Boston, MA // February 18, 2020
2020 is poised to be a critical year for U.S. recycling as concerns around plastic waste and pollution continue to increase while export markets have dried up. Against this backdrop, Trillium can announce significant progress through its engagement with Waste Management, Inc. (WM), the largest collector of recyclable materials in the U.S. The lack of export markets will put new strains on the domestic recycling market, where unfortunately only 8-9% of plastic waste is currently recycled. Following an in-depth engagement by Trillium and As You Sow, Waste Management has committed to publishing a new report that will help identify the gaps in plastic recycling infrastructure in the U.S. This report will provide deeper insight into plastic material flows once they leave consumers hands and should be an invaluable resource to many stakeholders working to increase recycling rates.
Another factor in low recycling rates are inefficient or dated Materials Recovery Facilities, where collected recyclables are separated for processing. We expect Waste Management will disclose a categorical breakdown of its facilities that are equipped with the latest processing equipment and which need upgrades that can improve recycling outputs and yields.
Waste Management has also indicated to us it will provide an updated statement on its position on extended producer responsibility (EPR), a strategy that requires consumer goods producers to finance collection and recycling of their packaging, which is currently paid for by taxpayers. Trillium and As You Sow believe EPR policies are essential to provide adequate funding to collectors and processors to be able to take a range of actions needed to improve recycling rates.
Given this suite of new commitments, Trillium and As You Sow, have withdrawn a shareholder proposal on this issue.
“We’re pleased to have been a driving force behind this new action from Waste Management and we hope these new reports will provide a meaningful addition to the industry’s understanding of plastic recycling challenges in the U.S.,” said Allan Pearce, a Shareholder Advocate at Trillium. “We view Waste Management as an integral part of the recycling value chain, so we’re glad to see WM will be using its size, expertise, and positioning to add to its efforts to address this global problem.
For more information: Allan Pearce, Trillium Asset Management, 503-953-8345, email@example.com
Important Disclosure: This is not a recommendation to buy or sell any of the securities mentioned. It should not be assumed that investments in such securities have been or will be profitable. The specific securities were selected on an objective basis and do not represent all of the securities purchased, sold or recommended for advisory clients.