Waste Management Practices

Waste Management Solutions

The following is a brief overview of waste management solutions undertaken by members of C2ES's Business Environmental Leadership Council (BELC).

For more information on each of these companies efforts to address climate change, please see the Businesses Leading The Way section of this Web site.


Air Products and Chemicals

  • Air Products has successfully reduced the amount of hazardous waste generated per pound of product by more than 50%; and reduced air emissions by 60% from chemicals facilities that it acquired since 1997.
  • Air Products and Chemicals entered into an agreement with a neighboring company to provide the waste stream from one of its dimethylformamide plants for use as a fuel source for that company.  This arrangement reduces the neighboring facility’s energy demand and lowers the amount of CO2-forming volatile organic compounds flared by the Air Products facility.
  • Air Products and Chemicals has numerous operations that recover hydrogen molecules and other waste gases from the industrial processes of other companies. Hydrogen recovery reduces the amount of natural gas that would otherwise be needed to produce hydrogen.
  • Air Products also uses landfill gas to fuel a boiler at one of its operations in Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • Air Products and Chemicals’ Hometown, Pennsylvania plant received the Governor’s award for Environmental Excellence for the second time in three years for reducing raw material usage, energy usage and waste generation. Among the achievements were a 1.43 million kWh reduction in electricity usage, and 200,000 miles per year reduction in transport miles associated with raw material deliveries and waste transportation.


  • Alcoa encourages aluminum recycling by sponsoring recycling programs, operating the Alcoa Recycling Company, supporting research on recycling and alloy separation, and purchasing large amounts of scrap.  Aluminum produced from recycled metal requires only 5 percent of the energy required to produce the metal from bauxite ore.
  • Alcoa sponsors life-cycle analyses on a number of products, including automotive components, beverage cans, aluminum wheels, and building components, to determine where processes and product designs could be improved.

American Water

  • A large number of products purchased by American Water are produced utilizing recycled materials. With respect to infrastructural items, all iron castings, whether ductile or other, are manufactured by melting ferrous scrap mixes, depending on availability and pricing. Such items would include ductile iron pipe and fittings, hydrants, valve bodies, curb and valve box castings, and iron lids.
  • A number of American Water's treatment chemicals utilize recycled material in their production. These include the ferrous and ferric salts (ferric sulfate and ferric chloride) which are manufactured using ferrous scrap. The remaining chemicals are produced using virgin materials. For 2010, treatment chemicals produced from recycled material and used by our regulated business, accounted for 11 percent of the treatment chemical purchases across American Water.

Cummins Inc.

  • Cummins’ ReCon program facilitates the reuse and recycling of Cummins diesel and gasoline engines and components.  Through the program, Cummins remanufactured 25,000 engines and over 1,000,000 diesel components in the year 2000.  Each year, ReCon plants also generate approximately 3,000 tons of scrap metal for recycling each year.
  • Through a voluntary recycling program, employees at Cummins’ San Luis Potosi facility were able to save the equivalent of over 9000 seven-year-old trees and over 2 million kwh of electricity.


  • Daimler seeks to increase the total volume of all parts and components of Mercedes-Benz passenger car production series that have been approved for the use of renewable or recycled raw materials by 25 percent respectively by 2015, compared to the volume for 2010

Delta Air Lines, Inc.

  • Delta generated 3. 2 million pounds of non-hazardous waste in 2010, of which 58.4 percent was recycled including oil, batteries, lamps and antifreeze.

  • Delta's in-flight recycling program successfully recycled approximately 1,108,000 pounds of material in 2010 and donated $35,797 through Delta’s Force for Global Good to Habitat for Humanity.

  • Through Delta’s aircraft carpet recycling partnership with Mohawk Aviation Carpet, in 2010, Delta recycled approximately 147,500 pounds of carpet. 

  • In 2010, the Delta's Employee Recycling Center recycled approximately 1,198,000 pounds of material, including 9, 320 pounds of aluminum cans, 23, 200 pounds of plastics, 147, 340 pounds of mixed paper, 617,000 pounds of cardboard, 385,520 pounds of office paper, 6,120 pounds of comingled material and 9,100 pounds of tin cans.


  • Dominion strives to minimize the amount of hazardous and non-hazardous waste it creates in its facilities and operations, and to handle and dispose it responsibly in compliance with all applicable regulations. The company also actively seek sopportunities to recycle and reuse waste materials whenever possible.

  • In 2010, Dominion recycled 2.7 billion pounds of coal combustion byproducts, 476 million pounds of gypsum, 39 million pounds of biomass combustion products, 20 million pounds of oils and fluids for reclamation and recovery, 26 million pounds of scrap metals, 2.5 million pounds of paper, cardboard, plastic and glass, as well as 50,865 pounds of e-waste.

  • Within its gas transmission facilities, Dominion's recycling of surplus steel pipes, valves, flanges and other materials is generating more than $1.3 million in cash and more than $3.1 million in additional savings resulting from the reuse of idle surplus assets.

Dow Chemical Company
  • Dow's Benelux site in Terneuzen, the Netherlands has found an innovative way to transform waste into a viable form of energy savings. Terneuzen's municipal household waste water is being channeled via a special pipeline to Dow's production facility, where it is then purified and used to generate steam and feed Dow's manufacturing plants, getting a second and third life at Dow. Dow previously used water from the nearby river that needed to be desalinated; but can now use less energy and fewer chemicals to purify the household waste water, and consequently emit less carbon dioxide.

DTE Energy

  • DTE Energy uses modern electrostatic precipitators (ESPs) to capture all of the fly ash produced by its plants for reuse, recycling, or landfill. It aims to recycle 50 - 55 percent of the fly ash.

Duke Energy

  • Duke Energy Increase the percentage of solid waste that is recycled from 52 percent in 2008 to 62 percent by 2012. (This goal excludes Duke Energy International and
    Duke Energy Generation Services.)


  • The DuPont-Solae plant in Memphis, Tenn. uses landfill gas as a replacement for natural gas to fuel boilers and other plant equipment, replacing more than 90% of the natural gas used by the site’s boilers.  The U.S. EPA has calculated that area greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced by an equivalent of the removal of 70,000 cars from the road or planting 95,000 acres of forest.


  • Entergy recycles over 70 percent of its power plant waste ash. The majority of the ash is utilized in the production of concrete. This reduces the volume of material sent to landfills and reduces the energy requirements and CO2 emissions associated with the processing of materials traditionally used to produce concrete.
  • Entergy has funded a project in the eastern United States that will collect coal mine methane vented from abandoned mines and convert it to pipeline-quality gas or use it as fuel to generate electricity. The project will reduce GHG emissions by 400,000 metric tons of CO2e through 2005.


  • Landfill Gas to Energy
    • Exelon continues to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions by supporting landfill gas to energy recovery. Utilizing landfill methane to generate electricity produces less environmental impact than burning fossil fuels, and has the added benefit of capturing an energy source that otherwise would have gone to waste. Carbon dioxide (CO2) from landfill methane gas is considered biogenic, or part of the natural carbon cycle. Contrast this with the CO2 from the burning of fossil fuel, which is considered anthropogenic, or arising from human activity. Thus, when the landfill gas displaces fossil fuel, it helps reduce human-caused greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere.
    • Exelon Power is in the final year of a two-year project to convert an oil-fired plant designed in 1950 into a 21st Century, clean operating, reliable and efficient generating station through the use of improved technology and production methods.   As a result of this project, the two-unit 60 MW Fairless Hills Generating Station will be the second-largest landfill gas generating station in the U.S.; a substantial renewable energy project able to consume 100% of the landfill gas that Waste Management produces at their nearby GROWS and Tulleytown landfills; and a significant contributor to Exelon’s greenhouse gas reduction target through its consumption of landfill gas that would otherwise have been flared.
    • Exelon Power also operates the 6 MW Pennsbury plant in southeastern Pennsylvania that utilizes landfill gas to generate electric power. Exelon Power was awarded a 1997 Governor's Environmental Excellence Award for its landfill gas projects.
    • In addition, ComEd purchases electricity generated from landfill methane gas at 22 sites across northern Illinois.   To date, Exelon landfill gas initiatives have avoided over 21 million CO2-equivalent tons of emissions.
  • Coal combustion product reuse
    • Exelon continues its commitment to reuse the byproducts of coal combustion at our fossil generating stations – fly ash, bottom ash, basin ash and flue gas desulfurization products – and prevent them from consuming valuable local landfill capacity. We use these materials for applications that include restoration of land contours at coal mine reclamation sites, anti-skid agents for icy roads, production of fertilizer products and waste-stabilization media.
    • In 2004, we continued our commitment to reuse the large volume of products that result from burning coal. The first year that 100 percent of the fly ash, bottom ash, and basin ash and scrubber products were kept out of local landfills was 2002. That accomplishment included more than 137,000 tons of ash materials and just over 21,600 tons of byproducts from the SO2 scrubbing process. Greater demand for power in 2003 increased that challenge to 175,700 tons of ash products and 28,800 tons of scrubber byproducts, and the challenge was met.
    • By the end of 2004, Exelon produced more than 153,700 tons of ash products, along with approximately 34,500 tons of scrubber byproducts. Again, our goal to reuse 100 percent of these products was met.
  • Measuring the value of recycling programs
    • Exelon maintains recycling programs to collect and reuse a wide range of materials. These programs provide measurable value by the reduction of waste and waste disposal costs, as well as through the sale of recycled material.
    • A corporate team that includes members from each Exelon company tracks the current recycling programs and identifies opportunities for additional cost savings through waste minimization and new recycling programs. The team’s work led to the establishment of a corporate wide initiative to increase the recycling of municipal waste and reduce generation of hazardous waste, thereby creating additional cost savings.
    • During 2004, Exelon generated nearly $4 million in operational savings through material recycling.

General Motors

  • GM has reduced non-recycled waste by 49% globally (a reducion of 31% on a per vehicle produced basis) just in the last five years, 2005 - 2009. GM's worldwide facilities combined recycle 90% of the waste they generate.
  • As of December 2010, GM has 76 facilities that have achived zero landfill status by recycling, reusing, or converting to energy, all wastes from daily operations.
  • When designing new vehicles, GM uses recycled and bio-based materials from renewable resources whenever economically and technically possible. Recycled materials in GM's products come from a variety of origins – from things like old pop bottles, blue jeans and nylon carpet, to used tires and recycled vehicle bumpers. GM is beginning to explore some opportunities to use recycled waste products from GM's own manufacturing facilities in parts for new vehicles. 
  • Today, GM vehicles are at least 85 percent recyclable and 95 percent recoverable (by weight). GM works directly with the vehicle dismantling industry to help make sure that the majority of material in GM's vehicles is salvaged and can be recycled or reused in new vehicles or other consumer products.
  • Mobile Fluid Recovery, Inc., a Birmingham, Ala.-based absorbent materials recycler today received the General Motors Environmental Excellence Award for providing unique recycling ideas and collaborating on projects like turning oil-soaked booms from the Gulf of Mexico into Chevrolet Volt components. 


  • HP designs its products with recyclability in mind.  It operates end-of-life recycling programs for its hardware products in sixteen countries and offers toner cartridge recycling programs internationally to ninety percent of the cartridge market. 


  • Holcim is working within existing material specification standards to replace cement clinker with mineral components such as fly ash, a waste material from coal-burning electric utilities, and slag, a waste by-product of steel manufacturing.  Each ton of clinker eliminated avoids one ton of CO2 emissions that would have resulted from its manufacture.  By 2010, Holcim had decreased the share of Ordinary Portland Cement to 23% of its product portfolio and increased the share of composite cements to 77%


  • Comparing only the weight of the recycled fraction of these commercial resins to the total weight of plastics (virgin and recycled) purchased through IBM’s corporate contracts in 2009, 13.2 percent of the total weight was recycled plastic versus the corporate goal of 5 percent recyclate.
  • IBM improved its product packaging by developing 100-percent recycled thermoformed  nestable cushions for various products across its server brands and retail store systems. When these products are shipped inbound, up to 10 times the typical quantity can be carried on a 40-foot truck. In addition, the 100-percent recycled polyethylene materials of which they are made are reusable. Using these cushions, in 2009 IBM reused an estimated  metric tons of polyethylene plastic and saved approximately $1.9 million in materials and transportation costs
  • In 2009, IBM’s PELM (product end-of-life management) operations worldwide processed approximately 41,400 metric tons of end-of-life products and product waste. These PELM operations reused or recycled 95.8 percent of the total amount processed and sent only 0.5 percent to landfills or to incineration facilities for treatment, versus IBM’s corporate goal of minimizing its combined landfill and incineration rate to no more than 3 percent.
  • Over the past 5 years, IBM’s total hazardous waste has decreased by 75.7 percent, and has decreased by 94 percent since 1987.


  • Intel recycled 59 percent of its hazardous waste generated worldwide and 73 percent of its solid waste generated worldwide in 2003.
  • Additionally, paper with 30 percent recycled content was purchased for all its U.S. copiers and printers.

Johnson Controls

  • Johnson Controls seeks to reduce waste intesity by 20 percent from 2008 levels by 2018. In 2008, we sent 1.98 metric tons of waste to landfill or for incineration per million U.S. dollars revenue. 

NRG Energy

  • NRG Energy pursues opportunities to reduce waste through the beneficial reuse of fly ash (residue generated through the combustion of fossil fuels). At several locations, such as Big Cajun II in Louisiana, Indian River in Delaware and WA Parish in Texas, NRG provides fly ash for use as structural fill in road construction.
  • NRG Energy's Encina facility in California and our Oswego facility in New York provide their employees with resources to recycle household electronic equipment at no cost to the employees. They organized site collection programs to encourage the recycling of electronic waste.
  • NRG Energy is in the early stages of developing plasma gasification projects with the Atlantic County Utilities Authority of New Jersey and at Port St. Lucie County, Fla., landfills that will convert municipal solid waste to energy.

PG&E Corporation

  • PG&E seeks to increase waste diversion rate by 10% at offices and service yards from 2010 - 2014


  • Toyota has reduced the amount of hazardous waste going to landfills from its plants by 40 percent since 2000 and its non-hazardous waste by 11 percent.
  • In 2003, Toyota implemented a nationwide, web-based waste tracking system to better collect and analyze waste-related data to enable further reductions throughout Toyota’s North American manufacturing and distribution operations.
  • Toyota is also increasing the use of reusable packaging in shipments to distributors. 


  • TransAlta, along with Ontario Power Generation, has contributed to carbon emissions reductions of over 20,000 metric tons by selling flyash to regional concrete and cement producers..


  • In 2008, Whirlpool Corporation’s manufacturing facilities worldwide produced 385,086 metric tonnes of waste.  Of this, nearly 90 percent was recycled. This represents a 4 percent reduction in overall waste generated per unit between 2004 and 2008.
  • Weyerhaeuser collected for recycling more than 6.7 million tons of paper in 2004, approximately 13% of the paper recovered in the U.S. and enough to fill more than 130,000 freight cars.  Typical recyclables include old corrugated containers, office wastepaper, old newspapers and printing papers.  More than 4 million tons of the recycled material Weyerhaeuser collects is used in its mills to make new paper. The rest is sold to customers around the world.  Recycled fiber comprises about 35 percent of the content of new Weyerhaeuser paper, as averaged across all grades of paper produced by the company.
  • Every Weyerhaeuser manufacturing facility that generates residuals and/or solid waste has developed strategies and implemented programs to manage, eliminate or reduce the production of solid wastes.  Weyerhaeuser beneficially reuses residuals in making its own products, ships them off site for use in the making of other products or converts them to energy.