Republic Services’ latest round of sustainability reports were released on Tuesday, with signs of progress toward the company’s long-term goals.
The Arizona-based company rolled out several new environmental, social and governance goals in 2019 as its plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions was subsequently endorsed by the international community. Science Based Targets Initiative – a certification that at least one other competitor is also pursuing. The latest report from the Republic’s Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures further examined physical hazards over the next decade and beyond – particularly how rising temperatures could affect employee safety and changes in rainfall could affect facilities.
Republic also reported on ongoing efforts to reduce employee fatalities, improve injury rates, increase employee engagement scores and increase charitable giving levels.
Here is the progress, against 2017 baselines, on its environmental targets up to last year:
Target: Reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 10% by 2025, 35% by 2030
Update: 9% reduction from 2017 to 2021
The Republic has has restated its emissions to 2017 to take into account the impacts of acquisitions (during a period of active expansion in recent years), divestitures and the adoption of the Solid Waste Industry Emissions Accounting Standard for Climate Solutions . SWICS, developed by waste treatment companies and academics in 2007, has already been adopted by other industry players who believe it better represents their efforts to mitigate landfill emissions through capture practices. and gas coverage. Some in the industry believe that other modeling tools overestimate emissions from landfills, while the US EPA previously disagreed.
Following the recalculation, Republic’s Scope 1 emissions in 2020 increased slightly (from 13.21 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent to 14.07 million). The company’s Scope 1 emissions in 2021 were 13.64 million, with 11.95 million from landfills and 1.45 million from the fleet.
While 21% of Republic’s fleet is currently powered by natural gas, the company is more focused on electrification as a long-term strategy. He reported a handful of electric collection vehicles rolling out to Idaho and North Carolina in 2021, with more expected this year.
Goal: Increase beneficial reuse of biogas by 50% by 2030, to 110.1 billion standard cubic feet (bcf)
Update: 76.2 bcf in 2021, compared to 72.1 in 2020
Republic said it has participated in 69 landfill gas-to-energy projects through 2021, with 56% of the gas captured last year was flared and 44% used for power. Moving forward, spurred in part by a joint venture with Archaea Energy out of 39 renewable natural gas projects, the company aims to “capture and beneficially reuse” 70% of its landfill gas by 2027.
Target: Increase “recovery and circularity” of key materials by 40% on a combined basis by 2030, to 3.4 million tonnes
Update: 2.6 million tonnes recovered in 2021, same as 2020
Republic defines these ppriority raw materials such as “cardboard, metals, plastics, organic materials, biogas and oil”. Its report touts plans for several plastics recycling facilities, including one to launch next year in Las Vegas, as a key driver. He also cites growing investments in recycling organics, in part thanks to policies such as California’s SB 1383 law.
According to a disclosure report, Republic provided recycling service to 75% of its municipal and open-market residential customers and 26% of its small or large container commercial customers in 2021. Organics service was provided to 25% residential customers and 2% commercial customers. In a separate disclosure, Republic estimated a 12.3% diversion rate for recycling and organics from the 47.2 million metric tons of materials sent to its own landfills. In total, Republic managed 101.6 million tons of waste in 2021.
Read our ESG reporting tracker to learn more about disclosure standards and emissions trends among US waste management and recycling companies.