Waste Management (WM) reported second quarter earnings on Thursday that beat analysts’ expectations on profits and revenue for the fourth quarter in a row — posting earnings of $1.11 per share on a revenue of $3.95 billion.
CEO Jim Fish joined Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade to break down the company’s earnings and to discuss the company’s environmental sustainability initiatives.
“What we're trying to do is do something that's better for the environment. The prices have come down considerably, and so there is a bit of a crisis ongoing right now. But we're building a brand new recycling plant. We need to change the way the processing works.”
In the company’s 2018 sustainability report, Waste Management said its invested more than $1 billion in recycling infrastructure, including almost $22 million in 2017— that’s up more than $13 million year-over-year. This investment resulted in 15.3 million tons of recycled goods in 2017 — a 91.25% increase in recycling tons since 2007.
Waste Management is working to build recycling plants which use 60% less human labor. “It's all done robotically or through optical sorting,” he said. “It's a plant that uses optical sorting. It can identify a plastic bottle coming up the conveyor belt, and then it knocks it with a stream of air into a bin.”
Something needs to be done, he said. “[Americans] just don't do a great job of figuring out what goes in the recycle bin and what goes in the trash bin. We gotta get better at that.”
Chelsea Lombardo is a production assistant for Yahoo Finance. You can find more of her work here.