Republic Services has sets its sights high for the coming year in its annual sustainability report, which was released earlier this month. Among its goals: increasing recycling capacity; reducing vehicle emissions and expanding its landfill gas and renewable energy projects.
In the report, Phoenix-based Republic vowed to add 150,000 tons of recycling capacity annually, develop two landfill gas and renewable energy projects each year and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from collection vehicles by 3 percent by 2018.
“Because we are striving to be America's preferred recycling and solid waste partner, we evaluated our internal operations to better understand our environmental impact, how to provide effortless solutions to our customers that empower them to do the right thing, and ultimately, ways to make our planet safer and better for everyone,” says Republic President and CEO Don Slager. “In 2015, we will continue to explore new opportunities to drive efficiencies and create shared value among our customers, employees and communities.”
In terms of its operations, Republic collected 5 million tons of recyclables in 2014, investing more than $20 million in upgrades that allowed the company to increase its collections by 170,000 tons each year. Republic also collected 1.4 million metric tons of methane gas for reuse.
Additionally, leachate collected at Republic facilities and treated on site is then re-used within the local watershed or sent to wastewater treatment. More than 870 million gallons of leachate were returned to the watershed last year, according to the company.
Republic also continues to research the best practices for the management of active and closed landfills, with more than 300 landfills currently in the Republic system. Some uses at the closed landfills include capturing solar energy, creating new natural habitats, and even golf courses, according to the company.
Other sustainability measures outlined in the report include improvements to its vehicle fleet. So far, the company has already converted 2,200 trucks to compressed natural gas—saving roughly 18 million gallons of diesel each year—and has 36 fueling stations at its facilities across the country. Republic is also working to improve fuel efficiency and routing with its OneFleet standardized vehicle maintenance program, which strives to add one year of life to every Republic vehicle.
Safety is also a big focus of the new report, and Republic says it is always looking for new programs and practices to improve employee safety, as well as safety in the communities it serves. Republic notes that its current safety performance rating from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is 42 percent better than the industry average.