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Meet Waste Management, our Member of the Month

October 2nd, 2017

Waste Management (WM) has a long tradition of investment in the communities that we serve. Our presence in the community is visible and starts with our drivers and the connection that they make with our customers every day and continues with the significant contributions that our company makes to a variety of causes.

Although WM is an environmental services company, our contributions and community relations efforts go well beyond the environmental scope of our business. Our involvement in the community is big and small, ranging from having a WM truck visit a cancer-stricken child on his birthday to contributing millions of dollars to the Red Cross to assist with Hurricane Harvey. Giving back is firmly entrenched in the WM culture and it is our belief that partnering with the communities that we serve will create a brighter future for all.

A Partner for Cleaner Air & Collective Learning

At home in Minnesota, WM began working more closely with the Environmental Initiative in 2002 and through the Clean Air Minnesota program, we pioneered the use of DPF filters on our trucks to reduce truck emissions. This was a step in the right direction for air quality in the metro area that ultimately led our company to invest in Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) trucks— a nationwide effort to switch from diesel to CNG that began in 2008 and continues today. CNG fueling station installation and investment in a CNG fleet have reduced greenhouse gas emissions significantly for our company and for the communities that we serve.

As a past Environmental Initiative Board member, I enjoyed various roles: from advising the organization on their Business and Environment Series to reviewing their various programs to giving direction on stakeholder group convenings. These events that engage multiple parties in discussions related to the environment are like “old home week,” because they provide a great opportunity to network with people that I have connected with over the years, but also to meet newcomers to the environmental field.

One of my fondest memories with Environmental Initiative was a matching contribution that Waste Management made to the Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity for the first green building home in the Twin Cities. WM used the building of this home in Crystal as an opportunity for a team building exercise for our Area’s leadership team. WM gained employee engagement through our hands-on work by helping other volunteers build this home, and the reward of giving back to a family in need was impactful. It was fun and a learning experience at the same time! WM also got to attend the open house for the future owners which was very gratifying.I have been with WM for over 15 years, and never have our volunteer efforts and community partnerships been a more important part of our culture.  We will continue to support Environmental Initiative because we believe it is an organization that has served a crucial role in efforts to improve the communities in which we all live and work.

I have been with WM for more than 15 years, and our volunteer efforts and community partnerships have never been a more important part of our culture than they are now. We will continue to support Environmental Initiative because we believe they have served a crucial role in efforts to improve the communities in which we all live and work.

Congratulations to Mike Harley on his upcoming 20-year anniversary with the organization! You have a lot to be proud of and we appreciate all that you have done.


Each month, we feature information about one of our members on the Initiative blog and on our website. Contact Sacha Seymour-Anderson anytime at 612-334-3388 ext. 8108 to learn more about this membership benefit.

POSTED BY:

Government Affairs, Waste Management

Meet Waste Management: August Member of the Month

August 2nd, 2016

TCMRFWasteSort

Waste Management has been a proud member and sponsor of Environmental Initiative since 2009. In the past, Waste Management was the Series Sponsor of the Business & Environment Series, which helped Environmental Initiative grow the program into what it is today.  Waste Management has also been a sponsor of the Environmental Initiative Awards. We are so happy for their continued membership support.

Waste Management: Embracing the Circular Economy

The concept of recycling discarded materials back into the manufacturing process is a no-brainer.  Instead of mining new resources, this “Circular Economy” mindset urges us to use and reuse materials time and again, recycling them and reusing them, in a closed loop of innovations. Avoiding the mining and extraction of new materials reduces demands on natural resources and reduces the carbon and other emissions that result from the manufacturing process. The concept works particularly well for metals, which are almost indefinitely reusable. For products like paper and metal, resource reuse is also generally cheaper than use of virgin materials.bale of crushed cans

But there’s more to the circular economy. The value lies not just in completing the circle, but in what you gain along the way. A functioning circular economy helps to continually reduce emissions and other environmental impacts. Waste, including residual waste, is reduced as is the use of non-renewable energies in traditional manufacture.

It’s important to remember that the concept of a circular economy remains, after all, an “economy”.  There are market forces to be reckoned with, including unpredictable externalities and shifting public demand. And, when we consider all of our daily activities, by far the most important is to avoid producing waste in the first place. Through waste reduction, we produce fewer waste related impacts to manage and we save money.  Our Waste Management Sustainability Services, Public Sector Services and Manufacturing and Industrial teams focus on how we can all better protect the environment by working with customers to reduce the waste they generate. For these customers, we become the “Zero-Waste Management” company.

Waste Management of Minnesota

Waste Management is Minnesota’s largest recycling and waste services provider in Minnesota, recycling nearly 250,000 tons of material per year at the Twin Cities Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) in Minneapolis. The Twin Cities MRF is the top Waste Management performing recycling facility of over 100 Waste Management facilities.

Waste Management also provides premium waste collection services and disposal facilities that meet all state and federal requirements for environmental protection.

With the largest network of recycling facilities, transfer stations and landfills in the nation, Waste Management’s entire business can adapt to meet the needs of every distinct customer group.

For more on Waste Management’s sustainability efforts visit http://www.wm.com/sustainability.

Thank you, Waste Management for your continued support of Environmental Initiative and we look forward to our future partnerships.

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Each month, we feature information about one of our members on the Initiative blog and on our website. Contact Sacha Seymour-Anderson anytime at 612-334-3388 ext. 8108 to learn more about this membership benefit.

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Sacha Seymour-Anderson

POSTED BY:

Development Director

Member of the Month: Waste Management

May 7th, 2015

Waste Management has been a proud member and sponsor of Environmental Initiative since 2009.  In the past, Waste Management was the Series Sponsor of the Business & Environment Series, which helped Environmental Initiative grow the program into what it is today.  Waste Management has also been a sponsor of the Environmental Initiative Awards. We are so happy for their continued membership support.

A little bit about Waste Management:
Waste Management is the largest recycler and waste services provider in Minnesota, recycling nearly 250,000 tons of material per year at the Twin Cities Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) in Minneapolis.  Waste Management also brought single sort recycling to Minnesota in 2002. Due to its ease and convenience, single sort increases participation in recycling and increases the recycling rate dramatically. The Twin Cities MRF is the top Waste Management performing recycling facility in the nation.

Waste Management has embraced renewable fuels with its transformation to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fueling stations and fleet.  Locally, the company has 2 fueling stations and over 100 CNG trucks, which result in cleaner, quieter collection of recyclables and trash.  Nationally, Waste Management has over 50 CNG fueling stations and has decreased truck emissions by over 15%.

With the largest network of recycling facilities, transfer stations and landfills in the industry, Waste Management’s entire business can adapt to meet the needs of every distinct customer group. For the seventh consecutive year, Waste Management was named one of the world’s most ethical companies by Ethisphere Institute, a research based organization that promotes best practices in corporate ethics and compliance.  Ethisphere recognizes companies “that truly go beyond making statements about doing business ethically, and translates those words into  action.”

Finally, Waste Management is also a renewable energy provider, producing more than twice the amount of renewable electricity than the entire US solar industry. One of the ways Waste Management does this is by recovering the naturally occurring gas inside landfills to generate electricity, called landfill-gas-to-energy. All three of Waste Management’s landfills in Minnesota have gas collection and recovery systems and agreements to sell the electricity to utilities to meet state renewable energy goals.

For more on Waste Management’s sustainability efforts visit: http://www.wm.com/sustainability/index.jsp.

Thank you, Waste Management for your continued support of Environmental Initiative and we look forward to our future partnerships.

Sacha Seymour-Anderson

POSTED BY:

Development Director

To Zero and Beyond: Business & Environment Session Preview

April 24th, 2014

Have YOU gone zero-waste yet?

Last year, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company became the first company to receive a platinum certification from the US Zero Waste Business Council. Closer to home, Mayor Betsy Hodges has announced plans for a zero-waste Minneapolis. You’ve probably been to a zero-waste event where all leftover materials are recycled, reused, or composted; maybe your company has donated used office furniture or supplies rather than tossing them; or you’ve thought twice about purchasing the trendy new single-use coffee pods or individual water bottles. The movement toward reducing what we toss is definitely growing, and more and more businesses, organizations, communities, and individuals are taking on this ambitious zero-waste goal. (more…)

Georgia Rubenstein

POSTED BY:

Senior Manager, Sustainability Program

The Secret Life of Used Electronics: Facts You Should Know

April 2nd, 2014

I recently wrote an article for Greenbiz.com titled The 3 rules of recycling electronics waste. The level of response I received and the questions it generated reinforced the notion that there’s a hunger for information on this issue. That’s the good news. The bad news is there continues to be considerable confusion on what to do and why things need to change.

If I were to write a FAQ for the article, the first, middle, and last question would be something along the lines of: “I’ve used company X for years to handle my e-waste. They pay me to take this stuff off of my hands. They’re obviously making money, so things must be ok, right?”

Well, no, not necessarily. The unfortunate reality is there are many perfectly legal and profitable ways to dispose of your IT assets and electronics, in ways that would turn your stomach. And, unless you ask the right questions, you’ll never know, and you could be incurring risks that you’re not even aware of.

Unless you’re working with recyclers that, at minimum, have either R2 or e-Stewards certifications, here’s what happens all too often: (more…)

Leo Raudys

POSTED BY:

Founder and CEO, Riduvit.com

Doing Better, Together: The Waste Reduction Collaborative

November 1st, 2013

“We all do better when we all do better.” That’s a quote we like around here at Environmental Initiative – it sums up our partnership-based mission pretty well, and it’s also one that’s been on my mind lately as I’ve been working on the Waste Reduction Collaborative, one of the newer projects that’s part of our work with the Twin Cities sustainable business community.

The idea for the project was born from discussions with a group of our business partners, who recognized that they’re all working on reducing what they’re sending to a landfill – whether through purchasing less, reusing, or recycling more – and that many of them face common barriers to minimizing waste the way they’d like to. Smaller companies, especially, may have trouble aggregating enough of a certain material to get much value from recycling it, or difficulties starting up a new contract with a waste hauler if they’re not located on an existing route, or just not have the resources or know-how to invest in innovative solutions to help throw out less.

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Georgia Rubenstein

POSTED BY:

Senior Manager, Sustainability Program

Report From Abroad: Exploring Organic Waste in Bangalore

June 22nd, 2013

Hello everyone, and greetings from Bangalore, India! I’m in the middle of a five-week trip here as part of my work with Acara, a program at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment. With a few colleagues, I’m exploring the opportunity to start a social venture focused on organic waste management. Its the end of week three, and its incredible how much I’ve seen and learned already.

We started this project almost a year ago, in the fall of 2012. As part of my graduate degree at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, I was in a course called Design for Sustainable Development. Over the semester, I worked in a group with three other University of Minnesota students and three students from the Xavier Institute of Management in Bhubaneswar, in northeastern India. Our charge was to use design thinking to develop a business model that addressed a social problem in India (more on design thinking for social innovation here). We took on the topic of organic waste, and developed a project that would assist apartment buildings in composting their organic waste and creating rooftop vegetable gardens. Many long discussions, iterations, and competitions later, here we are to learn more about how we might put some of our ideas into action.

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Georgia Rubenstein

POSTED BY:

Senior Manager, Sustainability Program

Our 2012 Top 10: The Year in Review

December 27th, 2012

Happy new year, from all of us here at Environmental Initiative! Another year has flown by. Things are quiet at the office this week and we’re taking a breather to look back on 2012 — reflecting on the projects we’ve been a part of, the many partners we’ve worked with, and the successes we’ve achieved, together, for Minnesota’s environment. We’ve got plenty in store for an even more exciting 2013 but before we tell you more, join us in our reflection and embark with us on a journey back through 2012. Here, with no further ado, is our second annual Year in Review Top Ten List. Be sure to check out the slideshow too!

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Georgia Rubenstein

POSTED BY:

Senior Manager, Sustainability Program

Business & Environment Session Recap: Closing the Loop

November 8th, 2012

Whether through cradle-to-cradle design, zero waste commitments, or simply trying to toss out a little less each week, Minnesota companies continue to seek new ways to reduce their waste, and maybe save some money and make their processes more efficient in the meantime. This was the focus of our recent event, “Closing the Loop: Managing Downstream Waste,” the third and final session of the 2012 Business & Environment Series.

Over sixty individuals including sustainability practitioners, facilities managers, and communications experts from Minnesota businesses, state, county, and city governments, nonprofits, and educational institutions, came together at Medtronic World Headquarters in Fridley to discuss why downstream waste matters, what the challenges are to managing it, and how we can find solutions.

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Georgia Rubenstein

POSTED BY:

Senior Manager, Sustainability Program

A Preview: Managing Downstream Waste

October 12th, 2012

Even more than the recent chilly mornings and dark evenings, here’s something even more telling that the end of 2012 is creeping up on us: in two weeks, we’ll hold our last Business & Environment Session of the year! On Thursday, October 25th, at Medtronic, we’ll gather with business partners, sustainability practitioners, and issue experts from nonprofits, academia, and government, to discuss downstream waste – a topic that’s been getting a lot of attention in sustainability circles.

More and more organizations are taking a supply chain-wide approach to waste reduction, looking both up and downstream and working with both suppliers and consumers to minimize waste. This makes waste management decisions more complex and sometimes more difficult, but also creates new and exciting opportunities for finding innovative ways to reduce waste. We opted to cover this big topic in two sessions: the upcoming downstream waste event complements our August conversation on upstream waste. (more…)

Georgia Rubenstein

POSTED BY:

Senior Manager, Sustainability Program
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