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October 7, 2015

Rethinking Energy Consumption

For most of us, the first thing that we do once we wake up is turn on the lights in the room, and then we begin the hurried movements of our morning routine. We may turn on the faucet to brush our teeth, the shower to bathe, coffee maker, and the radio or television to get the news and traffic report before heading out the door. We may not think about the energy that powers our everyday activities. Well, to underscore how central energy is to national prosperity, security and environmental well-being, the U.S. Department of Energy named October as Energy Action Month.  During this month, we are encouraging consumers to think about their daily energy consumption and embrace energy efficiency behavior at home and in the work place.

At Waste Management, we are doing our part to curb energy consumption and reduce our carbon footprint. We harness landfill gas at our landfill gas-to-energy facilities (LFGTE), to provide fuel for industrial uses, fuel vehicles and power homes. Collectively, our 134 LFGTE facilities generate enough energy to power 465,000 homes with renewable energy.  The energy generated at our LFGTE facilities is equivalent to offsetting over 2.4 million tons of coal and 2.7 million tons of carbon dioxide.

In addition, the progress we are making within our natural gas fleet operations is also helping to reduce our carbon emissions. We operate the largest Class-8 heavy-duty natural gas fleet, with over 4,350 natural gas powered trucks servicing communities throughout North America. And, we’re not keeping this technology to ourselves but rather, are sharing it with the community.  We’ve constructed 79 fueling stations to support our growing fleet, with 29 stations open to the public to fuel their personal natural gas vehicles or third-party commercial fleets.

Our newest collaboration with utility company Public Service Electric & Gas (PSE&G) provides us the opportunity to repurpose our non-operational landfills. PSE&G’s Solar 4 All program converted our capped Parklands Landfill in Bordentown, New Jersey into a solar farm producing clean energy. The program installed solar panels on 40 acres of our property— generating enough energy to power 2,000 homes every day. PSE&G is currently building another solar farm at our closed L&D Landfill in Mt. Holly, New Jersey. These solar projects do not just benefit New Jersey residents but support a larger goal of making our nation less dependent on foreign energy and improving our environment.

Wondering how you can make a difference this Energy Action Month? With these simple improvements to your daily routine, you can make a larger impact on our planet:

 • Recycle … and Recycle Right
Recycling saves energy because it reduces the need to extract and refine natural resources. Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to power a television for three hours, and recycling a plastic bottle conserves enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb for six hours. To learn more about recycling correctly visit www.rorr.com.• Unplug Appliances and Electronics
When not in use unplug appliances and electronic devices to minimize energy consumption. Plug electronics into a power strip to provide a convenient on/off point.

Purchase Energy Star Appliances
When shopping for new appliances, consider purchasing appliances that have the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star label. Energy Star appliances use 10-50 percent less energy and water than their conventional counterparts.

Use Compact Florescent Light Bulbs (CFL)
Replace light bulbs with CFLs, which can save you money in electricity costs. Over its lifetime, CFLs use about 70 to 90 percent less energy and last 10 to 25 times longer than a traditional incandescent bulb.

• Seal Air Leaks
Look for any small cracks and gaps where air is leaking into and out of the home or place of business. Energy Star says that between improving insulation and sealing leaks, homeowners could potentially save 10 percent on their annual energy bill.

If we all do our part, we can significantly cut down our energy consumption and help to preserve our environment.