BALTIMORE, MD — Waste Management set in 2007 a goal to have 25,000 acres of wildlife habitat under its protection by 2020. It turns out, it should have shortened its timeline: As of last week, the company has protected just shy of 26,000 acres in 103 programs across the U.S. and Canada.
The programs fall under its "WM Wildlife at Work" initiative, and at Waste Management's 22nd annual symposium last week, the company unveiled 30 sites to receive certifications from the Wildlife Habitat Council, new programs that combined to put the company over its goal.
"We see many business opportunities in the area of environmental sustainability, including recycling, renewable energy and helping customers with zero waste goals," Waste Management CEO David Steiner said in a statement. "And nowhere have our people embraced these opportunities with more enthusiasm and success than in making sure that our locations are compatible with a healthy local ecosystem. We're planning to continue growing our number of certifications and expanding the acreage we manage for wildlife protection."
Examples of Waste Management's wildlife habitat programs include:
• The 6,000-acre Bucks County landfills in Tullytown and Morrisville, Penn., with more than 100 employees managing more than 4,000 acres for wildlife including wetland, freshwater lakes, woodland and grassland habitats.
• The El Sobrante landfill in Corona, Calif., is home to 688 acres of open space for wildlife, as well as two highly sensitive wildlife species, the Stephen's kangaroo rat and the coastal California gnatcatcher.
• At the Lake View landfill in Erie, Penn., 68 acres of wildlife habitat sit next to 526 acres of landfill where a gas-capture pipeline produces enough electricity from waste methane to power about 5,000 homes per day.
A full list of Waste Management's wildlife habitat projects is online at WM.com.
Photo CC-licensed by Janine Forbes.