What does environmental success mean to WCA?
Everything that we need for survival and well-being depends on our natural environment. At WCA we know it is our responsibility to maintain and manage the environmental, economic, and social dimensions that are fundamental to the concept of sustainability. Such dimensions create and maintain the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony to ensure a healthy environment for present and future generations. WCA is committed to maintaining and cultivating sustainable business practices, as well as ensuring environmental awareness and preservation in the markets we service.
WCA is committed to creating a company culture where employees understand and respect the value of protecting the environment. Our compliance with governmental regulations and permit requirements in the markets in which we operate demonstrates our commitment to the communities we serve. WCA strives to be a leader in the solid waste industry by continually improving our operations, policies and procedures to reflect this commitment. Environmental responsibility, efficient transportation and disposal services are the avenues WCA utilizes to service our customers and achieve this goal.
What is WCA doing to be environmentally successful?
Landfill gas-to-energy is a fundamental element of solid waste management and is an environmentally attractive solution. Landfill gas is a mix of different gases created by the decomposition of waste within a landfill, and WCA has systems in place to capture these gases and use them to generate power. With our landfill gas plants we are able to: reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve local air quality, encourage economic development and job creation, and develop a local renewable source of energy.
Progress to date:
- More than 5,000 homes are powered by WCA’s landfill gas to energy stations
- Equivalent to more than 4 million gallons of gasoline being conserved
- Equivalent to more than 31,000 acres of U.S. forests being conserved
WCA is an industry leader when it comes to collecting recyclable material and processing various forms of materials.
WCA’s Material Recovery Facility (MRF) in Kansas City, Missouri is processing and diverting approximately 5,000 tons of waste from landfills each month.
Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Vehicle Conversion
WCA’s compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles produce up to 30% less greenhouse gas emissions and 60% to 90% less smog-producing pollutants than petroleum-fueled vehicles. In 2014, we increased the number of CNG trucks in our fleet by 30% and had 12.5% (64 trucks) of our fleet converted to CNG by the end of 2014. In 2013, WCA built a CNG station in Gainesville, Florida to serve local operations. In 2014, WCA completed construction of another CNG fleet fueling station in Lake County, Florida and completed construction of another site in Houston, Texas.
WCA’s CNG Facts:
- Prevented the burning of 1.4 million gallons of diesel fuel in 2015
- Decreased CO2 emissions by over 17,135 tons in 2015
In 2014, WCA implemented a route optimization plan to help reduce our trucks’ travel distance and travel time. Less distance-traveled means less fuel burned, reduced gas emissions, and reduced wear on the truck fleet. Optimizing the routes will ultimately improve the environment by reducing the amount of CO2 that is released into the air. With our new plan in place, WCA will be able to cut down on fleet usage and report the positive impacts of the program for 2015.
Other Successful Sustainability Projects
Zero Waste at the University of Florida
In 2012, the University of Florida set a goal of “ZERO WASTE” by 2015. On Tuesday, June 11, 2014, Recycle Florida Today officially announced that The University of Florida Athletic Association and WCA’s Zero-Waste program won the Environmental Sustainability Award.
We were able to achieve an ultimate diversion rate of 78% at the University of Florida football game. The contained environment of a stadium allowed for smart purchasing and even smarter waste management. From food items to food packaging, we focused on switching to either recyclable or compostable options.
In addition to purchasing decisions, operations played one of the most important roles in large-scale diversion. With a stadium capacity of over 88,000 fans, operations staff required clear direction. From set-up to next-day cleanup, we trained countless staff members and provided supervision to ensure consistent waste streams, and, finally, that color-coordinated bags reached appropriate containers.
WCA partnered with Watson C&D, LLC to collect and process organic materials generated during each game and University of Florida dining facilities for composting. In 2014, almost 60,000 pounds of collected organics were composted with this system, naturally transforming “garbage to garden.”