Profile: Waste Management Inc (WM.N)
11 Dec 2013
Waste Management, Inc. (WM), incorporated on April 28, 1995, is a provider of waste management services in North America. WM’s subsidiaries provide collection, transfer, recycling, and disposal services. The Company is a developer, operator and owner of waste-to-energy and landfill gas-to-energy facilities in the United States. Its customers include residential, commercial, industrial and municipal customers throughout North America. Its segments include Eastern, Midwest, Southern, Western and Wheelabrator Groups. The Oakleaf operations are included in other. The services the Company provides include collection, landfill (solid and hazardous waste landfills), transfer, waste-to-energy facilities and independent power production plants, recycling and other services. On July 28, 2011, it acquired Oakleaf Global Holdings and its primary operations (Oakleaf), which provides outsourced waste and recycling services through a nationwide network of third-party haulers. In January 2013, its subsidiary, WM Recycle America, L.L.C., acquired Greenstar, LLC from NTR plc. Effective August 1, 2013, Waste Management Inc (Waste) acquired Summit Energy Services, and concurrently, Waste acquired Liquid Logistics. Effective August 1, 2013, Waste Management Inc acquired Oak Grove Disposal Co.
The Company through its core waste management services owns or operates 271 landfill sites, which is a network of landfills in its industry. The Company manages 287 transfer stations. It also uses waste to create energy. It uses the gas produced naturally as waste decomposes in landfills for use in the generation of electricity. It also uses waste to create energy through a combustion process. Its waste-to-energy subsidiary, Wheelabrator Technologies Inc., operates 22 plants that produce clean, renewable energy. The Company is a recycler in North America, handling materials that include paper, cardboard, glass, plastic, metal and electronics.
Collection involves picking up and transporting waste and recyclable materials from where it was generated to a transfer station, material recovery facility (MRF) or disposal site. For commercial and industrial collection services, typically it has a three-year service agreement. For residential collection services, it has a contract with, or a franchise granted by, a municipality, homeowners’ association or some other regional authority that gives the Company the exclusive right to service all or a portion of the homes in an area. These contracts or franchises are typically for periods of three to five years. The Company also provides services under individual monthly subscriptions directly to households.
Landfills are the depositories for solid waste in North America. At December 31, 2011, it owned or operated 266 solid waste landfills, which represents the network of landfills in North America. Solid waste landfills are constructed and operated on land with engineering safeguards that limit the possibility of water and air pollution, and are operated under procedures prescribed by regulation. The operation and closure activities of a solid waste landfill include excavation, construction of liners, continuous spreading and compacting of waste, covering of waste with earth or other acceptable material and constructing final capping of the landfill. It also operates five secure hazardous waste landfills in the United States. Its hazardous waste landfills are sited, constructed and operated in a manner designed to provide long-term containment of waste.
At December 31, 2011, it owned or operated 287 transfer stations in North America. At December 31, 2011, its WM Healthcare Solutions subsidiary had 21 smaller transfer operations (separate from its 10 processing facilities, but some of which are located at other existing Company facilities) that are permitted to consolidate regulated medical waste collections for disposal. The transfer stations that it operates but do not own generally are operated through lease agreements under which it leases property from third parties. There are some instances where transfer stations are operated under contract, generally for municipalities. The Company owns the permits and will be responsible for any regulatory requirements relating to the operation and closure of the transfer station.
As of December 31, 2011, it owned or operated 17 waste-to-energy facilities and five independent power production plants (IPPs), which are located in the Northeast, in the Mid-Atlantic, and in Florida, California and Washington. As of December 31, 2011, its waste-to-energy facilities were capable of processing up to 22,300 tons of solid waste each day. During the year ended December 31, 2011, its waste-to-energy facilities received and processed eight million tons of solid waste, or approximately 22,000 tons per day. Its IPPs convert various waste and conventional fuels into steam. It generates steam at its waste-to-energy and IPPs facilities for the production of electricity. It sells the electricity produced at its facilities into wholesale markets, which include investor-owned utilities, power marketers and regional power pools. Some of its facilities also sell steam directly to end users. Fees charged for electricity and steam at its waste-to-energy facilities and IPPs have generally been subject to the terms and conditions of long-term contracts.
The Company’s recycling operations provide communities and industries with an alternative to traditional landfill disposal and support its strategic goals to extract more value from the materials it manages. The Company is a solid waste company to focus on residential single-stream recycling, which allows customers to mix recyclable paper, plastic and glass in one bin. Residential single-stream programs have greatly increased the recycling rates. Single-stream recycling is possible through the use of various mechanized screens and optical sorting technologies. It is also advancing the single-stream recycling programs for commercial applications.
Recycling involves the separation of reusable materials from the waste stream for processing and resale or other disposition. Its recycling operations include materials processing, plastics materials recycling and commodities recycling. Through its collection operations, it collects recyclable materials from residential, commercial and industrial customers and directs these materials to one of its material recovery facilities (MRFs) for processing. It operates 107 MRFs where paper, cardboard, metals, plastics, glass, construction and demolition materials and other recyclable commodities are recovered for resale. The Company also operates 13 secondary processing facilities where recyclable materials can be further processed into raw products used in the manufacturing of consumer goods. Materials processing services include data destruction and automated color sorting. Using sorting and processing technology, it process, inventory and sell plastic commodities. The Company markets and resells recyclable commodities to customers world-wide. It manages the marketing of recyclable commodities that are processed in its facilities by maintaining service centers that continuously analyze market prices, logistics, market demands and product quality.
The Company provides recycling brokerage services which involves managing the marketing of recyclable materials for third parties. Utilizing the resources and knowledge of its recycling operations’ service centers, it can assist customers in marketing and selling their recyclable commodities with little to no capital requirements. It also provides electronics recycling. The Company recycles discarded computers, communications equipment, and other electronic equipment. Services include the collection, sorting and disassembling of electronics in an effort to reuse or recycle all collected materials.
WM Sustainability Services provides a variety of sustainability services to businesses and organizations. This includes in-plant services, where it works with its customers’ facilities to provide service waste management solutions and consulting services. Its vertically integrated waste management operations enable the Company to provide customers with management of their waste. The Company develops, operates and promotes projects for the beneficial use of landfill gas through its WM Renewable Energy Program. Landfill gas is produced naturally as waste decomposes in a landfill. At December 31, 2011, landfill gas beneficial use projects were producing commercial quantities of methane gas at 131 of its solid waste landfills. At 102 of these landfills, the processed gas is used to fuel electricity generators. The electricity is then sold to public utilities, municipal utilities or power cooperatives. At 18 landfills, the gas is used at the landfill or delivered by pipeline to industrial customers as a direct substitute for fossil fuels in industrial processes. At 10 landfills, the landfill gas is processed to pipeline-quality natural gas and then sold to natural gas suppliers. At one landfill, the gas is processed into liquefied natural gas and used as vehicle fuel.
WM Healthcare Solutions subsidiary offers integrated medical waste services for healthcare facilities, pharmacies and individuals. The Company provides service solutions to facilities to assist them in identifying waste streams and proper disposal. The Company is investing in businesses and technologies that are designed to offer services and solutions ancillary or supplementary to its operations. These investments include joint ventures, acquisitions and partial ownership interests. The solutions and services include the collection of project waste, including construction debris and household or yard waste, through its Bagster program; the development, operation and marketing of plasma gasification facilities; operation of a landfill gas-to-liquid natural gas plant; solar powered trash compactors, and organic waste-to-fuel conversion technology.
The Company’s services includes offering portable self-storage services; fluorescent bulb and universal waste mail-back through its LampTracker program, and a sharps mail return program through which individuals can safely dispose of their used syringes and lancets using its MedWaste Tracker system. In addition, it has made investments that involve acquisition and development of interests in oil and gas producing properties. It rents portable restroom facilities to municipalities and commercial customers under the name Port-o-Let, the Company services, such facilities and it provides street and parking lot sweeping services.
Waste Management Inc
Suite 4000, 1001 Fannin Street
HOUSTON TX 77002