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The Greening of Waste Management

By: Steve Johnson

2/15/2008 - 44 Comments

Higher energy and metal prices are driving waste management businesses to higher profits.

Waste Management, the nation's largest waste disposal company, has adopted "Think Green" as its slogan.  The firm is managing waste for a $14-billion-a-year. The industry has long been labeled a tough job that nobody wants.  But, as the price of natural resources continues to climb, the huge pills of garage they manage are starting to resemble a treasure chest. 

Processing the waste to extract its valuables is a labor intense job, which is good for jobs seekers.  The company also makes money from landfills by capturing and burning methane, a potent greenhouse gas created when garbage decomposes.  This is good business for Waste Management, who generated an estimated $850 million in revenue last year just from burning garbage and methane.  The company owns or operates 16 waste-to-energy plants and wants to build more.  They operate under strict limits to control pollutants, while generating electricity 24 hours a day, powering 50,000 homes.

Recycling

Recycling is more labor-intense. People are needed to hand pick out materials that can’t be recycled, things like plastic containers and plastic bags. Waste Management generated more than $1 billion in revenues from recycling, primarily from selling commodities.

Reference Article: The greening of Waste Management

Aluminum gets the highest price, which has jumped 4% just yesterday because of the increase cost of coal - used to create aluminum.  The rising cost of aluminum is only going to add to the proficts of aluminum recycling over the next few years.

New Businesses Entering The Market

1-800-got-junk started in 1989 by a university student looking for a summer job. With the average American creating 4.6 pounds of solid waste per day, Brian Scudamore had what seemed to be an endless amount of work to do.  Since 1997, the company has enjoyed exponential growth and widespread recognition for its business achievements, growing from a presence in one city to over 300 locations across four countries.

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Gardening When It Counts: Growing Food in Hard Times

The decline of cheap oil is inspiring an increasing number of North Americans to achieve some measure of backyard food self-sufficiency. In hard times, the family can be greatly helped by growing a highly productive food garden, requiring little cash outlay or watering. This book shows any family with access to 3-5,000 sq. ft. of garden land can halve their food costs.

A Thousand Barrels a Second

This book makes a convincing, reader-friendly case that the end of oil is nigh and it's time to get serious about energy alternatives now that the world is at "the dawn of a new energy age" that will pit the U.S. against China in the struggle for oil. Tertzakian provides an excellent primer on oil's history, uses, supply chains and politics, including dozens of charts and graphs to illustrate the bleak outlook for oil's future. The future of energy will result in a combination of an increase in alternative fuels (biofuel, nuclear and green sources) and conservation.

Energy Victory: Winning the War on Terror by Breaking Free of Oil

Ethanol is perhaps the best strategy to reduce our dependence on oil. Flex-fuel technology has already been developed by an inventive woman engineer at Ford named Roberta Nichols, enabling an engine to run on any mixture of alcohol or gasoline. Our oil money is the primary source of revenue for the terror supporting nations like Saudi Arabia, Iran and Venezuela. With the rising price of gas, ethanol is now cost effective to produce and a strong weapon against the terrorist.

Working From Home

This is the altimate guide for how to start a home business. Full of ideas and tips. Working from home increases productivity by 15 to 20 percent. What better way to complete in the global economy. One great idea is to build a network of small home businesses with whom to trade services with.