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Zacks Equity Research, On Friday June 24, 2011, 12:45 pm EDT
The leading provider of comprehensive waste management services in North America Waste Management Inc. (NYSE: WM – News) recently completed a year of supplying renewable energy to the communities of McMinnville, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington. The energy is generated from the garbage collected in these areas at the company’s landfills.
The energy generation program also known as “circles of sustainability” is the part of the company’s efforts to extract energy from ordinary garbage and transform it into transportation fuels and alternative power. The company developed this technology about 20 years ago, which today generates energy at 129 plants across North America.
Both the McMinnville and Seattle community have their own plants, for which the waste is collected from the respective areas. For McMinnville, the closest landfill is Riverbend, where the garbage is disposed for conversion to electricity through a $ 10 million plant, installed last year in June.
The plant generates 4 megawatts of electricity that can light up 2,500 homes in McMinnville. The plant at McMinnville is a constant attraction for visitors including students, environmental activists, etc. where they are taught about green technologies, renewable energy, and recycling.
At Seattle, waste collected is taken to the nearest Columbia Ridge landfill, which houses another $ 10 million plant that generates 6 megawatts of electricity that can light up 5000 homes in Seattle. Besides plant, landfill is also known for its wind power and a demonstration technology project, designed to generate either renewable energy or clean fuels.
There are 67 wind power mills installed, having a capacity to generate 100 megawatts of electricity. During the long-term the company plans to install another 25 mills capable of generating 50 megawatts of electricity.
The demonstration project is a joint venture between Waste Management and InEnTec LCC to test the commercial viability of plasma gasification to convert waste into transportation fuels and renewable energy. These initiatives reflect the company’s increasing focus on green technologies that use waste to generate energy.
Waste Management is also strengthening its foothold in the growing food waste recycling business by investing in Peninsula Compost Company, LLC (“PCC”), which is engaged in organics processing. Peninsula Compost diverts organic waste from landfills and produces natural, nutrient-rich, environment-friendly organic compost and soil products for the retail, professional and agribusiness markets. The shares of Waste Management currently retain a Zacks #3 Rank (short-term Hold recommendation).
Houston, Texas-based Waste Management provides collection, transfer, recycling and resource recovery, and disposal services to nearly 20 million residential, commercial, industrial and municipal customers. The company is also a leading developer, operator and owner of waste-to-energy and landfill gas-to-energy facilities in the U.S. Waste Management competes in niches with Casella Waste Systems Inc. (NasdaqGS: CWST – News), Republic Services Inc. (NYSE: RSG – News) and privately held Safety-Kleen Inc.
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