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How Optimism Mixed with Waste and Recycling Makes a Storied Career

Episode 12: A conversation with Susan Robinson, senior director of sustainability for Waste Management.

In the latest episode of our NothingWasted! Podcast, we chat with Susan Robinson, senior director of sustainability for Waste Management. We spoke with her about industry progress, challenges and more.

Waste360: Do you make a conscious effort to be an engaged mentor?

Susan Robinson: I make a conscious effort to respond. I am so thrilled at some of the young professionals who are so passionate about the environment and making a difference and finding ways to connect what they see we as a company or we as an industry are doing. I’ve been so grateful for the opportunity to think about what the future holds and do what I can to mentor and offer thoughts from my years of experience. 

Waste360: Do you think the industry is becoming more diverse?

Susan Robinson: When I first started at Waste Management, boy did it look different than it does today. But I do feel like there’s always been a conscious effort to be inclusive at the company, and I’ve been so grateful for that. Especially as our industry becomes more diverse at what it does, we are also seeing more diversity in who is participating. The evolution of the concept of sustainability has naturally lent itself to being more inclusive of a broader skill set, broader interests, broader types of folks in the company and industry.

Waste360: Do you think a dual stream is in our future?

Susan Robinson: We do not anticipate much of a change in programs. Single stream is much safer for our customers and drivers. It also keeps cost down by making the trucks more efficient on their routes—and it requires fewer drivers. I think as we focus more on education, we’ll start to see that we can overcome some of the challenges of single stream programs and take more advantage of all the benefits of it.

Read transcript here.

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