Currently, Waste Management Inc. earns 75% of its profits from the collection and disposing of waste materials to 273 landfills. Its landfills are big enough to handle waste disposal for several years to come. However, one might ask what happens after their landfills are loaded to maximum capacity. This only means that their business is not sustainable at all since it will require more landfills to dispose the waste. Additionally, many institutions, individuals and advocacy groups as well continue to emphasize on the importance of waste reduction for sustainability of the environment. Thus, Waste Management Inc. will require a new strategy of handling the waste. The one and only best way would be turning the waste into usable materials, and use some for energy production. Sustainability is ensured since the waste would be used once again, enhancing waste reduction.
To recycle most of the waste that Waste Management Inc. collects, sorting is required since different materials are recycled for different purposes. Degradable and non-degradable materials have to be sorted out. This would prove quite expensive to conduct at the landfill or facility sites. To make it easy, I would provide waste bins for both degradable and non-degradable waste to all households and customers. They would help in sorting by putting the degradable in one bin and non-degradable in the other. For instance, customers would place waste materials such as papers, metals, plastics and glass in one dustbin. At the recycling plant, these materials can be easily separated using heavy-duty magnets for metals, optical scanning and forced air (Gunther 2010).
Although landfills are the current biggest source of income for Waste Management Inc., this can be changed with time to make recycled materials the biggest source of income. Currently, almost all companies are shifting to zero-waste, an idea that all that becomes waste can be turned into something usable. Thus, there is a significant opportunity and market of recycled goods due to customer awareness on environmental degradation. To make zero-waste possible for companies, it requires recycling facilities. Therefore, I would collaborate with key companies and biggest waste producers in an effort to recycle all their wastes. When companies decide to recycle their waste, it costs them significant amounts of resources. Thus, offering to recycle all their materials would provide a better solution for them while it gives us the chance to make more money. For Waste Management Inc. waste materials are the raw materials from which we earn. The recycled materials could be resold to other customers who need them. For instance, some of the waste produced by companies can go back to them in the form of renewable energy to power their plants instead of having to rely on non-renewable energy sources.
In a research study, it was found “Incinerating a ton of trash emits at least 35% less greenhouse gas and yields 10 times as much electricity as burying it,” (Ball 2009). Therefore, instead of having 273 landfills, it would be better to have most of the landfills turned into incinerating facilities that help in production of energy. Additionally, statistics show that America has most of its waste materials dumped in landfills, which means they are not turned into renewable materials. 54% of the waste materials is dumped in landfills, 13% is burned, while only 33% is recycled. Thus, turning some of the landfills into incinerating facilities for renewable energy provides a sustainable solution. Additionally, apart from helping the customers with managing their waste in best means possible, the company is not forgetting to do the same with the facilities, considering they are institutions just like other companies. Some of the areas the company can reduce waste is using the renewable energy sources for the company’s operations, such as electricity and methane for trucks used in transportation of the waste.
Ball Jeffrey. Climate Change: Garbage Gets Fresh Look as Source of Energy. The Wall Street Journal, May 15, 2009 A9.
Gunther, Marc. Waste Management’s new direction. CNNMoney, December 6, 2010. Web. October 3, 2012.