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Environmental issues are becoming a guiding factor in the waste management industry.

Responding to Environmental Issues Dominating Waste Management

March 18, 2019
By Comerica Bank

Environmental issues are becoming a guiding factor in the waste management industry. Municipal solid waste services are focusing on sustainability, trying to reduce the amount of material making its way to landfills. At the same time, proper handling, storage and disposal of solid waste is proving vital in protecting the environment.

As a result, businesses in the waste management sector are tasked with innovating or facing high fines and possibly even criminal charges for non-compliance with environmental standards. However, developing sustainable practices isn't just about avoiding negative outcomes. Instead, businesses can use a strong focus on the environment to create value opportunities.

For example, keeping valuable raw materials out of landfills can create opportunities in the commodities market and bolster the local economy through job creation. The West Michigan Sustainable Business ForumTM analyzed municipal waste management practices across Michigan and found that, based on the amount and types of waste sent to landfills annually, organizations in the state could earn upwards of $368 million per year. Throw in the jobs that would be created by more sustainable waste collection and sorting methods, and waste management businesses are looking at a total annual economic impact of $399 million.

On a national level, the EPA found that approximately 262 million tons of municipal solid waste was generated in 2015, the most recent year that has been analyzed. During that time, just 137 million tons of waste ended up in landfills. For comparison's sake, 243.5 million tons of waste was generated in the year 2000, but more than 140 million tons went in landfills. While the amount of waste generated is generally increasing, more of those materials are recycled, composted or processed through combustion with energy recovery.

Comerica Bank can help waste management businesses adapt to environmental pressure. Check out our infographic to learn more about how the industry is evolving.


Comerica ranks first nationally among the top 25 U.S. financial holding companies, based on commercial and industrial loans outstanding as a percentage of assets, as of June 30, 2018. Data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

This information is provided for general awareness purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as legal or compliance advice for your business.

This article is provided for informational purposes only. While the information contained within has been compiled from source[s] which are believed to be reliable and accurate, Comerica Bank does not guarantee its accuracy. Consequently, it should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter nor be relied upon as such.