Materials Management

The work we do, the infrastructure we build, and the investments we make enable our customers and communities to achieve their recycling goals. We are proud to play this integral role in advancing local, regional, and global sustainability.
Each year, we recover over a million tons from the waste stream and capture enough landfill biogas to power over 28,000 homes. By 2030, we aim to double both our resource recovery and our renewable energy production. Through sustainable materials management, we help to reduce habitat destruction, biodiversity loss, and greenhouse gas emissions associated with resource extraction and consumption.

Resource Solutions

goal Resource Solutions

Grow our Resource Solutions business, to reduce, reuse, or recycle over 2 Million tons of solid waste materials per year by 2030
2019
1,053,114Tons
2030
2,000,000Tons
460
People
>1MM
Tons Recycled Per Year
>800
Qualified Vendors
20
Facilities
45
States with customers

To help our customers achieve their waste and recycling goals, we are called to provide increasingly specialized expertise and infrastructure. Our Resource Solutions team brings unparalleled knowledge, skills, and passion to serve their customers’ resource management needs. The group also operates recycling and organics recovery facilities that capture over a million tons of material from the waste stream every year.

We tailor our Resource Solutions to meet the needs of customers in four key segments: industrial, higher education and healthcare, municipal, and commercial. Recent success stories are presented in the case studies below.

HIGHER EDUCATION & HEALTHCARE

Phillips Academy Andover is a university-preparatory boarding school in Massachusetts with a deep-rooted commitment to waste reduction, sustainability, and education. Since 2015 Casella has implemented resource management services including food waste services and surplus furniture donation. The campus’ Green Move Outs and year-round donation collection efforts alone recover over 30 tons per year.

COMMERCIAL

 Aubuchon Hardware is a longstanding customer with Casella waste and recycling bins behind 94 store locations throughout the northeast. Some Aubuchon customers may soon find us in the front of stores too, with our earthlife® compost products becoming available for sale as part of an innovative pilot at select locations. With our earthlife products, we transform organic residuals into valuable soil products for farm, garden, and landscaping projects.

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INDUSTRIAL

Nestlé Purina has been making high-quality pet food brands at its Allentown, PA, factory for over 80 years. With Casella’s support, Purina’s factory is achieving its ambitious waste management goals. Casella is able to separate materials to be recycled or used for anaerobic digestion and has installed balers and optimized logistics. By focusing on finding beneficial uses for materials that would have otherwise been discarded, Purina and Casella are helping drive toward a more circular economy.

MUNICIPAL

The Town of Fairfax, VT has long worked with Casella to provide waste and recycling services to its residents. In 2020, the municipality furthered its program with the addition of curbside food waste collection and a mobile phone app. Since July 1st, the community has recovered over 125 tons of recyclables and food waste, 371 community members have downloaded the mobile app, and residents have completed over 2,100 searches to learn what is recyclable in their town.

Supporting a Circular Economy

Many of our customers have begun thinking about the future of their business in terms of the circular economy. They are looking to recycle, reuse, and prevent waste throughout their operations. They are also thinking about the recyclability of their packaging and reuse models for their products. We provide many of the services that power the circular economy and are continuing to grow our services to meet our customers’ needs, as shown in the figure below.

What is a Circular Economy?

Many experts agree that the current “take-make-waste” economic model needs to give way to a new circular economy that is specifically designed to prevent waste, keep materials in use, and regenerate natural systems. The circular economy model distinguishes between finite materials (such as plastics and metals which are extracted from the earth) and renewable materials (such as food waste and other organics which can be returned to nature), with separate loops for each. In this figure, we have mapped our work onto the circular economy system diagram, adapted from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

  1. Recycling facilities: Our recycling facilities serve thousands of businesses and households and recover over 550,000 tons of recyclable cardboard, paper, metal, plastic, and glass per year.
  2. Casella ARCTM facilities: Our unique aggregation and recovery collaborative model enables the capture of specialty recyclables from manufacturing, hospitals, colleges, and more.
  3. Promoting reuse: Many items – cardboard cartons, drums, pallets, and more – can be reused extensively prior to recycling. We work with vendors to provide this service.
  4. Onsite services: Through onsite management, waste audits, and ongoing support, we help our customers identify unnecessary waste that can be eliminated at the source.
  5. Organics processing: To recover the most value from food waste and other organics, we invest in on- and off-site processing equipment. One example is depackaging, which separates food and beverage from packaging to maximize recovery.
  1. Organics recovery: We capture approximately 450,000 tons per year of organic residuals including wastewater biosolids, wood ash, paper mill fiber, and food waste. Through methods such as composting, anaerobic digestion, or land application, organic wastes are renewed as resources.
  2. earthlife® products: Through our extensive line of branded agricultural and landscaping products we support crop yields and soil health by returning nutrients and carbon to tens of thousands of acres of farmland and managed landscapes.
  3. Safe and secure disposal: For materials that are not yet suitable for recycling or recovery, our landfills continue to provide responsible containment. Several of our facilities are connected to landfill gas power plants that generate renewable energy

Renewable Energy

goal Renewable Energy

Double the renewable energy from our facilities, including landfill gas, solar, and geothermal energy from Casella-owned and partner facilities, in MMBTU with a 2019 baseline
2019
733,560MMBTU
2030
1,454,000MMBTU

With the right infrastructure, society’s waste can become a valuable source of renewable energy. Casella began investing in that infrastructure in 2008, when our first landfill-gas-toenergy power plants came online. We have continued to advance the infrastructure through ongoing investments in our gas collection systems and through collaborations with renewable energy partners.

Today, the gas from six of our landfills goes to on- and offsite power plants that yield over 214,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity. This is enough electricity for 28,000 homes. It is nearly ten times the amount of electricity consumed by all of our 130+ facilities combined.

The next wave of renewable energy infrastructure at our facilities is likely to consist of renewable natural gas (RNG) projects. Rather than using gas to make electricity, these projects refine and compress landfill gas to produce RNG, which can be flexibly used for a variety of off-site uses, including electricity production, home heating, or even vehicle fueling.

On a much smaller but still important scale, we have other options for capturing renewable energy at our facilities. One example is the 12-acre solar farm, owned by Borrego Solar, that is located at our landfill in Coventry, VT. Another example is the innovative landfill heat recovery system that we built to heat our maintenance shop at our landfill in Bethlehem, NH.

In the coming years, through direct investments and third party collaborations, we will capture more energy from society’s waste, with a goal to double the renewable energy yield of our facilities by 2030.

Renewable Energy Shawn Mason
Shawn Mason
Maine
21,753
MWh Consumed by
Casella Facilities
in 2019
214,985
MWh Produced by
Casella & Partner
Facilities in 2019
10x
Producing Enough Electricity for Over
28,000
New England Homes

Recycling Saves Energy

Recycling is an important strategy for energy conservation. This is because extracting raw materials from the environment uses a lot of energy. When society makes new products with recycled materials instead, the energy demand is much lower.

How much lower? According to EPA data, one ton of mixed recyclables will save an average of 4.3 MWh of energy throughout the supply chain. Using EPA factors, we can calculate the energy benefit of the materials we recover.

Although it is not as visible as an array of solar panels, recycling reduces the overall amount of energy required to make new products, making our society less energy intensive, thus making a renewably powered future more achievable.

Recycling Saves Energy image of recycling plant
The energy saved by one bale of recycled soda cans is equal to
the annual electricity output of 5 home solar systems
The energy saved by one bale of recycled milk jugs is equal to the annual electricity output of 1.4 home solar systems
The energy saved by one bale of recycled paper is equal to the annual electricity output of 1.5 home solar systems