Waste Management of Florida
The roots of what today is Waste Management can be traced back as far 1893 when a Dutch immigrant with a modest wagon in Chicago began offering to haul away trash for a small fee. And for years that remained the job: simply collect and dispose of waste. Most of it was then handled by a patchwork of local companies delivering to local landfills. Then, during the post World War II boom, the country’s population grew quickly alongside its waste needs, driven by a shift toward convenient, easily consumed products designed to be thrown away.
In 1968, Wayne Huizenga (a descendent of the Dutch immigrant who owned that wagon back in Chicago) along with two other investors, Dean Buntrock and Larry Beck, founded Waste Management, Inc. Their vision was to meet this increasing need with a company whose scale and operations were equipped to properly manage the waste produced by modern society.
As they began to acquire several companies, they were then able to serve municipalities across the country. When American sentiment surrounding waste and its disposal began to shift to more responsible practices in the 1970’s, Waste Management was uniquely poised as the waste provider already professionally and responsibly disposing of waste.
The company then expanded its operations to handle chemical and toxic waste treatment, seeing the need for expertise since these forms of waste posed a much larger threat to the environment than simple household trash.
In 1982, Waste Management was already totaling more than $1 billion in sales as the world’s largest waste disposal company. But the company knew there was more to do to truly make a difference in tackling waste.
By the late 1980’s, Waste Management emerged as a leader in the burgeoning recycling movement by finding new uses for things like paper, aluminum and glass—items that formerly would have ended up in landfills. Waste Management also began a long history of collaboration with federal and state governments as well as industry peers, working together to share technical knowledge and best practices. And by 1990, Waste Management’s services had grown by 150%.
Today, Waste Management is the largest environmental solutions provider in North America, serving more than 21 million municipal, commercial and industrial customers. We’re also America’s largest recycler, now going beyond merely recycling to also offer consulting and resources to help customers cut down on waste before it’s even created.
With advances in technology, there’s been an increase in the rate of which outdated technologies like TVs, computers and mobile phones are being disposed of and replaced. Knowing how important it is to keep these products out of the waste stream, Waste Management is leading the way in electronics recycling (or e-cycling) and finding ways to safely reuse and recycle these products. We’re partnering with several companies, including LG Electronics, to recycle these electronics and currently operate over 150 e-cycling centers across the country through our subsidiary, WM Recycle America.
In 2007, WM developed a dedicated team to look at alternative technologies for managing materials. Initial investments focused on conversion technologies for waste to fuel. The team has invested $500 M over the past decade, and has direct investments in a dozen of companies as well as in venture capital funds. They scout over 100 companies per year, looking for disruptive technologies and new opportunities.
As the title sponsor of the WM Phoenix Open PGA tournament since 2010, we’ve introduced a variety of technologies to make it the largest zero waste event in the world and the most eco-friendly tournament on the PGA TOUR. Using those learnings, we’re now working with sports and music venues across the country to increase recycling among patrons, including teaming up with Live Nation to forward the Recycling Rocks! campaign across the U.S.
Finally, we’re one of the foremost creators of renewable energy, recovering naturally occurring gas inside our own landfills to generate electricity (called landfill-gas-to-energy) and even power our own trucks. Our fleet of natural gas trucks is the largest heavy-duty truck fleet of its kind in North America. And with the largest network of recycling facilities, transfer stations and landfills in the industry, our entire business can adapt to meet the needs of every distinct customer segment.
We’re always working toward a more sustainable tomorrow. Our focus is on maximizing resource value while minimizing our impact in order to further both economic and environmental sustainability for our customers, our shareholders and our planet.
Ormond Beach, FL 32174