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Episode 114: One-on-One Chat with Worthing Jackman, President & CEO, Waste Connections (Transcript)

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[00:00:00] Liz Bothwell: Hi everyone, welcome to Waste360's NothingWasted !Podcast. On every episode, we invite the most interesting people in waste recycling and organics to sit down with us and chat candidly about their thoughts, their work, this unique industry and so much more. Thanks for listening and enjoy this episode.

[music]

[00:00:28] Ben: Our guest today is Worthing Jackman. Worthing has been President and Chief Executive Officer of Waste Connections since July 2019 and President of Waste Connections since July of 2018. Mr. Jackman joined Waste Connections in 2003 and served as its Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer from September 2004 to July 2018. From 1991 until April 2003, Mr. Jackman held various investment banking positions with Alex. Brown & Sons now Deutsche Bank Securities, Inc.

Including most recently as a Managing Director within the Global Industrial & Environmental Services Group. In that capacity, he provided capital markets and strategic advisory services to companies in a variety of sectors, including solid waste services. Mr. Jackman serves as a director for Quanta Services, Inc. He holds a B.S. degree in Finance from Syracuse University and an MBA from the Harvard Business School. Thank you very much, Worthing, to be with us today. Okay, Darrell.

[00:01:39] Darrell: Thank you, Ben. Can everybody hear us? Is your mic on?

[00:01:42] Worthing Jackman: Yes, it's on.

[00:01:43] Darrell: All right. Worthing, thanks so much for joining us. We've been trying to do this for two years and something got in the way.

[00:01:50] Worthing: I warned you when you gave me the invite that attendance would be way down if you started advertising me with the WasteExpo.

[00:01:57] Darrell: Everybody's excited to see you. You're a grand personality in the industry. Thanks so much for coming but before we get started, I've got to ask you. You showed up in the waste business with a Harvard MBA? [laughs] 

[00:02:14] Worthing: I was the token HBS guy. Every company needs at least one.

[00:02:18] Darrell: Yes. I think we had to cancel the Harvard grads reception and banquet this year because of COVID. Maybe the two of you can get together next year.

[laughter]

[00:02:30] Darrell: Very good. I'd like to focus this interview a little bit on leadership. People really like to know who their leaders are for multiple reasons. They like to know how you got where you are so they can duplicate it. They like to know more about you so they can predict your movements, and all sorts of things like that.

Before we get down to business, maybe you can tell us a little bit about your personal life, what your hobbies are, what your sport is. I know what your sport is because we're in the waste industry, but how do you spend your time when you're not working?

[00:03:05] Worthing: Sure. Born and raised in New Orleans. I went to school, as you see it, up East. That's where I met my wife, who's out in the audience. We met freshman year but didn't date until after college. Been married now for 33 years almost. Three kids, two boys, mid-twenties, and a daughter who's a sophomore in college in your hometown, in D.C. She's at American. Grown-up in New Orleans, really, a family of modest means and parents that focused on education.

The Jesuits were fortunate enough to offer us a discount in order to go to high school. My mom died right after I graduated from high school and at that time, she had worked for Tulane University. Tulane University actually honored a commitment to pay for college for me when I went to Syracuse as if she was still an employee of the school. That gave me an opportunity to go up East and leave New Orleans and here we are today, sitting on stage.

[00:04:13] Darrell: Very good. It reminds me a lot of breaks I got growing up, too, because I had modest means. What are some of the people that have influenced your career? I can name three people that had it not been for them I don't know where I'd be. I'd be doing something else, I guess. It's just funny how you meet somebody and they direct your life. Do you have any personalities you'd like to mention?

[00:04:40] Worthing: It would be hard to stop at three. I met so many people along the way, whether it be folks that gave me jobs in high school, folks that gave me opportunities during college to intern in the summer in the financial services business because, obviously, that wasn't part of our family world. Professors that gave me opportunities, business leaders that did. Actually, it all just leads up to, again, being where we are today with a chance meeting with Ron Mittelstaedt, shortly after he founded the company.

Had the privilege of working with Ron, help take the company public on its IPO, and did a variety of things with the company after that. Ron, I believe in 2001, called and said, "Hey, we want you to join us." I said, "Passed." They called again and I passed. The timing's not right. We just had our daughter and didn't feel as appropriate to leave at that point in time.

Over the course of 15 months, he finally said, "You got to come here now. We're going to move on." And I said, "I'll see you next week." Drove from Baltimore out to California and started shortly thereafter.

[00:05:51] Darrell: We've certainly been through a lot in the past year, as everybody has. You can't help but think about it as you look out here and see everybody sitting six feet apart. I guess is six feet. It's been a really challenging year for everybody, especially for leaders, I think, when you had people depending on you. There were a lot of worries that we had at the beginning, but I'm interested in what you learned about yourself personally. Because this was a real crisis. It was a worldwide crisis and certainly a crisis in the industry. Did you learn anything about yourself and your ability to lead, how you react in crises? That kind of thing.

[00:06:39] Worthing: I think what we affirmed is that if you let your values and your culture drive your actions and decisions, things work out. Our culture is one of Servant Leadership, which is always being one for others and serving all your employees. It's an inverted pyramid that puts the front line on top and puts overhead down at the very bottom. We have to prove ourselves to our employees and their families each and every day.

That approach in guiding our decisions, you look back, we put almost $40 million of employee and family wage, wellness, and health support into the business last year. We thought it was important to just tamp down on the anxieties that people would have, and the chaos and uncertainties. If we knew if we focused on employees, employees would then be able to show up, serve the communities.

I looked at not only us, but I assume most of the companies in this industry, we had over 99% attendance throughout COVID. Which is remarkable if you look back and recall where we were 15 months ago. I think that statement could be said about most players in the industry, that the commitment our folks had to each other, to their customers and communities, was outstanding.

[00:08:04] Darrell: You mentioned Servant Leadership and I know Waste Connections is very much into that leadership philosophy. There are other leadership philosophies. There's Authentic Leadership, there's like seven or eight grand leadership philosophies and you guys have selected Servant Leadership. I wanted to give you an opportunity to mention that. If people haven't heard about that or had a chance to learn about that, let them know how Waste Connections decided on that particular route.

[00:08:36] Worthing: One of your earlier questions was, what folks do you think about that helped you along the way? Servant Leadership was common sense. What can you do each and every day to help your employees, both professionally and at home? It's a focus on the mind and the heart. It's a focus on if you care for each other and if you can put the right relationships in place that a leader should have with the folks they have the privilege of leading, then you end up with fully empowered employees, employees that don't have to be told what to do. They know innately what to do when no one's looking.

It's revolutionary for folks outside of work because they take that common sense approach and caring for each other home. Again, it's what you think the household ought to be, too. The letters we get from our employees who join us and look back on it, that I get, it's really transformed people's lives. But at the heart of it is knowing that if relationships drive results, what drives relationships? This is not an authoritarian or dictatorial leadership or managerial, it's invert the pyramid. The higher up an organization you have, the more people you have above you to serve. I serve 20,000 people each and every day.

[00:10:01] Darrell: Yes. That's great. It's easy to care about this industry. It has such good people and they certainly showed that during the crisis. Let's turn to business a little bit. I know Waste Connections was very proud of their acquisitions program and everybody always wants to hear about that from you. You have been quoted as saying that it's going to be very active going forward. I wanted to see if you still think that, what your crystal ball says about that, what you can tell us?

[00:10:34] Worthing: I think it's easily one of the most active times in quite some time for M&A. You look at the macro backdrop, you still have practically zero cost of capital with the low cost of debt. You've got families that still face lenient transition issues. Now they can look ahead and think if they're going to sell in the next three or five years given risk of tax law change, given devaluations in the marketplace today with such low cost of capital that now's the time to do it.

People got through the pandemic. That was a curveball for a lot of folks with regards to how the business was doing and their willingness to meet. They come out of the pandemic. This industry, as we all know, is firing on all cylinders. It's probably the best time. Right now we've had a long time in this industry, given everything that's working well and owners are making the decision that now's the time. I think you'll see a lot of activity across this industry in the second half of this year. Things that get across the finish line.

[00:11:37] Darrell: Yes. What can you tell us about things that you look for when you're thinking about acquisitions? I know you guys have a really good program for family businesses and things like that, but what kinds of things really get your attention? You have a great finance background as I understand, so what are the first flags you go when you need to take a look at this company, if you can tell us? 

[00:12:01] Worthing: For us, it's always been, first and foremost, the market model, the markets that we choose to operate in. The company's asset positioning, our market shares are critical for us as well, but brand names are critically important as well. We're not going to markets and put our name on the trucks. We don't take family's names off the business. We still operate a very local decentralized business with a local brand name. It retains the family feeling. It retains the decision-making locally, community support locally.

We don't think we should be able to run a business sitting in Houston better than someone sitting in the local marketplace. It's that recognition that if we do our job right, the customer doesn't know there's been a change of ownership. Maybe there's some additional fleet that gets put in, some additional safety programs, et cetera, but it should be very seamless to the customer. 

[00:12:57] Darrell: Very good. NWRA right now, this time of the political season, with the new administration coming into Washington D.C., it's the kind of time where lobbying groups like ourselves are taking the temperature of the new administration. We know what they said they're going to do. We got to watch to see if that's actually what they're going to do. We got to watch and see who they're hiring. We got to evaluate a bunch of different factors and see where we should put our energy.

We've noticed a few things that there are certainly rising to the top that everybody knows about. EPR, for instance, but environmental justice is coming up quite a bit. The EPA seems to be very serious about it. The administration itself is serious about it. It's a very difficult area to regulate in so things can go a lot of different directions with environmental justice. As a company, what are you all thinking about relative to that yet or it hasn't gotten to the top discussion level yet? What are you happy about and what are you worried about relative to environmental justice? 

[00:14:11] Worthing: First off, this industry should align itself well with environmental justice. This is, again, a local business with local governments. We're partners with local governments in the communities in many instances. Oftentimes, as people know, we have host agreements that set up that relationship and the support for many local organizations. We're a highly regulated, compliance-oriented industry so without a doubt, there may be some bad actors out there that the EPA needs to be mindful of.

I know last week the EPA and the DOJ were told to coordinate on potential criminal activities for folks that are really rogue actors across multiple industries. Again, with a community-oriented and regulated business that we have, environmental justice should not scare folks in this industry. We need to be partners with the communities that we operate in and be good towards the environment.

[00:15:11] Darrell: Yes, well said. All garbage is local, so that means you do need to be a good partner in the community. It's an easy thing to do and I think we're appreciated in the communities too. 

[00:15:20] Worthing: I would say behind the scenes, though, companies need to be profiling their assets to make sure they know how they set up with various [unintelligible 00:15:27] metrics to understand where the risk points are. In this country, it's easy to sue somebody, so we've got to keep a level head on this. 

[00:15:37] Darrell: Yes, we've set up a task force on that, that people are welcome to join, but there are several. EPA is working on tools to help people understand what's going on, but that will definitely be evolving. Is there anything else? emerging issues or rising concerns that you think we should be keeping our eyes on for? 

[00:15:56] Worthing: Look, I think that one of the biggest issues this industry has is just attracting labor to it. I think through the association we should try to work together to find a way to help promote this industry. Not for one particular employer or another, but just to attract people. This is a fantastic industry, high-paying jobs, folks get to go home at night. Go play to benefits, great assets, great people, great comradery, great relationships, but labor availability, getting people to want to come into this industry. Yes, because you look ahead, it's not going to get any easier and we're all short heads right now. We're probably down four to 5% on the headcount.

This industry can operate short on heads because we get supervisors chip-in in all those things, but it's hard to sustain that if it is going to get worse from here. I think we should do all we can to try to attract folks' interest. 

[00:16:53] Darrell: Yes. We're looking at various programs and things too. We're always trying to bring more women into the industry and second chance type opportunities. We've got some sessions at the WasteExpo this year to talk about that. Labor is a big problem right now and I agree, it's affecting a lot of industries based on the amount of time we waited for dinner last night too. Final question, and then we're going to open it up to the audience here to ask some questions. Michael, are you ready to ask a question?

[laughter]  

[00:17:30] Darrell: He got all wiggly there on me. We're going to have some mics running around so think about what you'd like to ask Worthing. Worthing, this is the question, my favorite one on my cards here. I wasn't a Harvard graduate. I went into a knuckle-dragging military academy, but one phrase they used to tell us a lot was, "Duty is the sublimest word in the English language." That's ingrained into my head. Of course, we all had to go look up what sublime meant.

During the course of COVID, when it first started back in March, we had a lot of fears in our head. A lot of the leaders in the industry were starting to picture garbage piling up to our necks all over the country. We didn't know what was going to happen, and that's not what happened at all. What actually happened were these great headlines about how kids are on the street, thanking the industry for what they do, how neighborhoods are putting up signs. We really didn't have any major hiccups.

There were a few problems, but nothing the way that it could have been. It could have been a massive disaster and the industry really did its duty. There's all these hero stories, everybody's showed up for work and did their duty. Have you had calls to just be really, really proud of the industry that you're in during this crisis? Because it has been amazing. 

[00:19:09] Worthing: We look back, we started the preparation back in February of last year. Just saying, "What if this came our way?" To your point, there were so many disaster scenarios that we played out with regards to service, while the customers would pay their bills. We threw a billion dollars of cash in our balance sheet, just like most folks did, to try to ride out the unknown for those first two months or so. But without a doubt, the gratitude that our customers and communities showed us, the handwritten notes, the crayon-colored pictures, the interactions, the thank you's.

Then, on the flip side, spouses that would reach out to me and talk about their fears as a family and acknowledging, again, what we were doing for their families and stuff. Because it's just not the chaos and the fear that an employee might have, but for most of our employees, their spouse may lost a job, the spouse's hours may have been cut. All of a sudden, their kids at home. We all know the stories, but they're heroes throughout this industry. It's about time to get that recognition versus being in the unseen.

[00:20:29] Darrell: Yes, at some point we'll be able to put this completely in the rearview mirror. We hope that's sooner, rather than later. I know that you're on the phone with us. During the first couple of months in DC, it was a madhouse in the lobbying world as it was everywhere else. NWRA was able to get a lot of victories across the country, hundreds of them, in fact, for the industry. Worthing was on the phone with us quite a bit, helping guide that, as well as the other leaders in the industry. We appreciate that.

NWRA actually has won an award for our efforts during COVID, because it was a really intense time. We appreciate the industry's help and appreciate your leadership during that time. You were one of the leaders, you realized you needed to get really involved in the public policy arena in Washington. You were on the phone with us, helping us strategize as to how to take care of that. We appreciate that. I'm going to open the floor. Do we have mics somewhere? Michael, do you want to ask a question?

[laughter] 

[00:21:48] Michael: Worthing, you alluded to the leadership roles that this industry has taken, talked about people first, servant leadership, but others that the industry has been on the forefront, and not often talked about, are around sustainability, so managing landfill gas and managing it prudently. The latest one is the fleet. The [unintelligible 00:22:08] is talking about battery-electric broadly in an economy, but it's also an industry that's substantially moved the fleet towards alternatives to diesel.  Can you talk about what Waste Connections is doing around this evolution to zero emissions on the fleet? What that pathway looks like and what's driving that?

[00:22:27] Worthing: Sure. Look, we've got obviously a large diesel fleet. In certain markets, we run pure CNG. With a mostly rural market structure, it's hard to run CNG in many of our markets, given route distances. Where it's appropriate, we've got CNG infrastructure in place. We were early on in trying to do battery technology and working with Lion and Boivin to take delivery. Fully electric. Not just chassis, but body as well so we can start demonstrating those units and putting them through their paces.

We, hopefully, will receive up to six or seven by the end of this year so we can see various markets. I think we're more bullish on electric than CNG long-term, but then again, CNG availability is today. It's hard to know what year we'll have enough units out there coming through their manufacturing lines to really make a dent on electric. Is it five years? Is it seven years? Is it 10 years? Et cetera. But it's definitely where we're headed. I know it was part of your session yesterday. I would hope all of our vendors that are in that food chain are taking heed of this because it's not easy.

Their chassis is-- different, alternative chassis available right now, to my knowledge, is just one electric body manufacturer that's out there. Obviously, we've got a demonstration unit going on in North Texas right now. Our view near-term is more about safety. How do you get a driver assist packages that we all have in our cars on the trucks? The iconic truck for us has been a game-changer in many markets, and specking new fleet with those safety features, auto-breaking, things like that. I think that's a biggest near-term game-changer. I know it's not a power question like you had, but I think technology-wise, the benefits that they have for drivers and folks in the communities, the driver assist is critical.

[00:24:40] Darrell: This young man right here it's raising his hand.

[00:24:43] Participant: No.

[laughter]

[00:24:49] Dwight Hanson: Hi, Dwight Hanson. Quick question, I've been in the industry forever with [unintelligible 00:24:54] and everything. One of the things that I marvel at is every company has it, but I think Waste Connections has mastered it, the culture. Could you talk a little bit about Waste Connections' culture? Because it's just something that always fascinates me when I hear the name Waste Connection. I've seen what you guys have done over the years.

[00:25:10] Worthing: Sure. Look, our view always is that cultures are either accidental or they're purposeful. 16 years ago we decided to take a purposeful journey on Servant Leadership with the true belief that once you get your markets in place, it's about human capital and we're going to win on human capital. Put simply, how do you change the paradigm of high turnover and high frequency of incidents? That's all about the head and the heart again. We rolled out Servant Leadership.

Initially, we made it optional, but we told people, "If you're elected into it", because remember, we're decentralized. If you're elected, we're telling you, "These are the benefits you'll see in labor, in safety, and financial performance".

Folks that took us up on it saw those benefits. After two years, we said, "It's no longer optional. Everyone's doing it." It wasn't for everybody. The old way of moving up in management is, "The higher I get, the less I need to interact. More power. I'm just here to tell people what to do." That's not leadership. Our view of leadership is a higher responsibility to the employee than before. Look, we have Servant Leadership. At one point in time, we had eight different sessions thinking about undergrad, master's, and Ph.D. in Servant Leadership. The training is constant, the 360 Evaluation, all employees, right there fill out a questionnaire to rate their leader every year.

We have 93% dissipation on that. 10 simple questions. Last year, we expanded it to 12 to make sure we're focused on getting the temperature on inclusion. You think inclusion should be a DNA of Servant Leadership and I was proud to see that the two highest scores we got of any question were the new ones we put in on inclusion. Our view is, "This gets a lot easier if employees stay with you." We still have to coach. We still have to have hard conversations, this isn't soft leadership, but it's a belief, again, that relationships can drive results and relationships across vendors.

Many of our vendor partners support us. That's innate in the respect that we expect our folks to have for those that we have the privilege to work with. I think Servant Leadership began to extend well beyond the 20,000 employees we have, given the impact we have on families and all of our other stakeholders.

[00:27:47] Darrell: Yes, sir? Sorry, you've got the mic already. We'll come to you next.

[00:27:52] Mike Hart: Mister Jackman, I'm Mike Hart with Sierra Energy. You guys have been very inspirational for us in many years, supporting us in our work in gasification. I have a really critical question for you. For years, we have been losing a bottle of tequila a year on that bet with Ron and Steve. We promised we'd have our gas fire up and running on waste. Now that they're gone and we're actually operating, who do I get the tequila from?

[laughter] 

[00:28:21] Worthing: That means you owe me at least three bottles for the last three years.

[laughter] 

[00:28:27] Worthing: Some people [unintelligible 00:28:28] Tequila, we have a golf charity event every year that our vendors come and support. We had 150 this past March. For many, it was the first. It was like a mini expo, but for many, it was the first time they were together in over 15 months. We have a tequila hole where it's 20 bucks a shot or so. We raised over 20,000 just on tequila holes. We put it to good use.

[00:28:54] Darrell: Speaking of your events, some people wanted me to ask if you all been able to not hold your party for a couple of years. Everybody's thinking that next year's Waste Connections party is going to be out of control.

[00:29:08] Worthing: It's going to be a blowout.

[00:29:10] Darrell: [laughs] We just want you to-- just the small group, just tell us who the band's going to be. 

[00:29:16] Worthing: Let me say the budget has doubled for next year.

[00:29:18] Darrell: I tried.

[00:29:19] Worthing: We already have our venue. It's going to be a shit show.

[00:29:22] Darrell: I heard it was the Rolling Stones, but I don't know if it's true.

[laughter] 

[00:29:26] Darrell: Yes, sir.

[00:29:31] Ashish: This is Ashish from Waste Management. With the background from a financial industry that spends heavily on digital technologies, what's your view about digital technologies in this industry? Are there some gaps that you think technology can help fill those?

[00:29:46] Worthing: Well, probably digital transformation is just exponential. I would think that every company is investing in connectivity tools for employee engagement. Connectivity tools with regards to customers, giving the next generation the ability to do everything on a phone. Whether it be click to order, whether it be AI that we use for customer interactions as well, we still can't take the human element out of it. I hate to say it, technology should not replace the human.

This is still a relationship business. Everything you see on fleets, whether it be for operating effectiveness on the trucks to minimize downtime, whether it be the use of tablets. Now we have AI and machine vision right inside the car. We talked about autobraking. It's just an endless list and you got to be all in. We don't want IT to take over corporate. We got to make sure we don't wake up one day with 400 IT employees and two folks on the operation side. That's not where I'm headed, but without a doubt, we've got to be a whole in as a company.

I know many other companies are as well and it never ends. Now we've been highly focused on that. We rolled out, we now have our own internal Facebook and Instagram page that allows us to connect to all 20,000 employees. It's fascinating to learn about what's going on every day throughout the company, acknowledging and recognizing employees. I don't know where it would be right now without it.

[00:31:28] Darrell: Sure.

[00:31:30] Participant 1: Morning, sir. This is a related question to Ashish's there, but you mentioned the importance of profiling your assets in order to understand your risk, whether it be regulatory, safety, or operational efficiency. Can you talk a little bit about what Waste Connections is doing to leverage the fourth industrial revolution with IoT and machine learning to profile the assets and get that insight that you can use at a high level to make intelligent decisions?

[00:32:01] Worthing: I'll leave that to the engineers [chuckles], to be honest with you. Obviously, we go through annual reviews of our assets. I think the checklist needs to be broadened as we go through it. If something ever went sideways on a company in a local market, there better be a good compliance program that you can demonstrate when the regulatory bodies come in. If the regulatory bodies come in and find that you're just flying blind, that's not where you want to be.

I think every company needs a very robust assessment of their assets. I think the burden, again, is increasing now that they're looking to tie criminal enforcement with EJ in overburdened communities. Many companies that are global have FCPA policies and programs and they can show compliance. If something goes sideways, they can get to afford prosecution, things like that. Companies better wake up and have the same rigor around their own assets and the impacts to the communities that they have.

?Participant: [inaudible 00:33:11]  

[00:33:13] Worthing: 24/7. What else are you going to do? You got to be all in.

[00:33:18] Darrell:  Do we have any more questions? We have seven minutes left. This is your chance. Worthing, you want to talk a little bit more about safety? In NWRA we did go from fifth most dangerous to six most dangerous this year and this is a little bit of progress. For the most part, our safety performance as an industry. There's been no great games of late. We're all doing the best job we can, but a lot of it is out of our control because we're out in communities, we're texting and driving and alike, is just out of control.

We have some initiatives we're starting at the association, but how do you feel about safety right now? I know that Waste Connections take safety very seriously, but industry as a whole, what are your thoughts right now?

[00:34:13] Worthing: What we found is that the path to improve safety performance, I hate to say this, is to get rid of your safety people. Don't have a safety department, don't make it someone else's responsibility. Don't tell the driver to go down the hall and talk to the safety director with evidence. It's every employee owning safety. Holding up a mirror, so you know who's accountable for it. It's having tough coaching conversations.

You can talk technology all you want. We bought companies with [unintelligible 00:34:44]. We bought companies with ThirdEye, and those companies have had incident rates four times ours. It's not having a technology, it's still the coaching of it, the relationship to have those conversations, tough conversations. It gets back to people. For us, our safety is more behavioral-based. Again, it gets back to the head and heart. Everyone's accountable. It's not advocated to a safety department.

I just think, overall, if companies decide to own it, again, get rid of your safety people, retask them with something else, own it individually, this industry can make tremendous inroads to get off that list.

[00:35:24] Darrell: Yes, I hear you. The best safety programs I've seen is when safety is just another process element. Treat a safety defect like any other defect in your--

[00:35:35] Worthing: Part of your DNA.

[00:35:36] Darrell: Yes. I hear you on that. Anything else here, guys? One more.

[00:35:43] Ashish: Since no one was asking, I thought I'd take this opportunity. We only have so much land and there are only so much landfills. A lot of cities are committing to zero waste, do you think it's achievable, and how?

[00:35:55] Worthing: I think zero waste is possible if we annihilate all humans on the Earth. If you want to get to that, I'd rather not be around when zero waste happens, then. Cities have been on the march to zero waste, in some cases, for over 20 years. We know how much volume they're still sending to landfills. Without a doubt, as a society, we can control how much plastic we're using better than we're doing right now. There are things we can do to help minimize the waste stream.

We'll still do fine as an industry if that happens. But no, zero waste is a good goal. It's like having zero incidence. It's the right goal, but boy, it's tough to get there.

[00:36:41] Darrell: Yes. I like the official international definition of zero waste, which is to get rid of 90% of your waste. It's an interesting math problem. All right, guys. Worthing, I've never heard a bad word about you. Everybody really, really respects your leadership and you're a wonderful personality to have in the industry. Thanks for doing this for us. We're glad to all be back in person and nice to see you. Thanks for your time today. We'll let everybody go. I believe there's a trade show as well going on here. I think it's about to open any second now.

[00:37:24] Worthing: Thank you.

[00:37:25] Darrell: All right.

[applause]

[00:37:34] Liz: Thank you for listening. It would mean the world if you would take a moment to rate or review this podcast. If you share it with us on one of our social networks, we are giving out some fun Nothing Wasted Podcast swag. Just tag us and see what you get. Thanks so much.

[music]

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