Republic truck
Image courtesy Republic Services

Republic Services releases 2021 sustainability report

The company says it is ahead of pace to reach its interim target of 10 percent emissions reduction by 2025.

July 21, 2022

Republic Services Inc., Pheonix, has released its 2021 Sustainability Report, highlighting the company’s efforts to support decarbonization and circularity and outlining continued progress toward its ambitious 2030 sustainability goals.   

Achievements include a 9 percent reduction in operational greenhouse gas emissions over the 2017 baseline year, ahead of pace to reach the company's interim target of a 10 percent reduction by 2025, and the development of the nation's first integrated plastics recycling facility.   

"At Republic Services, we view sustainability as more than just how we operate,” says Jon Vander Ark, president and CEO of Republic Services. “We see it as a platform for growth, allowing us to innovate and invest in projects that will deliver significant environmental and economic benefits over time.   

Republic says its vision is to partner with customers to create a more sustainable world. This approach begins with its “Elements of Sustainability.” This consists of safety, talent, climate leadership and communities, which anchor the company's 2030 goals. In addition to tracking progress toward these goals, the 2021 Sustainability Report includes new disclosures around environmental justice, supplier diversity and biodiversity conservation.  

For example, Republic Services moved to a more representative emissions modeling methodology known as Solid Waste Industry for Climate Solutions. This methodology is used by industry peers and is an alternative for private landfills under the Climate Registry and recognized by SBTi. It considers a landfill’s gas collection effectiveness and efficiency as well as its cover system, allowing us to recognize the emissions reductions from our investments.  

In 2021, Republic began operating our first regular collection routes with electric trucks. In Idaho, three electric vehicles (EVs) are collecting commercial recycling. The company says it has two more EVs operating in North Carolina. These EVs are delivering economic as well as environmental benefits, with lower fuel and maintenance costs in addition to zero carbon emissions. Additional EV deployments are planned in 2022, and Republic expects the pace of its electric truck rollout to accelerate in the future.  

In 2021, Republic’s 71 recycling facilities processed 5 million tons of materials, returning cardboard, paper, plastics, metals and glass to the marketplace for reuse while making steady progress toward its Circular Economy goal.  

At the end of 2021, Republic Services was involved with 69 landfill gas-to-energy projects and eight solar projects. In 2021, the company increased the beneficial reuse of landfill gas thanks to new RNG projects coming online, including an innovative project at McCarty Road Landfill in Houston. The company says it has 17 more RNG projects in development that are expected to begin operations in the next couple of years.  

Additional highlights from the report:  

Climate Leadership 

  • announced development of the nation's first Polymer Center to advance plastics circularity and support recycled content goals. 

Safety  

  • recorded 38 percent better safety performance than the industry average over the past 10-year period; and,  

  • recognized by the industry's Driver and Operator of the Year awards.  

Talent  

  • made notable strides with women in management, with top leadership positions more than doubling between 2019 and 2021; and,  

  • unveiled two talent retention and development programs: the Tech Institute and Leadership Academy.  

Republic Services is committed to transparency and disclosure through its sustainability reporting. In conjunction with the 2021 Sustainability Report, the company issued its 2021 Sustainability Accounting Standards Board Report, 2021 Global Reporting Initiative Report and an updated report aligned with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures. The company will publish its 2021 CDP Climate Change response later this month.   

“We've made ambitious, industry-leading commitments across our business to reduce emissions and decarbonize our operations,” Vander Ark says. “Not only are we making significant progress toward these 2030 goals, but we're helping our customers reach their own sustainability goals."  

To learn more about Republic Services' sustainability work and to download the 2021 Sustainability Report, click here.