issues
  • Evaluations to assist the company in improving the effectiveness of existing environmental systems and policies
  • Training to help assist the company and its managers in preventing, detecting, correcting, and proactively addressing compliance issues


Environmental training targets a range of operational and functional levels within the company. Employees that have responsibility for environmental leadership are trained in the company’s environmental practices. Topic specific environmental training is developed and implemented by corporate and group EP teams.
WM provided over 35,000 environmental training opportunities across all employee in 2009.

WM training tools include the following:

  • Environmental Compliance Awareness Program (ECAP) training targeting all front-line employees with a different topic monthly
  • Environmental Performance Learning Series (EPLS) training targeting site management with a different topic monthly
  • Environmental Self Assessment (ESA) program targeting site management monthly with topics designed to align with the EPLS and ECAP training
  • Annual environmental technical conferences
  • Technical seminars and local training are provided through the following:
  • Group in-house classroom training
  • On-the job training
  • Out-sourced training