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Table of Contents

UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

Form 10-K

(Mark One)

     ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022

OR

     TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the transition period from            to

Commission file number 1-12154

Waste Management, Inc.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

Delaware

73-1309529

(State or other jurisdiction of

(I.R.S. Employer

incorporation or organization)

Identification No.)

800 Capitol Street

Suite 3000

Houston, Texas

77002

(Address of principal executive offices)

(Zip code)

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code:

(713) 512-6200

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

Title of Each Class

Trading Symbol

Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered

Common Stock, $0.01 par value

WM

New York Stock Exchange

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined by Rule 405 of the Securities Act.   Yes   No

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.   Yes   No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.   Yes   No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulations S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).   Yes   No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, smaller reporting company or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

Large accelerated filer

Accelerated filer

Non-accelerated filer

Smaller reporting company

Emerging growth company

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.

If securities are registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act, indicate by check mark whether the financial statements of the registrant included in the filing reflect the correction of an error to previously issued financial statements.

Indicate by check mark whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a recovery analysis of incentive-based compensation received by any of the registrant’s executive officers during the relevant recovery period pursuant to §240.10D-1(b).

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act).   Yes   No

The aggregate market value of the voting stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant as of June 30, 2022 was approximately $63.1 billion. The aggregate market value was computed by using the closing price of the common stock as of that date on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”). (For purposes of calculating this amount only, all directors and executive officers of the registrant have been treated as affiliates.)

The number of shares of Common Stock, $0.01 par value, of the registrant outstanding as of January 31, 2023 was 408,152,162 (excluding treasury shares of 222,130,299).

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

Document

   

Incorporated as to

Proxy Statement for the
2023 Annual Meeting of Stockholders

Part III

Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Page

PART I

Item 1.

Business

3

Item 1A.

Risk Factors

18

Item 1B.

Unresolved Staff Comments

33

Item 2.

Properties

33

Item 3.

Legal Proceedings

33

Item 4.

Mine Safety Disclosures

33

PART II

Item 5.

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

33

Item 6.

[Reserved]

35

Item 7.

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

35

Item 7A.

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

65

Item 8.

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

67

Item 9.

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

125

Item 9A.

Controls and Procedures

125

Item 9B.

Other Information

126

PART III

Item 10.

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

126

Item 11.

Executive Compensation

126

Item 12.

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

126

Item 13.

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

126

Item 14.

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

126

PART IV

Item 15.

Exhibits

127

Item 16.

Form 10-K Summary

129

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Table of Contents

PART I

Item 1. Business.

General

Waste Management, Inc. is a holding company and all operations are conducted by its subsidiaries. When the terms “the Company,” “we,” “us” or “our” are used in this document, those terms refer to Waste Management, Inc., together with its consolidated subsidiaries and consolidated variable interest entities. When we use the term “WMI,” we are referring only to Waste Management, Inc., the parent holding company.

WMI was incorporated in Oklahoma in 1987 under the name “USA Waste Services, Inc.” and was reincorporated as a Delaware company in 1995. In a 1998 merger, the Illinois-based waste services company formerly known as Waste Management, Inc. became a wholly-owned subsidiary of WMI and changed its name to Waste Management Holdings, Inc. (“WM Holdings”). At the same time, our parent holding company changed its name from USA Waste Services to Waste Management, Inc. Like WMI, WM Holdings is a holding company and all operations are conducted by subsidiaries.

Our principal executive offices are located at 800 Capitol Street, Suite 3000, Houston, Texas 77002. Our telephone number is (713) 512-6200. Our website address is www.wm.com. Our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K are all available, free of charge, on our website as soon as practicable after we file the reports with the SEC. Our stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “WM.”

We are North America’s leading provider of comprehensive environmental solutions, providing services throughout the United States (“U.S.”) and Canada. We partner with our residential, commercial, industrial and municipal customers and the communities we serve to manage and reduce waste at each stage from collection to disposal, while recovering valuable resources and creating clean, renewable energy. Our “Solid Waste” business is operated and managed locally by our subsidiaries that focus on distinct geographic areas and provide collection, transfer, disposal, and recycling and resource recovery services. Through our subsidiaries, including our Waste Management Renewable Energy (“WM Renewable Energy”) business, we are also a leading developer, operator and owner of landfill gas-to-energy facilities in the U.S. and Canada that produce renewable electricity and renewable natural gas, which is a significant source of fuel for our natural gas fleet. During 2022, our largest customer represented less than 5% of annual revenues. We employed approximately 49,500 people as of December 31, 2022.

We own or operate 259 landfill sites, which is the largest network of landfills throughout the U.S. and Canada. In order to make disposal more practical for larger urban markets, where the distance to landfills is typically farther, we manage 337 transfer stations that consolidate, compact and transport waste efficiently and economically. We also use waste to create energy, recovering the gas produced naturally as waste decomposes in landfills and using the gas in generators to make electricity. We are a leading recycler in the U.S. and Canada, handling materials that include cardboard, paper, glass, plastic and metal. We provide cost-efficient, environmentally sound recycling programs for municipalities, businesses and households across the U.S. and Canada as well as other services that supplement our Solid Waste business.

Our fundamental strategy has not changed; we remain dedicated to providing long-term value to our stockholders by successfully executing our core strategy of focused differentiation and continuous improvement. As North America’s leading provider of comprehensive environmental solutions, sustainability and environmental stewardship is embedded in all that we do. We have enabled a people-first, technology-led focus to drive our mission to maximize resource value, while minimizing environmental impact, so that both our economy and our environment are positively impacted. Our strategy leverages and sustains the strongest asset network in the industry to drive best-in-class customer experience and growth. Our strategic planning processes appropriately consider that the future of our business and the industry can be influenced by changes in economic conditions, the competitive landscape, the regulatory environment, asset and resource availability and technology. We believe that focused differentiation, which is driven by capitalizing on our unique and extensive network of assets, will deliver profitable growth and position us to leverage competitive advantages. Simultaneously, we believe the combination of cost control and investing in automation to improve processes and drive operational efficiency will yield an attractive total cost structure and enhanced service quality. While we continue to

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improve existing diversion technologies, such as through investments in our recycling operations, we are also evaluating and pursuing emerging diversion technologies that may generate additional value.

Our Company’s goals are targeted at putting our people first, positioning them to serve and care for our customers, the environment, the communities in which we work and our stockholders. Our brand promise is ALWAYS WORKING FOR A SUSTAINABLE TOMORROW®. We live this promise through our service offerings and sustainable solutions, our investments in innovation, our people, and our commitment to the future. Through our longtime focus on finding sustainable solutions, we continue to evolve beyond being a traditional environmental waste services company. Increasingly, our industry-leading focus on environmental sustainability aligns with demand from our customers who want more of their waste materials recovered. Waste streams are becoming more complex, and our aim is to address current needs, while anticipating the expanding and evolving needs of our customers. We believe we are uniquely equipped to meet the challenges of the changing waste industry and our customers’ waste management needs, both today and tomorrow as we work together to envision and create a more sustainable future.

We believe that execution of our strategy will deliver shareholder value and leadership in a dynamic industry and challenging economic environment. In addition, we intend to continue to return value to our stockholders through dividend payments and our common stock repurchase program. In December 2022, we announced that our Board of Directors expects to increase the quarterly dividend from $0.65 to $0.70 per share for dividends declared in 2023, which is a 7.7% increase from the quarterly dividends we declared in 2022. This is an indication of our ability to generate strong and consistent cash flows and marks the 20th consecutive year of dividend increases. All quarterly dividends will be declared at the discretion of our Board of Directors and depend on various factors, including our net earnings, financial condition, cash required for future business plans, growth and acquisitions and other factors the Board of Directors may deem relevant.

Operations

General

Our senior management evaluates, oversees and manages the financial performance of our Solid Waste operations through two operating segments. Our East Tier primarily consists of geographic areas located in the Eastern U.S., the Great Lakes region and substantially all of Canada. Our West Tier primarily includes geographic areas located in the Western U.S., including the upper Midwest region, and British Columbia, Canada. Each of our Solid Waste operating segments provides integrated environmental services, including collection, transfer, recycling, and disposal. The East and West Tiers are presented in this report and constitute our existing Solid Waste business. On October 30, 2020, we acquired Advanced Disposal Services, Inc. (“Advanced Disposal”), the operations of which are presented in this report within our existing Solid Waste tiers. Additional information related to our acquisition of Advanced Disposal and segments is included in Notes 17 and 19 to the Consolidated Financial Statements, respectively. We also provide additional services that are not managed through our Solid Waste business, as described below. These operations are presented in this report as “Other.” The services we provide are described below.

Collection. Our commitment to customers begins with a vast waste collection network. Collection involves picking up and transporting waste and recyclable materials from where it was generated to a transfer station, material recovery facility (“MRF”) or disposal site. We generally provide collection services under one of two types of arrangements:

For commercial and industrial collection services, typically we have three-year service agreements. The fees under the agreements are influenced by factors such as collection frequency, type of collection equipment we furnish, type and volume or weight of the waste collected, distance to the disposal facility, labor costs, cost of disposal and general market factors. As part of the service, we provide steel containers to most customers to store their solid waste between pick-up dates. Containers vary in size and type according to the needs of our customers and the restrictions of their communities. Many are designed to be lifted mechanically and either emptied into a truck’s compaction hopper or directly into a disposal site. By using these containers, we can service most of our commercial and industrial customers with trucks operated by only one employee.
For most residential collection services, we have a contract with, or a franchise granted by, a municipality, homeowners’ association or some other regional authority that gives us the exclusive right to service all or a

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portion of the homes in an area. These contracts or franchises are typically for periods of three to ten years. We also provide services under individual monthly subscriptions directly to households. The fees for residential collection are either paid by the municipality or authority from their tax revenues or service charges, or are paid directly by the residents receiving the service. The Company is generally phasing out traditional manual systems and moving to further automate residential collection services. Benefits of automation include enhanced worker safety, improved service delivery to the customer and an overall reduction in the cost to provide services.

Landfill. Landfills are the main depositories for solid waste in North America. As of December 31, 2022, we owned or operated 254 solid waste landfills and five secure hazardous waste landfills, which represents the largest network of landfills throughout the U.S. and Canada. As of December 31, 2022, we owned or controlled the management of 231 sites with remedial activities, that are in closure or that have received a certification of closure from the applicable regulatory agency. Solid waste landfills are constructed and operated on land with engineering safeguards that limit the possibility of water and air pollution, and are operated under procedures prescribed by regulation. A landfill must meet federal, state or provincial, and local regulations during its design, construction, operation and closure. The operation and closure activities of a solid waste landfill include excavation, construction of liners, continuous spreading and compacting of waste, covering of waste with earth or other acceptable material and constructing final capping of the landfill. These operations are carefully planned to maintain environmentally safe conditions and to maximize the use of the airspace.

All solid waste management companies must have access to a disposal facility, such as a solid waste landfill. The significant capital requirements of developing and operating a landfill serve as a barrier to landfill ownership and, thus, third-party haulers often dispose of waste at our landfills. It is usually preferable for our collection operations to use disposal facilities that we own or operate, a practice we refer to as internalization, rather than using third-party disposal facilities. Internalization generally allows us to realize higher consolidated margins and stronger operating cash flows. The fees charged at disposal facilities, which are referred to as tipping fees, are based on several factors, including our cost to construct, maintain and close the landfill, the distance to an alternative disposal facility, the type and weight or volume of solid waste deposited and competition.

Under environmental laws, the federal government (or states with delegated authority) must issue permits for all hazardous waste landfills. All of our hazardous waste landfills have obtained the required permits, although some can accept only certain types of hazardous waste. These landfills must also comply with specialized operating standards. Only hazardous waste in a stable, solid form, which meets regulatory requirements, can be deposited in our secure disposal cells. In some cases, hazardous waste can be treated before disposal. Generally, these treatments involve the separation or removal of solid materials from liquids and chemical treatments that transform waste into inert materials that are no longer hazardous. Our hazardous waste landfills are sited, constructed and operated in a manner designed to provide long-term containment of waste. We also operate a hazardous waste facility at which we isolate treated hazardous waste in liquid form by injection into deep wells that have been drilled in certain acceptable geologic formations far below the base of fresh water to a point that is safely separated by other substantial geological confining layers.

Transfer. As of December 31, 2022, we owned or operated 337 transfer stations in the U.S. and Canada. We deposit waste at these stations, as do other waste haulers. The solid waste is then consolidated and compacted to reduce the volume and increase the density of the waste and transported by transfer trucks or by rail to disposal sites.

Access to transfer stations is critical to haulers who collect waste in areas not in close proximity to disposal facilities. Fees charged to third parties at transfer stations are usually based on the type and volume or weight of the waste deposited at the transfer station, the distance to the disposal site, market rates for disposal costs and other general market factors.

The utilization of our transfer stations by our own collection operations improves internalization by allowing us to retain fees that we would otherwise pay to third parties for the disposal of the waste we collect. It enables us to manage costs associated with waste disposal because (i) transfer trucks, railcars or rail containers have larger capacities than collection trucks, allowing us to deliver more waste to the disposal facility in each trip; (ii) waste is accumulated and compacted at transfer stations that are strategically located to increase the efficiency of our network of operations and (iii) we can retain the volume by managing the transfer of the waste to one of our own disposal sites.

The transfer stations that we operate but do not own generally are operated through lease agreements under which we lease property from third parties. There are some instances where transfer stations are operated under contract, generally

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for municipalities. In most cases, we own the permits and will be responsible for any regulatory requirements relating to the operation and closure of the transfer station.

Recycling. Recycling involves the separation of reusable materials from the waste stream for processing and resale or other disposition. We are North America’s leading recycler of post-consumer materials. We not only collect materials from households and businesses across the U.S. and Canada, we also sell them to manufacturers to be recycled and sold in the North American market. Demand for recycled materials is generally growing. Several states have recently passed minimum-recycled-content mandates, and many companies are responding to requirements for recycled content from their own customers and to meet sustainability targets. We are helping expand the availability of recycled materials by investing in infrastructure, increasing access to recycling services and educating customers through our Recycle Right® program.

Our recycling operations provide communities and businesses with an alternative to traditional landfill disposal and support our strategic goals to extract more value from the materials we manage. We were the first major solid waste company to focus on residential single-stream recycling, which allows customers to mix clean bottles, cans, paper and cardboard in one bin. Residential single-stream programs have greatly increased recycling volumes. Single-stream recycling is possible through the use of various mechanized screens and optical sorting technologies. In addition to advancing our single stream recycling programs for commercial applications, we continue to invest in recycling technologies and businesses, designed to offer services and solutions to support and grow our current operations, including our recent purchase of a controlling interest in a business intended to accelerate our film and plastic wrap recycling capabilities. We are investing in enhanced MRF technology at new and existing facilities to benefit labor productivity, support increased recycling capacity and allow for dynamic adjustments to respond to evolving end-market demands. In 2022, we opened five new MRFs within the U.S. equipped with advanced recycling technology. We continue to invest in MRF automation in several markets across the U.S. Our recycling operations include the following:

Materials processing — Through our collection operations and third-party customer base, we collect recyclable materials from residential, commercial and industrial customers and direct these materials to one of our MRFs for processing. As of December 31, 2022, we operated 97 MRFs, of which 46 are single stream, where cardboard, paper, glass, metals, plastics, construction and demolition materials and other recycling commodities are recovered for resale or redirected for other purposes.

Recycling commodities — We market and resell recycling commodities globally. We manage the marketing of recycling commodities that are processed in our facilities by maintaining comprehensive service centers that continuously analyze market prices, logistics, market demands and product quality.

Recycling brokerage services — We also provide recycling brokerage services, which involve managing the marketing of recyclable materials for third parties. Our experience in managing recycling commodities for our own operations gives us the expertise needed to effectively manage volumes for third parties. Utilizing the resources and knowledge of our recycling operations’ service centers, we can assist customers in marketing and selling their recycling commodities with minimal capital requirements.

The recyclable materials processed in our MRFs are received from various sources, including third parties and our own operations. In recent years, we have been focused on reducing dependency on market prices for recycled commodities by recovering our processing costs first. In our materials processing business, we have been transitioning our customer base over time from the traditional rebate model, where we paid suppliers for the inbound material, to a fee-for-service model that ensures the cost of processing the recyclable materials is covered along with an acceptable margin. With our current fee-for-service model, the pricing for these recyclable materials can either be a charge or “tip fee” when commodity pricing does not cover our cost to process the recyclable materials or a “rebate” when commodity pricing is higher than our processing costs and we are able to share this benefit with the customers generating recyclable materials. In some cases, our pricing is based on fixed contractual rates or on defined minimum per-ton rates. Generally, this pricing also considers the price we receive for sales of processed goods, market conditions and transportation costs. As a result, changes in commodity prices for recycled materials also significantly affect the pricing to our suppliers. Depending on the key terms of the arrangement, these “rebates” are recorded as either operating expenses or a reduction in operating revenues within our Consolidated Statements of Operations. If the key terms result in a charge to the customer, the associated “tip fees” would be recorded as operating revenues within our Consolidated Statements of Operations.

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Other. Other services we provide include the following:

WM Renewable Energy — We develop, operate and promote projects for the beneficial use of landfill gas through our WM Renewable Energy business. Landfill gas is produced naturally as waste decomposes in a landfill. The methane component of the landfill gas is a readily available, renewable energy source that can be gathered and used beneficially as an alternative to fossil fuel. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) endorses landfill gas as a renewable energy resource, in the same category as wind, solar and geothermal resources. As of December 31, 2022, we had 135 landfill gas beneficial use projects producing commercial quantities of methane gas at owned or operated landfills. For 95 of these projects, the processed gas is used to fuel electricity generators. The electricity is then sold to public utilities, municipal utilities or power cooperatives. For 23 of these projects, the gas is used at the landfill or delivered by pipeline to industrial customers as a direct substitute for fossil fuels in industrial processes. For 17 of these projects, the landfill gas is processed to pipeline-quality natural gas and then sold to natural gas suppliers.

WM Renewable Energy produces renewable natural gas (“RNG”) from landfill gas and generates renewable identification numbers (“RINs”) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (“RFS”) program and other credits under a variety of state programs associated with the use of RNG in our compressed natural gas fleet. The RINs and credits are sold to counterparties who are obligated under the regulatory programs and have a responsibility to procure RINs and credits proportionate to their fossil fuel production and imports. RINs prices generally respond to regulations enacted by the EPA or other regulatory bodies, as well as fluctuations in supply and demand. WM Renewable Energy currently has five owned facilities producing 3.5 million MMBtu of RNG annually and the revenue from these facilities is primarily generated through the sale of natural gas, RINs and related environmental attributes.

We are also modernizing our landfills and expanding our network of renewable natural gas facilities. Together, these robust solutions will make us a better advisor to our customers while supporting our own sustainability goals.

Sustainability and Environmental Solutions (“SES”) — Our SES business offers our customers a variety of services in collaboration with our Areas and strategic accounts programs, including (i) construction and remediation services; (ii) services associated with the disposal of fly ash, which is residue generated from the combustion of coal, and other forms of fuel and (iii) in-plant services, where our employees work full-time inside our customers’ facilities to provide full-service waste management solutions and consulting services (this service is managed through our SES business but reflected principally in our collection line of business). Our vertically integrated waste management operations enable us to provide customers with full management of their waste. The breadth of our service offerings, the familiarity we have with waste management practices and our use of technology give us the ability help customers reduce the amount of waste they generate, identify recycling opportunities and determine efficient and environmentally friendly means for waste collection and disposal. Through these services, we aim to help customers increase circularity and accelerate their decarbonization goals.
Strategic Business Solutions (“WMSBS”) — Although many waste management services such as collection and disposal are local services, our WMSBS business works with customers whose locations span the U.S. and Canada. Our strategic accounts program provides these customers with streamlined service, enhanced reporting, measurement tools aimed at meeting sustainability objectives and centralized billing and management of accounts.
Expanded Service Offerings and Solutions — We provide expanded service offerings and solutions that are not managed through our Solid Waste business including the collection of project waste, including construction debris and household or yard waste, through our Bagster® business.

We continue to invest in businesses and technologies that are designed to offer services and solutions ancillary or supplementary to our current operations. While most of these investments are in the form of minority equity stakes, they can also include joint ventures, joint development agreements or majority equity stakes. The solutions and services include (i) waste collection, processing, and recycling; (ii) the development, operation and marketing

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of waste processing facilities and technologies; (iii) operation of renewable natural gas plants and (iv) the development and operation of organic recycling technologies. Furthermore, we continually scout, evaluate and run proof-of-concepts of innovative technologies within our core operations to improve safety, operational efficiencies and customer solutions.

Competition

We encounter intense competition from governmental, quasi-governmental and private sources in all aspects of our operations. We principally compete with large national waste management companies, counties and municipalities that maintain their own waste collection and disposal operations and regional and local companies of varying sizes and financial resources. The industry also includes companies that specialize in certain discrete areas of waste management, operators of alternative disposal facilities, companies that seek to use parts of the waste stream as feedstock for renewable energy and other by-products, and waste brokers that rely upon haulers in local markets to address customer needs.

Operating costs, disposal costs and collection fees vary widely throughout the geographic areas in which we operate. The prices that we charge are determined locally, and typically vary by volume and weight, type of waste collected, treatment requirements, risk of handling or disposal, frequency of collections, distance to final disposal sites, the availability of airspace within the geographic region, labor costs and amount and type of equipment furnished to the customer. We face intense competition in our Solid Waste business based on pricing and quality of service. We also compete for business based on breadth of service offerings. As companies, individuals and communities look for ways to be more sustainable, we are promoting our comprehensive services that go beyond our core business of collecting and disposing of waste in order to meet their needs.

Seasonal Trends

Our operating revenues tend to be somewhat higher in summer months, primarily due to higher construction and demolition waste volumes. The volumes of industrial and residential waste in certain regions where we operate also tend to increase during the summer months. Our second and third quarter revenues and results of operations typically reflect these seasonal trends.

Service or operational disruptions caused by severe storms, extended periods of inclement weather or climate events can significantly affect the operating results of the geographic areas affected. Extreme weather events may also lead to supply chain disruption and delayed project development, or disruption of our customers’ businesses, reducing the amount of waste generated by their operations.

On the other hand, certain destructive weather and climate conditions, such as wildfires in the Western U.S. and hurricanes that most often impact our operations in the Southern and Eastern U.S. during the second half of the year, can increase our revenues in the geographic areas affected as a result of the waste volumes generated by these events. While weather-related and other event-driven special projects can boost revenues through additional work for a limited time, due to significant start-up costs and other factors, such revenue can generate earnings at comparatively lower margins.

Human Capital Resources

Employees

As of December 31, 2022, we had approximately 49,500 full-time employees across the U.S., Canada and India. Approximately 46,300 employees were located within the U.S. and 3,200 employees were located outside of the U.S. Approximately 8,500 employees were employed in administrative and sales positions with the remainder in operations. Approximately 8,600 of our employees are covered by collective bargaining agreements. Additional information about our workforce can be found in our 2022 Sustainability Report at https://sustainability.wm.com. Our 2022 Sustainability Report does not constitute a part of, and is not incorporated by reference into, this report or any other report we file with (or furnish to) the SEC, whether made before or after the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

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People First Commitment

Our People First commitment means knowing that the daily contributions of our team members are what enable us to play a vital role in the communities we serve. Our success depends upon effective leadership, the contributions of each employee, and our ability to give them the tools they need to safely execute their roles as well as to develop and excel in their careers. As our industry and workforce evolve, we are focused on our imperatives of keeping our employees safe, improving diversity, equity, and inclusion at all levels of our Company, managing employee turnover, increasing retention, succession planning and development, and supporting employee experience, ongoing cultural integration and knowledge transfer. We regularly focus on these objectives when managing our business.

We strive to be a workplace of choice through competitive pay, comprehensive benefits for long-term financial and personal health and opportunities for growth across our ranks. "We Are WM" is our Employer Value Proposition, grounded in our People First commitment and shared through a framework that enables us to display that we are (i) investing in our teams by providing comprehensive benefits; (ii) committed to the growth of our team by providing state-of-the-art trainings and our new education benefit, Your Tomorrow, as further discussed under Compensation and Benefits; (iii) performing essential and meaningful work and (iv) working for a sustainable tomorrow by leaving the world a better place than we found it. Being an employer of choice is critical to our efforts to attract and retain a high-quality workforce, while motivating us to sharpen our focus on our values that help us empower and develop good employees. By promoting from within and offering training and experiential opportunities, we help employees maximize their effectiveness and grow in their careers.

Safety as a Core Value

At the Company, safety is a core value, with no compromise. A large number of our employee population work as drivers, heavy equipment operators and sorters, which are essential jobs that carry inherent risks. For nearly 20 years, we have engaged employees on safety through our Mission to Zero (“M2Z”) program. The “Zero” in M2Z represents zero tolerance for unsafe behaviors. Employees learn safety best practices through new-hire and ongoing training. To build upon lessons learned in training, we conduct structured observations of frontline employees that cover all aspects of our collection and post-collection operations, including driving, loading, unloading, lifting and lowering and arriving prepared for work. In 2022, the Company announced a safety goal focused on reduction of our Total Recordable Incident Rate (“TRIR”) by 3% annually, targeting TRIR of 2.0 annually by 2030. TRIR measures the number of injuries occurring per 100 employees for total hours worked annually. Our TRIR as of December 31, 2022 and 2021 was 3.02 and 3.0, respectively. The Company also remains focused on the prevention of serious injuries.

Inclusion, Equity and Diversity

We embrace and cultivate respect, trust, open communications and diversity of thought and people. We are committed to equality for all, and foster an environment where all team members feel welcomed, valued and seen. We see inclusion, equity and diversity (“IE&D”) as core in everything that we do. Our commitment to IE&D starts at the top with our senior leadership team being comprised of 22% ethnic minorities and 33% women as of December 31, 2022; and with our overall workforce in the U.S. being comprised of approximately 45% ethnic minorities and approximately 20% women as of the same date. We are proud of what we have been able to achieve so far, and we will continue to strive to further embed IE&D within the Company. To solidify this commitment, in 2022 the Company developed two new IE&D goals: (i) increase the overall representation of women in our workforce to at least 25% by 2030 and (ii) increase the representation of racial/ethnic minority employees in our Manager roles and above to 30% by 2030. To enable us to achieve our goals, we have empowered a cross-functional IE&D Council to evaluate and enhance our policies, practices and procedures, recruitment and partnerships to ensure that our IE&D efforts are sustainable and are tied to our business strategy.

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Learning and Development

We offer expansive learning and development solutions to meet the development needs of our people and support opportunities for growth and improvement. Our talent management strategy is designed to reach employees at all levels. Given the wide variety of employee roles and skill sets in our Company, our training and development programs are varied but generally fall into the following categories: (i) compliance, including Code of Conduct and cybersecurity training; (ii) safety; (iii) environmental excellence; (iv) professional development and leadership and (v) job-specific.

Compensation and Benefits

The objective of our compensation and benefit programs is to attract, engage, reward and incentivize valuable employees who will support the successful execution of our strategy. We pay the full cost to provide employees with short-term disability benefits, long-term disability benefits, basic life insurance for the employee and their dependents, and employee and family assistance benefits. The costs for medical and dental coverage are shared with employees, with the Company paying for a majority of the premium expense. The Company offers other important benefits such as paid vacation and holidays, legal services, flexible spending accounts, dependent care assistance, adoption assistance, employee discounts and student loan refinancing services. We also recognize the value of learning beyond the workplace. In 2021, we announced a new education benefit, Your Tomorrow. Your Tomorrow was created in partnership with Guild Education to pay 100% of benefits-eligible employees’ and dependents’ tuition for a broad range of four-year college degree programs, as well as programs such as high-school equivalency and, for employees, other certificate programs and graduate degrees. We also provide plans to help employees save for their future; refer to Note 9 to the Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information on our employee benefit plans.

Financial Assurance and Insurance Obligations

Financial Assurance

Municipal and governmental waste service contracts generally require contracting parties to demonstrate financial responsibility for their obligations under the contract. Financial assurance is also a requirement for (i) obtaining or retaining disposal site or transfer station operating permits; (ii) supporting certain variable-rate tax-exempt debt and (iii) estimated final capping, closure, post-closure and environmental remedial obligations at many of our landfills. We establish financial assurance using surety bonds, letters of credit, insurance policies, trust and escrow agreements and financial guarantees. The type of assurance used is based on several factors, most importantly: the jurisdiction, contractual requirements, market factors and availability of credit capacity.

Surety bonds and insurance policies are supported by (i) a diverse group of third-party surety and insurance companies; (ii) an entity in which we have a noncontrolling financial interest or (iii) a wholly-owned insurance captive, the sole business of which is to issue surety bonds and/or insurance policies on our behalf. Letters of credit generally are supported by our long-term U.S. and Canadian revolving credit facility (“$3.5 billion revolving credit facility”) and other credit lines established for that purpose.

Insurance

We carry a broad range of insurance coverages, including health and welfare, general liability, automobile liability, workers’ compensation, real and personal property, directors’ and officers’ liability, pollution legal liability, cyber incident liability and other coverages we believe are customary to the industry. Our exposure to loss for insurance claims is generally limited to the per-incident deductible under the related insurance policy. We use a wholly-owned insurance captive to insure the deductibles for our general liability, automobile liability and workers’ compensation claims programs. We do not expect the impact of any known casualty, property, environmental or other contingency to have a material impact on our financial condition, results of operations or cash flows. Our estimated insurance liabilities as of December 31, 2022 are summarized in Note 10 to the Consolidated Financial Statements.

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Regulation

Our business is subject to extensive and evolving federal, state or provincial and local environmental, health, safety and transportation laws and regulations. These laws and regulations are administered by the EPA, Environment and Climate Change Canada (“ECCC”), and various other federal, state, provincial and local environmental, zoning, transportation, land use, health and safety agencies in the U.S. and Canada. Many of these agencies regularly examine our operations to monitor compliance with these laws and regulations and have the power to enforce compliance, obtain injunctions or impose civil or criminal penalties in cases of violations.

Because the primary mission of our business is to collect, process and manage solid waste and recyclables in an environmentally sound manner, a significant amount of our capital expenditures are related, either directly or indirectly, to environmental protection measures, including compliance with federal, state, provincial and local rules. There are costs associated with siting, design, permitting, construction, operations, monitoring, site maintenance, corrective actions, financial assurance, and facility closure and post-closure obligations. With acquisition, development or expansion of a waste management or disposal facility, materials recovery facility, compost facility, transfer station, or landfill gas-to-energy facility, we must often spend considerable time, effort and money to obtain or maintain required permits and approvals. There are no assurances that we will be able to obtain or maintain required governmental approvals. Once obtained, permits are subject to renewal, modification, suspension or revocation by the issuing authority. Compliance with current regulations and future requirements could require us to make significant capital and operating expenditures. However, most of these expenditures are made in the normal course of business and do not place us at any competitive disadvantage.

The regulatory environment in which we operate is influenced by changes in leadership at the federal, state, provincial and local levels. For example, divided government likely will impede significant legislative action in the 118th Congress, leading to an expectation that the White House will prioritize regulatory changes to implement parts of its agenda, including taking steps towards reinstating, and in some cases enhancing, policies and regulations rolled back by the previous administration. While increasing regulation may have a negative impact on our operating costs, extensive environmental regulation applicable to our industry is also a barrier to rapid entry that benefits our Company. Moreover, the risk reduction provided by stringent regulation is valuable to our customers and the communities we serve.

Federal Regulation

The primary U.S. federal statutes affecting our business are summarized below:

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (“RCRA”), as amended, regulates handling, transporting and disposing of hazardous and non-hazardous waste and delegates authority to states to develop programs to ensure the safe disposal of solid waste. Landfills are regulated under Subtitle D of RCRA, which sets forth minimum federal performance and design criteria for solid waste landfills, and Subtitle C of RCRA, which establishes a federal program to manage hazardous wastes from cradle to grave. These regulations are typically implemented by the states, although states can impose requirements that are more stringent than the federal standards. We incur costs in complying with these standards in the ordinary course of our operations.
The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (“CERCLA”), as amended, which is also known as Superfund, provides for federal authority to respond directly to releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances into the environment that have created actual or potential environmental hazards. CERCLA’s primary means for addressing such releases is to impose strict liability for cleanup of disposal sites upon current and former site owners and operators, generators of the hazardous substances at the site and transporters who selected the disposal site and transported substances thereto. Liability under CERCLA is not dependent on the intentional release of hazardous substances; it can be based upon the release or threatened release of hazardous substances, even resulting from lawful, unintentional and attentive action, as the term is defined by CERCLA and other applicable statutes and regulations. The EPA may issue orders requiring responsible parties to perform response actions at sites, or the EPA may seek recovery of funds expended or to be expended in the future at sites. Liability may include contribution for cleanup costs incurred by a defendant in a CERCLA civil action or by an entity that has previously resolved its liability to federal or state regulators in an administrative or judicially-approved settlement. Liability under CERCLA could also

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include obligations to a potentially responsible party (“PRP”) that voluntarily expends site clean-up costs. Further, liability for damage to publicly-owned natural resources may also be imposed. We are subject to potential liability under CERCLA as an owner or operator of facilities at which hazardous substances have been disposed and as a generator or transporter of hazardous substances disposed of at other locations.
The Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972, as amended, known as the Clean Water Act, regulates the discharge of pollutants into streams, rivers, groundwater, or other surface waters from a variety of sources, including solid and hazardous waste disposal sites. If our operations discharge any pollutants into federally protected surface waters, the Clean Water Act requires us to apply for and obtain discharge permits, conduct sampling and monitoring, and, under certain circumstances, reduce the quantity of pollutants in those discharges. The EPA also requires landfills and other waste-handling facilities to obtain storm water discharge permits, and if a landfill or other facility discharges wastewater through a sewage system to a publicly-owned treatment works, the facility must comply with discharge limits imposed by the treatment works. Further, before the development or expansion of a landfill can alter or affect certain “wetlands,” a permit may have to be obtained providing for mitigation or replacement wetlands. The Clean Water Act provides for civil, criminal and administrative penalties for violations of its provisions.
The Clean Air Act of 1970, as amended, provides for federal, state and local regulation of the emission of air pollutants. Many of our municipal solid waste (“MSW”) landfills and landfill gas-to-energy facilities are subject to regulations implemented under the Clean Air Act, including new source performance standards, emission guidelines and national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants. These regulations impose performance standards to minimize air emissions from regulated MSW landfills, subject those landfills to certain operating permit requirements under Title V of the Clean Air Act and, in many instances, require installation of landfill gas collection and control systems to control emissions or to treat and utilize landfill gas on- or off-site. Our vehicle fleet also must adhere to regulations implemented under the Clean Air Act, which authorizes the EPA to mandate controls on air pollution from mobile sources.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, as amended, establishes certain employer responsibilities, including maintenance of a workplace free of recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious injury, compliance with standards promulgated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and various reporting and record keeping obligations as well as disclosure and procedural requirements. Various standards for notices of hazards, safety in excavation and demolition work and the handling of asbestos, may apply to our operations. The Department of Transportation and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, along with other federal agencies, have jurisdiction over certain aspects of hazardous materials and hazardous waste, including safety, movement and disposal. Various state and local agencies with jurisdiction over disposal of hazardous waste may seek to regulate movement of hazardous materials in areas not otherwise preempted by federal law.

State, Provincial and Local Regulations

There are also various state or provincial and local regulations that affect our operations. Each state and province in which we operate has its own laws and regulations governing solid waste disposal, water and air pollution, and, in most cases, releases and cleanup of hazardous substances and liabilities for such matters. States and provinces have also adopted regulations governing the design, operation, maintenance and closure of landfills and transfer stations, and laws governing where recyclable materials can be sold. Some counties, municipalities and other local governments have adopted similar laws and regulations. Our facilities and operations are likely to be subject to these types of requirements.

Our landfill operations are affected by the increasing preference for alternatives to landfill disposal. Many state and local governments mandate recycling and waste reduction at the source and prohibit the disposal of certain types of materials at landfills, such as recyclable materials (cardboard, bottles and cans), yard waste, food waste and electronics. The number of state and local governments with recycling and diversion requirements and disposal bans continues to grow, while the logistics and economics of recycling or processing many of these items remain challenging.

Various states have enacted, or are considering enacting, laws that restrict or discourage the disposal within the state of solid waste generated outside the state. While laws that overtly discriminate against out-of-state waste have been found to be unconstitutional, some laws that are less overtly discriminatory have been upheld in court. From time to time, the

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U.S. Congress has considered legislation authorizing states to adopt regulations, restrictions, or taxes on the importation of out-of-state or out-of-jurisdiction waste. Additionally, several state and local governments have enacted “flow control” regulations, which attempt to require that all waste generated within the state or local jurisdiction be deposited at specific sites, which has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court for waste directed to facilities owned by the local government. The U.S. Congress’ adoption of legislation allowing restrictions on interstate transportation of out-of-state or out-of-jurisdiction waste or certain types of flow control, or courts’ interpretations of interstate waste and flow control legislation, could adversely affect our solid and hazardous waste management services.

Additionally, regulations establishing extended producer responsibility (“EPR”) are being considered or implemented in many places around the world, including in the U.S. and Canada. EPR regulations are designed to place either partial or total responsibility on producers to fund the post-use life cycle of the products they create. Along with the funding responsibility, producers may be required to undertake additional responsibilities, such as taking over management of local recycling programs by taking back their products from end users or managing the collection operations and recycling processing infrastructure. There is no federal law establishing EPR in the U.S. or Canada; however, federal, state, provincial and local governments could take, and in some cases have taken, steps to implement EPR regulations for packaging, including traditional recyclables such as cardboard, bottles and cans. If wide-ranging EPR regulations were adopted, they could significantly impact the waste, recycling and other streams we manage and how we operate our business, including contract terms and pricing.

Many states, provinces and local jurisdictions have enacted “fitness” laws that allow the agencies that have jurisdiction over waste services contracts or permits to deny or revoke these contracts or permits based on the applicant’s or permit holder’s compliance history. Some states, provinces and local jurisdictions go further and consider the compliance history of the parent, subsidiaries or affiliated companies, in addition to the applicant or permit holder. These laws authorize the agencies to make determinations of an applicant’s or permit holder’s fitness to be awarded a contract to operate, and to deny or revoke a contract or permit because of unfitness, unless there is a showing that the applicant or permit holder has been rehabilitated through the adoption of various operating policies and procedures put in place to assure future compliance with applicable laws and regulations. While fitness laws can present potential increased costs and barriers to entry into market areas, these laws have not, and are not expected to have a material adverse impact on our business as a whole.

Recent Developments and Focus Areas in Policy and Regulation

Climate and Sustainability

Jurisdictions are increasingly taking action to reduce greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions through a broad range of climate policies. Landfills are one of the focal points for advancing climate-related goals, and we are actively working with policymakers to promote recognition of the significant reductions in GHG emissions that our industry already has achieved and the work being done to further reduce emissions, the challenges associated with quantifying landfill emissions precisely, and the role of our sector in providing an essential, and highly regulated, public service.

We also are closely monitoring the evolving capabilities of ground, aerial, and satellite-based methane detection and monitoring systems, and investing in pilot programs to further explore these innovations for applicability to our operations. We continue to expand our work with various private and government entities employing ground, aerial and satellite-based measurements of our sites. As these technologies are expected to advance rapidly in the coming years, we are actively engaged with the ECCC and EPA on the implications of the changing landscape for the waste industry and potential future regulation.

In light of regulatory and business developments related to concerns about climate change, we have identified strategic business opportunities to provide our public and private sector customers with sustainable solutions to reduce their GHG emissions. As part of our on-going marketing evaluations, we assess customer demand for and opportunities to develop waste services offering verifiable carbon reductions, such as waste reduction, increased recycling, composting, and conversion of landfill gas and discarded materials into electricity and fuel. We use carbon life cycle assessment tools in evaluating potential new services and in establishing the value proposition that makes us attractive as an environmental service provider. We are active in support of public policies that encourage development and use of lower carbon energy and waste services that lower users’ carbon footprints. We understand the importance of broad stakeholder engagement in

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these endeavors, and actively seek opportunities for public policy discussion on more sustainable materials management practices. In addition, we work with stakeholders at the federal, state, and provincial level in support of legislation that encourages production and use of renewable, low-carbon fuels and electricity.

We continue to assess the physical risks to our Company’s operations from the effects of severe weather events and use risk mitigation planning to increase our resiliency in the face of such events. We are investing in infrastructure to withstand more severe storm events, which may afford us a competitive advantage and reinforce our reputation as a reliable service provider through continued service in the aftermath of such events.

Consistent with our Company’s long-standing commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship, we have published our 2022 Sustainability Report, providing details on our environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) performance and outlining new 2030 goals. The Sustainability Report conveys the strong linkage between the Company’s ESG goals and our growth strategy, inclusive of the planned expansion of the Company’s recycling and renewable energy businesses. The information in this report can be found at https://sustainability.wm.com but it does not constitute a part of, and is not incorporated by reference into, this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The Company actively participates in a number of sustainability reporting programs and frameworks.

PFAS

Efforts to safeguard communities from contamination with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”) have drawn increased attention by the federal government and in the states. PFAS are a large group of chemicals that have been used in industrial and consumer products since the 1940s, including in products as diverse as carpets, paints and stains, water-resistant clothing and fabrics, nonstick cookware, food packaging, and firefighting chemicals. Possible human health effects of exposure to certain PFAS compounds may include low infant birth weights, immune system impacts, or cancer. In 2021, the EPA released its PFAS Strategic Roadmap, providing a high-level overview of activities that the agency intends to take through 2024 to address PFAS contamination. These actions include establishing drinking water standards, expanded authority for PFAS remediation, research and data collection on landfill discharges of PFAS in leachate, new risk assessments and test procedures, and updated guidance on PFAS disposal and destruction options. During 2022, the EPA proposed designation of two PFAS compounds as hazardous substances under CERCLA. We are closely monitoring this proposed rulemaking. In addition, an increasing number of states have enacted new drinking water, surface water and/or groundwater limits for various PFAS, which has led to a patchwork of PFAS standards across the U.S. Compliance with new and proposed state and federal PFAS standards is anticipated to result in additional expense to the Company, but such standards are also anticipated to present potential business opportunities in the area of PFAS management, treatment and disposal.

Recycling; Foreign Import and Export Regulations and Material Restrictions

Enforcement or implementation of foreign and domestic regulations can affect our ability to export recyclables. Attention on waste in the environment has led to new international laws restricting the flow of certain recyclables. As an example, on January 1, 2021, new restrictions on the international trade of most plastics went into effect as part of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal. At this time, the U.S. is not a party to the Basel Convention, but most countries to which we export commodities are, which may limit our ability to export certain plastics. However, we do not ship plastics collected on our residential recycling routes and processed at our single stream material recovery facilities to locations outside of North America.

In recent years, new and updated international regulations affecting, and in some cases restricting, the international flow of certain recyclables have led to a reduction in export activity for such recyclables, as well as higher quality requirements, and higher processing costs. COVID-19 placed additional financial stress on recyclers and municipalities, resulting in some recycling programs being paused or eliminated. These changes have led to a number of states and provinces considering and several implementing EPR regulations.

Prices and demand for recyclables fluctuate. While demand for recyclables generally continues to trend upwards, during the second half of 2022, we saw significant declines in commodity prices for recycled material, and we expect significant commodity price headwinds to continue into 2023, resulting from the slowdown in the global economy, which

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reduced retail demand and the corresponding need for cardboard packaging to ship retail goods. Recycling revenues attributable to yield increased $19 million and $537 million in 2022 and 2021, respectively, as compared with the prior year periods primarily from higher market prices for recycling commodities in 2021 and the first half of 2022, before the significant downturn in the second half of 2022.

We announced a sustainability growth strategy that includes significant planned investments in our recycling business to increase automation and reduce labor dependency. Such investments are also targeted at addressing increases in quality requirements for commodities. These investments increase our exposure to commodity price fluctuations. We mitigate some of the effects of price fluctuation through the contract terms pursuant to which we sell commodities, such as floor pricing. Additionally, future regulation, tariffs, international trade policies or other initiatives, including regulations addressing climate change or GHG emissions, may impact supply and demand of material, or increase operating costs, which could impact the profitability of our recycling operations.

For the past several years, we have been working with stakeholders to educate the public on the need to recycle properly. We continue to invest time and effort in working closely with customers to improve the quality of materials received at our facilities. We have continued our focus on developing a sustainable recycling business model that meets customers’ environmental needs by passing through the increasing cost of processing and higher contamination rates, and these efforts continued to have a positive impact on the operating results for our recycling business in 2022.

With a heightened awareness of the global problems caused by plastic waste in the environment, Canada and an increasing number of cities and states across the U.S. have passed ordinances banning certain types of plastics from sale or use. The most common materials banned include plastic bags and straws, polystyrene plastic, and some types of single use packaging. These bans have increased pressure by manufacturers on our recycling facilities to accept a broader array of materials in curbside recycling and composting programs to alleviate public pressures to ban the sale of those materials. However, with no or limited viable end markets for many of these materials, we and other recyclers are working to educate and remind customers of the need for end market demand and economic viability to support sustainable recycling programs. We are also making investments in end markets to support the collection and processing of some of these materials. With increased focus on responsible management of plastics, our procurement team has taken a proactive approach to ensure environmental sustainability goals are prioritized in managing the products we buy.

Tax Legislation

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (“IRA”) was signed into law by President Biden on August 16, 2022 and contains a number of tax-related provisions. The provisions of the IRA related to alternative fuel tax credits secure approximately $55 million of annual pre-tax benefit (to be recorded as a reduction in our operating expense) from tax credits through 2024, which is in line with the benefit we have realized from our alternative fuel tax credits in prior years. Additionally, we will incur an excise tax of 1% for future common stock repurchases, which will be reflected in the cost of purchasing the underlying shares as a component of treasury stock. The IRA contains a number of additional provisions related to tax incentives for investments in renewable energy production, carbon capture, and other climate actions, as well as the overall measurement of corporate income taxes. Given the complexity and uncertainty around the applicability of the legislation to our specific facts and circumstances, we continue to analyze the IRA provisions to identify and quantify potential opportunities and applicable benefits included in the legislation. The current expectation is the minimum corporate tax will not have an impact on the Company. With respect to only the investment tax credit aspect of the IRA, we expect the cumulative benefit to be between $250 million and $350 million, a large portion of which is anticipated to be realized in 2025. Additionally, the production tax credit incentives for investments in renewable energy and the carbon capture provisions of the IRA will likely result in incremental benefit, although at this time the amount of those benefits have not been quantified.

Regulation of Oil and Gas Exploration, Production and Disposal

Our Sustainability and Environmental Services business provides specialized environmental management and disposal services for fluids used and wastes generated by customers engaged in oil and gas exploration and production, and these disposal services include use of underground injection wells. There is heightened federal regulatory focus on emissions of methane that occur during drilling and transportation of natural gas, as well as state attention to protective disposal of drilling residuals. There also remains heightened attention from the public, some states and the EPA to the

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alleged potential for hydraulic fracturing that occurs during drilling to impact drinking water supplies. Increased regulation of oil and gas exploration and production, including GHG emissions or hydraulic fracturing, could make it more difficult or cost-prohibitive for our customers to continue operations, adversely affecting our business.

Additionally, any new regulations regarding the treatment and disposal of wastes associated with exploration and production operations, including through use of injection wells, could increase our costs to provide oilfield services and reduce our margins and revenue from such services. Conversely, any loosening of regulations regarding how such wastes are handled or disposed of could adversely affect our business, as we believe the size, capital structure, regulatory sophistication and established reliability of our Company provide us with an advantage in providing services that must comply with any complex regulatory regime that may govern providing oilfield waste services.

Investment in Natural Gas Vehicles and Infrastructure

We operate a large fleet of natural gas vehicles, and we plan to continue to invest in these assets for our collection fleet. Natural gas fueling infrastructure is not yet broadly available in the U.S. and Canada; as a result, we have constructed and operate natural gas fueling stations, some of which also serve the public or pre-approved third parties. Concerns have been raised about the potential for emissions from the fueling stations and infrastructure that serve natural gas-fueled vehicles. Additional regulation of, or restrictions on, natural gas fueling infrastructure or reductions in associated tax incentives could increase our operating costs. We are not yet able to evaluate potential operating changes or costs associated with such regulations, but we do not anticipate that such regulations would have a material adverse impact on our business.

There is increasing pressure to reduce the use of fossil fuel in the heavy-duty truck industry, and some cities and states are pursuing requirements for using alternative engine technology, such as electric powered vehicles, rather than natural gas or diesel vehicles. This is resulting in regulatory actions to advance the adoption of zero-emission vehicles and a gradual shift away from tax incentives and grants for natural gas trucks. Although current options for heavy-duty electric vehicles lack sufficient range and proven experience for our operations, we are proactively engaging in pilots of electric powered heavy-duty vehicles and anticipate that we could redirect future planned capital investments in our fleet toward these assets when the vehicles prove economically and operationally viable. Should regulation mandate an accelerated transition to electric powered vehicles, our cost to acquire vehicles needed to service our customers could increase, capital investment required to establish sufficient charging infrastructure could be significant and investments we have made in an industry-leading natural gas fleet and infrastructure could be impaired.

Renewable Energy Production

We have announced a sustainability growth strategy that includes significant planned investments in our renewable energy business. We have invested, and continue to invest, in facilities to capture methane produced from the Company’s landfills and convert it into RNG and electricity. RNG produced from our landfills, as well as dairy biogas, constitute a significant source of fuel for our natural gas collection vehicles. Following enactment of the IRA, which included expanded tax credits for the construction of new RNG production and renewable electricity generation facilities, we expect to accelerate our investments in these areas. The Company’s investment in renewable energy production also is guided by the EPA’s implementation of the RFS program, which promotes the production and use of renewable transportation fuels. Many of our facilities are the EPA-registered producers of transportation fuel making compressed and liquefied RNG from landfill biogas, which qualifies as a cellulosic biofuel under the RFS program. Oil refiners and importers are required through the RFS program to blend specified volumes of various categories of renewable transportation fuels with gasoline or buy credits, referred to as RINs, from renewable fuel producers. Notably, market uncertainty related to the EPA’s implementation of the RFS program in recent years has led to volatility in the price of RINs.

The EPA issued a highly anticipated proposed rule in late 2022 establishing biofuel blending volumes under the RFS program for compliance years 2023 through 2025. The proposed rule reflects the outsized role of biogas under the program, delivers on many reforms that benefit the solid waste sector, recognizes the continued growth of the market for RNG in vehicle applications, and incentivizes the generation of electricity from landfill biogas for use in fueling electric vehicles. We will continue to advocate for the current administration to implement policies that reduce the potential for volatility in the RINs market and ensure long-term stability for renewable transportation fuels, as changes in the RFS market or the

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structure of the RFS program can and has impacted the financial performance of the facilities constructed to capture and treat the gas.

Environmental Justice

Federal, state, and local governments are increasingly adopting requirements for environmental justice reviews as part of certain permitting decisions. These policies generally require permitting agencies to give heightened attention to the potential for projects to disproportionately impact low-income and minority communities. Our Company supports policies seeking to advance high standards of environmental performance and the fair treatment of people of all races, cultures, and incomes, and we continue to proactively engage with local communities. We are actively monitoring recent regulatory developments in this area as additional conditions imposed on permitting decisions could increase the time and cost involved to pursue and maintain necessary permits.

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Item 1A. Risk Factors.

In an effort to keep our stockholders and the public informed about our business, we may make “forward-looking statements.” Forward-looking statements are often identified by the words, “will,” “may,” “should,” “continue,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “expect,” “plan,” “forecast,” “project,” “estimate,” “intend” and words of a similar nature and generally include statements regarding:

future results of operations, including revenues, earnings or cash flows;
plans and objectives for the future;
projections, estimates or assumptions relating to our operational or financial performance, including anticipated impacts of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022;
projections, estimates or assumptions relating to our capital expenditures; or
our opinions, views or beliefs about the effects of current or future events, circumstances or performance.

You should view these statements with caution. These statements are not guarantees of future performance, circumstances or events. They are based on facts and circumstances known to us as of the date the statements are made. The following discussion should be read together with the Consolidated Financial Statements and the notes thereto. Outlined below are some of the risks that we believe could affect our business and financial statements for 2023 and beyond and could cause actual results to be materially different from those set forth in forward-looking statements made by the Company. In addition to the following risks, there may be additional risks and uncertainties that adversely affect our business, performance, or financial condition in the future that are not presently known or are not currently believed to be material. We assume no obligation to update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of future events, circumstances or developments or otherwise.

Strategy and Operational Risks

If we fail to implement our business strategy, our financial performance and our growth could be materially and adversely affected.

Our future financial performance and success are dependent in large part upon our ability to implement our business strategy successfully. Implementation of our strategy will require effective management of our operational, financial and human resources and will place significant demands on those resources. See Item 1. Business for more information on our business strategy.

There are risks involved in pursuing our strategy, including the following:

Our employees, customers or investors may not embrace and support our strategy.
We may not be able to hire or retain the personnel necessary to manage our strategy effectively.
A key element of our strategy is yield management through focus on price leadership, which has presented challenges to keep existing business and win new business at reasonable returns. We have also continued our environmental fee, fuel surcharge and regulatory recovery fee to offset costs. The loss of volumes as a result of price increases and our unwillingness to pursue lower margin volumes may negatively affect our cash flows or results of operations. Additionally, we have in the past and may in the future face purported class action lawsuits related to our customer service agreements, prices and fees.
We may be unsuccessful in implementing our technology-led automation and optimization strategy and other improvements to operational efficiency and such efforts may not yield the intended result.
We may not be able to maintain cost savings achieved through our automation and optimization efforts, due to inflationary cost pressure or otherwise.
Strategic decisions with respect to our asset portfolio may result in impairments to our assets. See Item 1A. Risk Factors — We may record material charges against our earnings due to impairments to our assets.
Our ability to make strategic acquisitions depends on our ability to identify desirable acquisition targets, negotiate advantageous transactions despite competition for such opportunities, fund such acquisitions on favorable terms, obtain regulatory approvals and realize the benefits we expect from those transactions.
Acquisitions, investments and/or new service offerings or lines of business may not increase our earnings in the timeframe anticipated, or at all, due to difficulties operating in new markets or providing new service offerings or lines of business, failure of technologies to perform as expected, failure to operate within budget, integration

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issues, or regulatory issues and compliance costs, among others, and we may experience issues successfully integrating acquisitions into our internal controls, operations, and/or accounting systems.
Integration of acquisitions and/or new services offerings or lines of business could increase our exposure to the risk of inadvertent noncompliance with applicable laws and regulations, and any expansion into markets outside of North America would result in our business being subject to new laws and regulatory regimes, resulting in greater exposure to risk of inadvertent noncompliance and additional compliance costs.
Liabilities associated with acquisitions, including ones that may exist only because of past operations of an acquired business, may prove to be more difficult or costly to address than anticipated, and businesses or assets we acquire may have undisclosed liabilities, despite our efforts to minimize exposure to such risks through due diligence and other measures.
Execution of our strategy, including growth through acquisitions and our planned expansion of our recycling and renewable energy businesses, may cause us to incur substantial additional indebtedness, which may divert capital away from our traditional business operations and other financial plans.
Supply chain disruptions or delays could detrimentally impact the execution timeline for our planned expansion of our recycling and renewable energy businesses.
We continue to seek to divest underperforming and non-strategic assets if we cannot improve their profitability. We may not be able to successfully negotiate the divestiture of underperforming and non-strategic operations, which could result in asset impairments or the continued operation of low-margin businesses.

In addition to the risks set forth above, implementation of our business strategy could also be affected by other factors beyond our control, such as increased competition, legal developments, government regulation, general economic conditions, including slower growth or recession, increased operating costs or expenses, subcontractor costs and availability and changes in industry trends. We may decide to alter or discontinue certain aspects of our business strategy at any time. If we are not able to implement our business strategy successfully, our long-term growth and profitability may be adversely affected. Even if we are able to implement some or all of the initiatives of our business strategy successfully, our operating results may not improve to the extent we anticipate, or at all.

Our operations must comply with extensive existing regulations, and changes in regulations and/or enforcement of regulations can restrict or alter our operations, increase our operating costs, increase our tax rate, or require us to make additional capital expenditures.

Stringent government regulations at the federal, state, provincial and local level in the U.S. and Canada have a substantial impact on our operations, and compliance with such regulations is costly. Many complex laws, rules, orders and interpretations govern environmental protection, health, safety, land use, zoning, transportation and related matters. Among other things, governmental regulations and enforcement actions restrict our operations at times and may adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows by imposing conditions such as:

limitations on siting and constructing new waste disposal, transfer, recycling or processing facilities or on expanding existing facilities;
limitations, regulations or levies on collection and disposal prices, rates and volumes;
limitations, bans, taxes or charges on disposal or transportation of out-of-state waste or certain categories of waste;
mandates regarding the management of solid waste and other materials, including requirements to recycle, divert or otherwise process certain waste, recycling and other streams; or
limitations or restrictions on the recycling, processing or transformation of waste, recycling and other streams.

Regulations affecting the siting, design and closure of landfills require us, at times, to undertake investigatory or remedial activities, curtail operations or close landfills temporarily or permanently. We have significant financial obligations relating to final capping, closure, post-closure and environmental remediation at our existing landfills and we establish accruals for these estimated costs. Expenditures could be accelerated or materially exceed our accruals due to earlier than expected closure of landfills; the types of waste collected and manner in which it is transported and disposed of, including actions taken in the past by companies we have acquired or third-party landfill operators; environmental regulatory changes; new information about waste types previously collected, such as PFAS or other emerging contaminates and other reasons.

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Additionally, regulations establishing extended producer responsibility (“EPR”) are being considered or implemented in many places around the world, including in the U.S. and Canada. EPR regulations are designed to place either partial or total responsibility on producers to fund the post-use life cycle of the products they create. Along with the funding responsibility, producers may be required to undertake additional responsibilities, such as taking over management of local recycling programs by taking back their products from end users or managing the collection operations and recycling processing infrastructure. There is no federal law establishing EPR in the U.S. or Canada; however, federal, state, provincial and local governments could, and in several cases have, taken steps to implement EPR regulations for packaging, including traditional recyclables such as cardboard, bottles and cans. If wide-ranging EPR regulations were adopted, they could significantly impact the waste and recycling streams we manage and how we operate our business, including contract terms and pricing. A significant reduction in the waste, recycling and other streams we manage could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

Our business is subject to operational and safety risks, including the risk of personal injury to employees and others.

Providing environmental and waste management services, including constructing and operating landfills, transfer stations, material recovery facilities (“MRFs”) and other disposal facilities, and landfill gas-to-energy facilities, involves risks such as truck accidents, equipment defects, malfunctions and failures, and improper use of dangerous equipment. Additionally, we closely monitor and manage landfills to minimize the risk of waste mass instability, releases of hazardous materials, and odors that are sometimes triggered by weather or natural disasters. There are also risks presented by the potential for subsurface heat reactions causing elevated landfill temperatures and increased production of leachate, landfill gas and odors. We also build and operate natural gas fueling stations, some of which also serve the public or third parties. Operation of fueling stations and landfill gas collection and control systems, as well as operation of heavy machinery and management of flammable materials at our MRFs and transfer stations, involves additional risks of fire and explosion. Any of these risks could potentially result in injury or death of employees and others, a need to shut down or reduce operation of facilities, increased operating expense and exposure to liability for pollution and other environmental damage, and property damage or destruction.

While we seek to minimize our exposure to such risks through comprehensive training, compliance and response and recovery programs, as well as vehicle and equipment maintenance programs, if we were to incur substantial liabilities in excess of any applicable insurance, our business, results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected. Any such incidents could also tarnish our reputation and reduce the value of our brand. Additionally, a major operational failure, even if suffered by a competitor, may bring enhanced scrutiny and regulation of our industry, with a corresponding increase in operating expense.

We may be unable to obtain or maintain required permits or expand existing permitted capacity at our landfills, due to land scarcity, public opposition or otherwise, which can require us to identify disposal alternatives, resulting in decreased revenue and increased costs.

Our ability to meet our financial and operating objectives depends in part on our ability to obtain and maintain the permits necessary to operate landfill sites and transfer stations. Permits to build, operate and expand solid waste management facilities, including landfills and transfer stations, have become more difficult and expensive to obtain and maintain. Permits often take years to obtain as a result of numerous hearings and compliance requirements with regard to zoning, environmental and other regulations. These permits are also often subject to resistance from citizen or other groups and other political pressures. Local communities and citizen groups, adjacent landowners or governmental agencies may oppose the issuance of a permit or approval we may need, allege violations of the permits under which we currently operate or laws or regulations to which we are subjected, or seek to impose liability on us for alleged environmental damage. Such actions could also impact our ability to do business by causing reputational harm. Federal, state and local governments are also increasingly adopting requirements for environmental justice reviews as part of certain permitting decisions. These policies generally require permitting agencies to give heightened attention to the potential for projects to disproportionately impact low-income and minority communities. Responding to permit challenges has, at times, increased our costs and extended the time associated with establishing new facilities and expanding existing facilities. In addition, failure to receive regulatory and zoning approval, as well as land scarcity, particularly in densely populated areas, may prohibit us from establishing new facilities or expanding existing facilities. Diminishing disposal capacity, typically in proximity to major metropolitan areas, sometimes requires us to transport waste by rail or find alternative disposal solutions in affected areas, increasing our operating costs. Our failure to obtain the required permits and necessary capacity expansion to operate our landfills could have a material adverse impact on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

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If we are unable to attract, hire or retain key team members and a high-quality workforce, or if our succession planning does not develop an adequate pipeline of future leaders, it could disrupt our business, jeopardize our strategic priorities and result in increased costs, negatively impacting our results of operations.

Our operations require us to attract, hire, develop and retain a high-quality workforce to provide a superior customer experience. This includes key individuals in leadership and specialty roles, as well as a very large number of drivers, technicians and other front-line and back-office team members necessary to provide our environmental services. We experience significant competition to hire and retain individuals for certain front-line positions, such as commercial truck drivers, from within and outside our industry. (Also see Item 1A. Risk Factors — Market disruption, including labor shortages and supply chain constraints, and macroeconomic pressures, including inflation, have adversely impacted our business and results of operations.) Additionally, the market for employees that serve on our digital team is highly competitive. As we have accelerated our investments in our technology-led automation and optimization strategy, it is increasingly important that we are able to attract and retain employees with the skills and expertise necessary to implement and manage these projects. We also compete to attract skilled business leaders, and our own key team members are sought after by our competitors and other companies. We make significant investments, and engage in extensive internal succession planning, to provide us with a robust pipeline of future leaders. If we are not able to attract, hire, develop and retain a high-quality workforce with the necessary skills and expertise, as well as key leaders, or if we experience significant employee turnover, it can result in business and strategic disruption, increased costs, and loss of institutional knowledge, which could negatively impact our results of operations.

Our business depends on our reputation and the value of our brand.

We believe we have developed a reputation for high-quality service, reliability and social and environmental responsibility, and we believe our brand symbolizes these attributes. The WM brand name, trademarks and logos and our reputation are powerful sales and marketing tools, and we devote significant resources to promoting and protecting them. Adverse publicity, whether or not justified, relating to activities by our operations, employees or agents, or challenges to our assertions of social and environmental responsibility, could tarnish our reputation and reduce the value of our brand. Damage to our reputation could reduce demand for our services and potentially have an adverse effect on our financial condition, liquidity and results of operations, as well as require additional resources to rebuild our reputation and restore the value of our brand.

We have made significant investments in an extensive natural gas truck fleet, which makes us partially dependent on the availability of natural gas and fueling infrastructure and vulnerable to natural gas prices, and requirements to transition to other vehicle types could impair these investments.

We operate a large fleet of natural gas vehicles, and we plan to continue to invest in these assets for our collection fleet. However, natural gas fueling infrastructure is not yet broadly available in the U.S. and Canada; as a result, we have constructed and operate natural gas fueling stations, some of which also serve the public or pre-approved third parties. It will remain necessary for us to invest capital in fueling infrastructure in order to power our natural gas fleet. Concerns have been raised about the potential for emissions from fueling infrastructure that serve natural gas-fueled vehicles. New regulation of, or restrictions on, natural gas fueling infrastructure or reductions in associated tax incentives could increase our operating costs. Additionally, fluctuations in the price and supply of natural gas could substantially increase our operating expenses; a reduction in the existing cost differential between natural gas and diesel fuel could materially reduce the benefits we anticipate from our investment in natural gas vehicles. Further, our fuel surcharge program is currently indexed to diesel fuel prices, and price fluctuations for natural gas may not effectively be recovered by this program.

There is increasing pressure to reduce the use of fossil fuel in the heavy-duty truck industry, and some cities and states are pursuing requirements for using alternative engine technology, such as electric powered vehicles, rather than natural gas or diesel vehicles. This is resulting in regulatory actions to advance the adoption of zero-emission vehicles and a gradual shift away from tax incentives and grants for natural gas trucks. Although current options for heavy-duty electric vehicles lack sufficient range and proven experience for our operations, we are proactively engaging in pilots of electric powered heavy-duty vehicles and anticipate that we could redirect future planned capital investments in our fleet toward these assets when the vehicles prove economically and operationally viable. Should regulation mandate an accelerated transition to electric powered vehicles, our cost to acquire vehicles needed to service our customers could increase, capital investment required to establish sufficient charging infrastructure could be significant and investments we have made in an industry-leading natural gas fleet and infrastructure could be impaired.

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Increases in our labor costs as a result of labor unions organizing, changes in regulations related to labor unions or increases in employee minimum wages, could adversely affect our future results.

Labor unions continually attempt to organize our employees, and these efforts will likely continue in the future. Certain groups of our employees are currently represented by unions, and we have negotiated collective bargaining agreements with these unions. Additional groups of employees may seek union representation in the future, and, if successful, would enhance organized labor’s leverage to obtain higher than expected wage and benefits costs and resist the introduction of new technology and other initiatives, which can result in increased operating expenses and lower net income. If we are unable to negotiate acceptable collective bargaining agreements, our operating expenses could increase significantly as a result of work stoppages, including strikes. Additionally, a large portion of our workforce are hourly personnel, and many of these individuals, particularly in our recycling business, are paid at rates related to federal and state minimum wages. Increases in minimum wage rates, or the enactment of new wage-related legislation, may significantly increase our labor costs. Any of these matters could adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

The seasonal nature of our business, severe weather events resulting from climate change and event driven special projects cause our results to fluctuate, and prior performance may not be indicative of our future results.

Our operating revenues tend to be somewhat higher in summer months, primarily due to the higher construction and demolition waste volumes. The volumes of industrial and residential waste in certain regions where we operate also tend to increase during the summer months. Our second and third quarter revenues and results of operations typically reflect these seasonal trends.

Service or operational disruptions caused by severe storms, extended periods of inclement weather or climate events can significantly affect the operating results of the geographic areas affected. Extreme weather events may also lead to supply chain disruption and delayed project development, or disruption of our customers’ businesses, reducing the amount of waste generated by their operations.

On the other hand, certain destructive weather and climate conditions, such as wildfires in the Western U.S. and hurricanes that most often impact our operations in the Southern and Eastern U.S. during the second half of the year, can increase our revenues in the geographic areas affected as a result of the waste volumes generated by these events. While weather-related and other event-driven special projects can boost revenues through additional work for a limited time, due to significant start-up costs and other factors, such revenue can generate earnings at comparatively lower margins.

For these and other reasons, operating results in any period may not be indicative of operating results for any other period. Our stock price may be negatively impacted by interim variations in our results.

We may not be able to achieve our sustainability and other environmental, social and governance ("ESG")-related goals, including reduction of our greenhouse gas ("GHG") emissions, or execute on our sustainability-related growth strategy and initiatives, within planned timelines, and expectations and regulations relating to ESG performance and disclosure can result in increased costs, risk of noncompliance, and related adverse effects.

Consistent with our Company’s long-standing commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship, we have set goals to reduce our GHG emissions and announced other ESG-related goals and initiatives. We have also announced a sustainability growth strategy that includes significant planned investments in our recycling and renewable energy businesses. Our ability to achieve these goals and successfully execute our sustainability growth strategy may be impacted by the numerous risks and uncertainties associated with our business and the environmental services industry, including financial and operating performance, availability of technology and financing, changes in regulation, commodity price fluctuation and general economic conditions. (Also see Item 1A. Risk FactorsOur revenues, earnings and cash flows will fluctuate based on changes in commodity prices, and commodity prices for recyclable materials are particularly susceptible to volatility based on macroeconomic conditions and regulations that affect our ability to export products and — We have announced a sustainability growth strategy that includes significant planned investments in our renewable energy businesses; changes to federal and state renewable fuel policies could affect our financial performance, and such investments may not yield the results anticipated.)

Some or all of the expected benefits of our sustainability-related investments and initiatives may not occur within the anticipated time periods, or may cost more to achieve than anticipated. An inability to develop, obtain, or scale necessary technology and innovations, and challenges arising from the availability or cost of materials and infrastructure associated

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with our sustainability investments and initiatives, could impede our ability to execute on our plans and achieve our goals. Actions we take to achieve these goals and implement our sustainability growth strategy and initiatives, including development and implementation of enhanced technology and reporting systems, will require increased capital expenditures and management focus, which may divert investment and management focus away from other aspects of our business operations.

There is increasing governmental and social pressure on companies to develop and implement robust ESG policies, practices, and disclosures. The nature, scope and complexity of matters that our Company must assess and report are expanding due to growing mandatory and voluntary reporting on climate-related risks and other topics, such as water usage, waste production, labor, human capital, environmental justice, cybersecurity and privacy, and risk oversight. Our industry faces challenges from these and other rapidly changing laws, regulations, policies and related interpretations, as well as the risk of enforcement actions by governmental and regulatory agencies for noncompliance. Significant expenditures and commitment of time by management, employees and consultants is involved in developing, implementing and overseeing policies, practices, additional disclosures and internal controls related to ESG risk and performance. An inability to implement such policies, practices, and internal controls and maintain compliance with laws and regulations, or a perception among stakeholders that our ESG disclosures and sustainability goals are insufficient or our goals are unattainable, could harm our reputation and competitive position and negatively impact our stock price and business performance.

External Economic and Industry Risks

The COVID-19 global pandemic disrupted social and commercial activity and financial markets throughout North America; a significant resurgence or new variant of the COVID-19 virus, or other similar pandemic conditions, may have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

The COVID-19 pandemic and related protective measures had a significant adverse impact on many sectors of the economy, including environmental services. The initial business closures and negative impact on general economic conditions resulted in volume declines and reductions in customers’ waste service needs, which negatively impacted our results of operations and cash flows. In particular, COVID-19 caused decreases in volumes in higher margin businesses, impacting key financial metrics.

A significant future resurgence in transmission of COVID-19, a significant new virus variant, or other pandemic conditions that result in business closures and social restrictions could adversely impact our volumes and costs. If such conditions were to deepen, resulting in a broad-based economic slow-down, it may have a material adverse impact on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows and hinder our ability to grow our business and execute our business strategy. Additionally, if a large portion of our employee base were to become ill, it could impact our ability to provide timely and reliable service. Governmental regulation in response to pandemic conditions, including any vaccination requirements, could result in our inability to perform or compete for certain contracts, as well as significant cost, operational disruption, attrition and difficulty securing future labor needs.

Market disruption, including labor shortages and supply chain constraints, and macroeconomic pressures, including inflation, have adversely impacted our business and results of operations.

Macroeconomic pressures, including inflation and rising interest rates, and market disruption resulting in labor market, supply chain and transportation constraints are continuing. Significant global supply chain disruption and the heightened pace of inflation have reduced availability and increased costs for the goods and services we purchase, with a particular impact on our repair and maintenance costs. Supply chain constraints have also caused delayed delivery of fleet, steel containers and other purchases. Aspects of our business rely on third-party transportation providers, and such services have become more limited and expensive. Additionally, we expect continued significant headwinds from commodity prices for recycled material into 2023, resulting from the slowdown in the global economy, which reduced retail demand and the corresponding need for cardboard packaging to ship retail goods. We are also currently experiencing margin pressures from commodity-driven business impacts, particularly from higher fuel prices. The constrained labor market has resulted in increased costs for wage adjustments, overtime hours and training new hires. If we are not able to overcome limitations on labor availability, it could materially impact our ability to service our customers and our financial results. Geopolitical conflict and the resulting international response, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, have also exacerbated market disruption, leading to volatility in commodity prices, impacts on the availability and cost of energy, and vendor and supplier disruptions across the global supply chain.

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Accelerated and pronounced economic pressures, such as the continuing inflationary cost pressure on labor and the goods and services we rely upon to deliver service to our customers, have had and continue to have a significant impact on our cost structure and capital expenditures. Significant components of our operating expenses vary directly as we experience changes in revenue due to volume and a heightened pace of inflation, and we may not be able to dynamically manage our cost structure in response to such changes. A significant portion of our revenue is tied to a price escalation index with a lookback provision, resulting in a timing lag in our ability to recover increased costs under those contracts during periods of rapid inflation. Separately, for many of our customers we provide services under multi-year contracts that can restrict our ability to increase prices and the timing of such increases. Our overall strategic pricing efforts are focused on recovering as much of the inflationary cost increases we experience in our business as possible by increasing our average unit rate, but such efforts may not be successful for various reasons including the pace of inflation, operating cost inefficiencies, contractual limitations, and market responses. The inability to adequately increase prices to offset increased costs and inflationary pressures, or otherwise mitigate the impact of these macroeconomic conditions and market disruptions on our business, will increase our costs of doing business and reduce our margins.

The extent and duration of the impact of these labor market, supply chain, transportation and commodity-price challenges are subject to numerous external factors beyond our control, including broader macroeconomic conditions; recessionary fears and/or an economic recession; size, location, and qualifications of the labor pool; wage and price structures; adoption of new or revised regulations; future resurgence of COVID-19 or other pandemic conditions and restrictions; geopolitical conflicts and responses; and supply and demand for recycled materials. If such impacts are prolonged and substantial, they could have a material negative effect on our results of operations.

The environmental services industry is highly competitive, and if we cannot successfully compete in the marketplace, our business, financial condition and operating results may be materially adversely affected.

We encounter intense competition from governmental, quasi-governmental and private sources in all aspects of our operations. We principally compete with large national waste management companies, counties and municipalities that maintain their own waste collection and disposal or recycling operations and regional and local companies of varying sizes and financial resources. The industry also includes companies that specialize in certain discrete areas of waste management, operators of alternative disposal facilities, companies that seek to use parts of the waste stream as feedstock for renewable energy and other by-products, and waste brokers that rely upon haulers in local markets to address customer needs. In recent years, the industry has seen some additional consolidation, though the industry remains intensely competitive. Counties and municipalities may have financial competitive advantages because tax revenues are available to them and tax-exempt financing is more readily available to them. Also, such governmental units may attempt to impose flow control or other restrictions that would give them a competitive advantage. In addition, some of our competitors may have lower financial expectations, allowing them to reduce their prices to expand sales volume or to win competitively-bid contracts, including large national accounts and exclusive franchise arrangements with municipalities. When this happens, we may lose customers and be unable to execute our pricing strategy, resulting in a negative impact to our revenue growth from yield on base business.

Our revenues, earnings and cash flows will fluctuate based on changes in commodity prices, and commodity prices for recyclable materials are particularly susceptible to volatility based on macroeconomic conditions and regulations that affect our ability to export products.

Enforcement or implementation of foreign and domestic regulations can affect our ability to export products. In recent years, new and updated international regulations affecting, and in some cases restricting, the international flow of certain recyclables have led to a reduction in export activity for such recyclables, as well as higher quality requirements and higher processing costs. COVID-19 placed additional financial stress on recyclers and municipalities, resulting in some recycling programs being paused or eliminated. These changes have led to a number of states and provinces considering and several implementing EPR regulations.

Prices and demand for recyclables fluctuate. While demand for recyclables generally continues to trend upwards, during the second half of 2022, we saw significant declines in commodity prices for recycled material, and we expect significant commodity price headwinds to continue into 2023, resulting from the slowdown in the global economy, which reduced retail demand and the corresponding need for cardboard packaging to ship retail goods. Recycling revenues attributable to yield increased $19 million and $537 million in 2022 and 2021, respectively, as compared with the prior year periods primarily from higher market prices for recycling commodities in 2021 and the first half of 2022, before the significant downturn in the second half of 2022.

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We have announced a sustainability growth strategy that includes significant planned investments in our recycling business to increase automation and reduce labor dependency. Such investments are also targeted at addressing increases in quality requirements for commodities. These investments increase our exposure to commodity price fluctuations. Additionally, future regulation, tariffs, international trade policies or other initiatives, including regulations addressing climate change or GHG emissions, may impact supply and demand of material, or increase operating costs, which could impact the profitability of our recycling operations. If the Company does not effectively manage changes in demand and commodity prices for recycling materials, or if we do not successfully execute our sustainability growth strategy, our investments in recycling infrastructure and technology may not yield the results anticipated.

Fluctuation in energy prices also affects our business, including recycling of plastics manufactured from petroleum products. We are currently experiencing commodity-price driven impacts from higher fuel costs. We have increased our investment in landfill gas-to-energy facilities and the size of our landfill gas recovery operations. Significant variations in the price of biogas, electricity and other energy-related products that are marketed and sold by our landfill gas recovery operations can result in a corresponding significant impact to our revenue from yield from such operations. Additionally, we provide specialized disposal services for oil and gas exploration and production operations through our energy services business. Demand for these services decreases when drilling activity slows due to depressed oil and gas prices, and our Company and the companies for which we provide these services could face increased regulation and corresponding costs as a result of regulations related to climate change or other environmental concerns. Any of the commodity prices to which we are subject may fluctuate substantially and without notice in the future.

Increasing customer preference for alternatives to landfill disposal and bans on certain types of waste could reduce our landfill volumes and cause our revenues and operating results to decline.

Our customers are increasingly diverting waste to alternatives to landfill disposal, such as recycling and composting, while also working to reduce the amount of waste they generate. In addition, many state and local governments mandate diversion, recycling and waste reduction at the source and prohibit the disposal of certain types of materials at landfills, such as recyclables (cardboard, bottles and cans), yard waste, food waste and electronics. Where organic waste is not banned from disposal in landfills, some large customers such as grocery stores and restaurants are choosing to divert their organic waste from landfills. Reducing landfilled organic waste also reduces the amount of landfill gas produced from our landfills, adversely impacting our landfill gas-to-energy facilities. Zero-waste goals (sending no waste to the landfill) have been set by many of the U.S. and Canada’s largest companies. Although such mandates and initiatives help to protect our environment, these developments reduce the volume of waste going to our landfills, which may affect the prices that we can charge for landfill disposal. Our landfills currently provide our highest income from operations margins. If we are not successful in expanding our service offerings, growing lines of businesses to service waste streams that do not go to landfills, and providing alternative services for customers that wish to reduce waste entirely, then our revenues and operating results may decline. Additionally, despite the development of new service offerings and lines of business, it is possible that our revenues and our income from operations margins could be negatively affected due to disposal alternatives.

With a heightened awareness of the global problems caused by plastic waste in the environment, Canada and an increasing number of cities and states across the U.S. have passed ordinances banning certain types of plastics from sale or use. The most common materials banned include plastic bags and straws, polystyrene plastic and some types of single use packaging. These bans have increased pressure by manufacturers on our recycling facilities to accept a broader array of materials in curbside recycling and composting programs to alleviate public pressures to ban the sale of those materials. However, there are currently no or limited viable end markets for recycling many of these materials, and inclusion of such materials in our recycling stream increases contamination and operating costs that can negatively affect the results of our recycling operations.

General economic conditions, such as a broad-based economic recession, can directly and adversely affect revenues for environmental services and our income from operations margins.

Our business is directly affected by changes in national and general economic factors that are outside of our control, including consumer confidence, inflation, interest rates and access to capital markets. Many in the financial industry have predicted that the North American economy is poised to enter, or has entered, into a period of economic recession. A weak economy generally results in decreased consumer spending and decreases in volumes of waste generated, which negatively impacts the ability to grow through new business or service upgrades, and may result in customer turnover and reduction in customers’ waste service needs. Consumer uncertainty and the loss of consumer confidence may also reduce the number

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and variety of services requested by customers. Additionally, a weak market for consumer goods can significantly decrease demand by paper mills for recycled corrugated cardboard used in packaging; such as was seen in the second half of 2022, negatively impacting commodity prices and our operating income and cash flows.

A decrease in waste volumes generated results in an increase in competitive pricing pressure; such economic conditions may also interfere with our ability to implement our pricing strategy. Many of our contracts have price adjustment provisions that are tied to an index such as the Consumer Price Index, and our costs may increase more than the increase, if any, in the Consumer Price Index. This is partially due to our relatively high fixed-cost structure; we may not be able to dynamically manage our cost structure in response to shifting volume levels and vendor costs, and our cost structure may not correlate with the Consumer Price Index or the waste industry. An economic recession or other economic weakness is likely to negatively impact our revenues and margins.

Weakness in the economy may expose us to credit risk of governmental entities and municipalities and other major customers, which could negatively impact our financial results.

We provide service to a number of governmental entities, municipalities, and large national accounts. During periods of economic weakness, governmental entities and municipalities can suffer significant financial difficulties, due in part to reduced tax revenue and/or high cost structures. During these periods, such entities, and our non-governmental customers, could be unable to pay amounts owed to us or renew contracts with us at previous or increased rates.

Purchasers of our recycling commodities can be particularly vulnerable to financial difficulties in times of commodity price volatility. The inability of our customers to pay us in a timely manner or to pay increased rates, particularly large national accounts, could negatively affect our operating results.

In addition, the financial difficulties of municipalities could result in a decline in investors’ demand for municipal bonds and a correlating increase in interest rates. As of December 31, 2022, we had $725 million of tax-exempt bonds with term interest rate periods that expire within the next 12 months, which is prior to their scheduled maturities. If market dynamics resulted in repricing of our tax-exempt bonds at significantly higher interest rates, we would incur increased interest expenses that may negatively affect our operating results and cash flows.

The Company’s effective tax rate and tax liability could materially change as a result of the adoption of new tax legislation and other factors.

Predominantly all of the Company’s revenues are generated in the U.S., and changes in U.S. tax laws could materially impact our effective tax rate, financial condition and results of operations. The U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, enacted on December 22, 2017 (the “Tax Act”), had a significant impact on our effective tax rate, cash tax expenses and net deferred tax liabilities. The Tax Act reduced the U.S. corporate statutory tax rate and eliminated or limited the deduction of several expenses that were previously deductible, among other things. However, future changes in tax laws could reverse the impacts of the Tax Act and if ultimately enacted into law, such an increase could materially impact our tax provision, cash tax liability, effective tax rate and net deferred tax liabilities.

Significant shortages in diesel fuel supply or increases in diesel fuel prices will increase our operating expenses.

The price and supply of diesel fuel can fluctuate significantly based on international, political and economic circumstances, as well as other factors outside our control, such as actions by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (“OPEC”) and other oil and gas producers, regional production patterns, weather conditions and environmental concerns. We need diesel fuel to run a significant portion of our collection and transfer trucks and our equipment used in our landfill operations. Fuel supply shortages and price increases could substantially increase our operating expenses. We have in place a fuel surcharge program, designed to offset increased fuel expenses; however, we may not be able to pass through all of our increased costs and some customers’ contracts prohibit any pass-through of the increased costs. Additionally, lawsuits have challenged our fuel and environmental charges included on our invoices. Regardless of any offsetting surcharge programs, increased operating costs due to higher diesel fuel prices will decrease our income from operations margins.

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Technology and Information Security Risks

Developments in technology could trigger a fundamental change in the waste management industry, as waste streams are increasingly viewed as a resource, which may adversely impact volumes at our landfills and our profitability.

Our Company and others have recognized the value of the traditional waste stream as a potential resource. Research and development activities are on-going to provide disposal alternatives that maximize the value of waste, including using waste as a source for renewable energy and other valuable by-products. We and many other companies are investing in these technologies. It is possible that such investments and technological advancements may reduce the cost of waste disposal or the value of landfill gas recovery to a level below our costs and may reduce the demand for landfill space. As a result, our revenues and margins could be adversely affected due to advancements in disposal alternatives.

If we are not able to develop new service offerings and protect intellectual property or if a competitor develops or obtains exclusive rights to a breakthrough technology, our financial results may suffer.

Our existing and proposed service offerings to customers require that we invest in, develop or license, and protect new technologies. Our Company is increasingly focusing on new technologies that automate and innovate our operations, improve the customer experience and provide alternatives to traditional disposal and maximize the resource value of waste. We are continuing our multi-year commitment to strategic investments in technology that prioritize reduction of labor dependency for certain high-turnover jobs, further digitalize our customer self-service and implement technologies to further enhance the safety, reliability and efficiency of our collection operations. Research, development and implementation of enhanced technology often requires significant spending that may divert capital investment away from our traditional business operations. We may experience difficulties or delays in the research, development, production and/or marketing of new products and services or implementation of technologies in which we have invested or acquired, which may negatively impact our operating results and prevent us from recouping or realizing a return on these investments and acquisitions. Further, protecting our intellectual property rights and combating unlicensed copying and use of intellectual property is difficult, and inability to obtain or protect new technologies could impact our services to customers and development of new revenue sources. If a competitor develops or obtains exclusive rights to a “breakthrough technology” that provides a revolutionary change in traditional waste management, or if we have inferior intellectual property to our competitors, our financial results may suffer.

We are increasingly dependent on technology in our operations and if our technology fails, our business could be adversely affected.

We may experience problems with the operation of our current information technology systems or the technology systems of third parties on which we rely, as well as the development and deployment of new information technology systems, that could adversely affect, or even temporarily disrupt, all or a portion of our operations until resolved. Inabilities and delays in implementing new systems can also affect our ability to realize projected cost savings or other benefits. Significant system failures could impede our ability to timely collect and report financial results in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. In 2022, we implemented a new general ledger accounting system, complementary finance enterprise resource planning system and a human capital management system. These systems increase our utilization of, and dependance on, third-party “cloud” computing services in connection with our business operations. Employee work-from-home arrangements prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic increased various technology risks, including potential exposure to cyber incidents, loss of data, fraud, internal control challenges and other disruptions as a consequence of more employees accessing Company systems and information remotely in the course of their ordinary work.

Significant cybersecurity incidents negatively impact our business and our relationships with customers, vendors and employees and expose us to increased liability.

Substantially all aspects of our business operations rely on digital technology. We use computers, mobile devices, social networking and other online platforms to connect with our employees, customers, and vendors. These uses give rise to cybersecurity risks, including security breach, espionage, system disruption, theft and inadvertent, unauthorized access and/or release of information. Our business necessitates the storage and transmission of numerous classes of sensitive and/or confidential information and intellectual property, including customers’ personal information, private and sensitive personal information about employees, and financial and strategic information about the Company and its business partners. In addition to our own safeguarding efforts, we also rely on a Payment Card Industry compliant third party to protect our customers’ credit card information.

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We are regularly the target of attempted cyber intrusions, and we anticipate continuing to be subject to such attempts as cyber intrusions become increasingly sophisticated and more difficult to predict and protect against. Geopolitical conflict, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has also increased the risk of cyber incidents. As such, we commit substantial resources to continuously monitor and further develop our networks and infrastructure to prevent, detect, and address the risk of unauthorized access, misuse, computer viruses and other events. Our security programs and measures do not prevent all intrusions. Cyber intrusions require a significant amount of time and effort to assess and remedy, and our incident response efforts may not be effective in all cases. Although we believe that the probability of occurrence of a significant cybersecurity incident is less than likely, if such an incident were to occur, the impact on the Company could be substantial. The Company experienced a cyber intrusion in the first quarter of 2021 that was promptly detected, and the third-party software vulnerability was quickly remediated. There was no impact to the Company’s operations, services or financial statements. A subsidiary of WMI provided notice to potentially affected individuals, U.S. state and federal regulators, and Canadian regulators. As a result of the cyber intrusion, regulatory investigations may result in costs, fines, penalties, or other obligations. A subsidiary of WMI was named as a defendant in a class action lawsuit related to this incident. Such case was dismissed in 2022, but an appeal by the plaintiffs is currently pending. The Company intends to vigorously defend itself against any such proceedings and does not expect that the outcome of any proceedings related to the 2021 incident will have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows; however, assessing and responding to this intrusion required a significant amount of time and management attention. While the magnitude of future cyber intrusions that result in a theft, destruction, loss, misappropriation, or release of sensitive and/or confidential information or intellectual property, or material interference with our information technology systems or the technology systems of third parties on which we rely cannot be predicted, such incidents could result in material business disruption, direct financial loss, negative publicity, brand damage, alleged violation of privacy laws, loss of customers, potential regulatory enforcement or private litigation liability and competitive disadvantage. We maintain insurance for cyber incidents; however, due to policy terms, limits and exclusions, such insurance may not apply in all cases, and it may not be adequate to cover all liabilities incurred.

As the Company pursues its strategy to grow through acquisitions and to pursue new initiatives that improve our operations and cost structure, the Company is also expanding and improving its information technologies, resulting in a larger technological presence, utilization of “cloud” computing services, and corresponding exposure to cybersecurity risk. Certain new technologies, such as use of autonomous vehicles, remote-controlled equipment, virtual reality, automation and artificial intelligence, present new and significant cybersecurity safety risks that must be analyzed and addressed before implementation. If we fail to assess and identify cybersecurity risks associated with acquisitions and new initiatives, we may become increasingly vulnerable to such risks.

Increased state, federal and international laws and regulations related to cybersecurity protections and disclosures may require additional resources for compliance, and any inability, or perceived inability, to adequately address new requirements could subject us to regulatory enforcement, private litigation, and public criticism, disrupt our operations, cause us to lose customers, result in additional costs and legal liability, damage our reputation, and otherwise harm our business.

Increasing regulatory focus on privacy and data protection issues and expanding laws could negatively impact our business, subject us to criticism and expose us to increased liability.

The legislative and regulatory framework for privacy and data protection issues worldwide is rapidly evolving and is likely to remain uncertain for the foreseeable future. We collect certain personally identifiable information and other sensitive information in connection with providing services to our customers. We are subject to a variety of laws and regulations, and may become subject to additional pending laws and regulations, that govern the collection and use of such information obtained from individuals and businesses. These laws and regulations are inconsistent across jurisdictions and are subject to evolving interpretations. Government officials, regulators, privacy advocates and class action attorneys are increasingly scrutinizing how companies collect, process, use, store, share, transmit and destroy personal data. We must continually monitor the development and adoption of, and commit substantial time and resources to comply with, new and emerging laws and regulations. These laws and regulations provide disclosure obligations for businesses that collect personal information, individual rights relating to personal information, collection and storage requirements, automated decision-making transparency, and potential liability expansion. Any inability, or perceived inability, to adequately address privacy and data protection concerns, even if unfounded, or comply with applicable laws, regulations, policies, industry standards, contractual obligations, or other legal obligations, including at newly acquired companies, could

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subject us to regulatory enforcement, private litigation, public criticism, business disruption, loss of customers, additional costs and legal liability, reputational damage, and other harm.

Legal, Regulatory and Compliance Risks

Our operations are subject to environmental, health and safety laws and regulations, as well as contractual obligations that may result in significant liabilities.

There is risk of incurring significant environmental liabilities in the use, treatment, storage, transfer and disposal of waste materials. Under applicable environmental laws and regulations, we could be liable if it is alleged that our operations cause environmental damage to our properties or to the property of other landowners, particularly as a result of the contamination of air, drinking water or soil. Under current law, we could also be held liable for damage caused by conditions that existed before we acquired the assets or operations involved and for conditions resulting from waste types or compounds previously considered non-hazardous but later determined to present possible threat to public health or the environment. The risks of successor liability and emerging contaminants are of particular concern as we execute our growth strategy, partially through acquisitions, because we may be unsuccessful in identifying and assessing potential liabilities during our due diligence investigations. Further, the counterparties in such transactions may be unable to perform their indemnification obligations owed to us. Any substantial liability for environmental damage could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

In the ordinary course of our business, we have in the past, we are currently, and we may in the future, become involved in legal and administrative proceedings relating to land use and environmental laws and regulations. These include proceedings in which governmental entities, private groups or individuals seek to impose liability on us for alleged environmental damage or violation of statutes or desire to revoke or deny permits required for our operations. We generally seek to work with the authorities or other persons involved in these proceedings to resolve any issues raised. If we are not successful, the adverse outcome of one or more of these proceedings could result in, among other things, material increases in our costs or liabilities as well as material charges for asset impairments.

Further, we often enter into agreements with landowners imposing obligations on us to meet certain regulatory or contractual conditions upon site closure or upon termination of the agreements. Compliance with these agreements inherently involves subjective determinations and may result in disputes, including litigation. Costs to remediate or restore the condition of closed sites may be significant.

We have announced a sustainability growth strategy that includes significant planned investments in our renewable energy businesses; changes to federal and state renewable fuel policies could affect our financial performance, and such investments may not yield the results anticipated.

The primary drivers of renewable fuel development at our landfills are tax policies, such as the recently expanded federal tax credits for renewable natural gas (“RNG”) production and renewable electricity generation, and federal and state incentive programs, such as the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (“RFS”) program and the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard. At the federal level, oil refiners and importers are required through the RFS program to blend specified volumes of renewable transportation fuels with gasoline or buy credits, referred to as renewable identification numbers (“RINs”), from renewable fuel producers. The Company has invested, and continues to invest, in facilities that capture and convert landfill gas into RNG, and also works with facilities that capture and convert dairy digester gas into RNG, so that we can participate in the program, and the Company has stated its intention to grow its asset base to notably increase its RNG production by 2026. RINs prices generally respond to regulations enacted by the EPA, as well as fluctuations in supply and demand. The value of the RINs associated with RNG is set through a market established by the program.

Prior to 2022, the EPA has promulgated rules on an annual basis establishing refiners’ obligations to purchase RNG and other cellulosic biofuels under the RFS program; however, the EPA issued a highly anticipated proposed rule in late 2022 setting forth the direction of the RFS program for compliance years 2023 through 2025. Although this proposal delivers on many reforms that benefit the solid waste sector, the EPA’s programmatic shift towards multi-year standards could lead to market uncertainty and volatility in the price of RINs. We continue to advocate for the current administration to implement policies that ensure long-term stability for renewable transportation fuels and expand opportunities for the biogas sector to participate in the RFS program. Changes in the RFS market, the structure of the RFS program or RINs prices and demand can and has impacted the financial performance of the facilities constructed to capture and treat the

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gas. Such changes could impact or alter our projected future investments, and such investments may not yield the results anticipated.

The impact of climate change, and the adoption of climate change legislation or regulations restricting emissions of GHGs, could increase our costs to operate.

We continue to assess the physical risks, such as sea-level rise, catastrophic storms and other extreme weather conditions and long-term shifts in climate patterns, and transition risks, such as regulatory, market, policy, and technology changes, to our operations from the effects of climate change. These risks are expected to be unpredictable and widespread.

Although we have made investments to mitigate risk associated with severe storm events, damage to our facilities or disruption of service caused by more frequent or more severe storms associated with climate extremes could negatively impact operating results. We have also identified risk to our assets and our employees associated with drought or water scarcity, flooding, extreme heat and rain events, and fire conditions associated with climate change. For example, wildfires influenced by climate change can damage landfill infrastructure such as gas collection systems, flooding in low-lying areas enhanced by sea level rise can result in greater maintenance expenses at our facilities and service disruption, and more frequent or extreme rain events can erode the protective vegetative caps on our landfills and generate increased volumes of leachate to manage. Those areas of the country most prone to these occurrences have protocols in place, or are developing protocols to address these conditions, including employee safety, driver training, and equipment and facility protection protocols. We have incurred and will incur costs to develop and implement these protocols, and these protocols may not be effective in offsetting these risks. Additionally, the actions of others in response to climate change effects, such as the rolling power blackouts implemented in California in 2019 due to wildfire risks, can result in service disruptions and increase our costs to operate.

Our landfill operations emit methane, identified as a GHG. There are a number of legislative and regulatory efforts at the state, provincial, regional and federal levels to cap and/or curtail the emission of GHGs to ameliorate the effect of climate change, and otherwise to promote adaptation to climate change, support the transition to a low-carbon economy, and require disclosure of climate-related matters. We continue to monitor these efforts and the potential impacts to our operations. Additionally, existing technology presents challenges to our ability to quantify landfill emissions precisely. Should comprehensive federal climate change legislation be enacted, we expect it could impose operational and compliance costs that might not be offset by the revenue increases associated with our lower-carbon service options, the materiality of which we cannot predict. Climate change laws and regulations could also result in increased operational costs or disruption to the business of our customers, potentially impacting our operations and financial condition. We could also experience damage to our reputation and brand, including as a result of a failure or perceived failure to respond responsibly and effectively to changes in legal and regulatory measures adopted to address climate change.

We could be subject to significant fines and penalties, and our reputation could be adversely affected, if our businesses, or third parties with whom we have a relationship, were to fail to comply with U.S. or foreign laws or regulations.

Some of our projects and new business may be conducted in countries where corruption has historically been prevalent. It is our policy to comply with all applicable anti-bribery laws, such as the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and with applicable local laws of the foreign countries in which we operate, and we monitor our local partners’ compliance with such laws as well. Our reputation may be adversely affected if we were reported to be associated with corrupt practices or if we or our local partners failed to comply with such laws. Additionally, violations of such laws could subject us to significant fines and penalties.

Currently pending or future litigation or governmental proceedings could result in material adverse consequences, including judgments or settlements.

As a large company with operations across the U.S. and Canada, we are subject to various proceedings, lawsuits, disputes and claims arising in the ordinary course of our business, including governmental proceedings. Actions that have been filed against us, and that may be filed against us in the future, include personal injury, property damage, commercial, customer, and employment-related claims, including purported state and national class action lawsuits related to:

alleged environmental contamination, including releases of hazardous materials and odors;
sales and marketing practices, customer service agreements, prices and fees; and
federal and state wage and hour and other laws.

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The timing of the final resolutions to these types of matters is often uncertain. Additionally, the possible outcomes or resolutions to these matters could include adverse judgments or settlements, either of which could require substantial payments, adversely affecting our liquidity.

Financial Risks

Our capital requirements and our business strategy could increase our expenses, cause us to change our growth and development plans, or result in an inability to maintain our desired credit profile.

If economic conditions or other risks and uncertainties cause a significant reduction in our cash flows from operations, we may reduce or suspend capital expenditures, growth and acquisition activity, implementation of our business strategy, dividend declarations or share repurchases. We may choose to incur indebtedness to pay for these activities, although our access to capital markets is not assured and we may not be able to incur indebtedness at a cost that is consistent with current borrowing rates. We also may need to incur indebtedness to refinance scheduled debt maturities, and it is possible that the cost of financing could increase significantly, thereby increasing our expenses and decreasing our net income. Macroeconomic pressures, including inflation and rising interest rates, and market disruption are continuing. The U.S. government’s decisions regarding its debt ceiling and the possibility that the U.S. could default on its debt obligations may cause further interest rate increases, disrupt access to capital markets and deepen recessionary conditions. Further, our ability to execute our financial strategy and our ability to incur indebtedness is somewhat dependent upon our ability to maintain investment grade credit ratings on our senior debt. The credit rating process is contingent upon our credit profile and several other factors, many of which are beyond our control, including methodologies established and interpreted by third-party rating agencies. If we were unable to maintain our investment grade credit ratings in the future, our interest expense would increase and our ability to obtain financing on favorable terms could be adversely affected.

Additionally, we have $3.5 billion of debt as of December 31, 2022 that is exposed to changes in market interest rates within the next 12 months because of the impact of our commercial paper borrowings, our $1.0 billion, two-year, U.S. term credit agreement (“Term Loan”) and tax-exempt bonds. If interest rates increase, our interest expense would also increase, lowering our net income and decreasing our cash flow.

We may use our $3.5 billion long-term U.S. and Canadian revolving credit facility (“$3.5 billion revolving credit facility”) to meet our cash needs, to the extent available, until maturity in May 2027. As of December 31, 2022, we had no outstanding borrowings under this facility. We had $166 million of letters of credit issued and $1.7 billion of outstanding borrowings (net of related discount on issuance) under our commercial paper program, both supported by this facility, leaving unused and available credit capacity of $1.6 billion as of December 31, 2022. In the event of a default under our $3.5 billion revolving credit facility, or our Term Loan, we could be required to immediately repay all outstanding borrowings and make cash deposits as collateral for all obligations the facility supports, which we may not be able to do. Additionally, any such default could cause a default under many of our other credit agreements and debt instruments. Without waivers from lenders party to those agreements, any such default would have a material adverse effect on our ability to continue to operate.

We have substantial financial assurance and insurance requirements and increases in the costs of obtaining adequate financial assurance, or the inadequacy of our insurance coverages, could negatively impact our liquidity and increase our liabilities.

The amount of insurance we are required to maintain for environmental liability is governed by statutory requirements. We also carry a broad range of other insurance coverages that are customary for a company our size. To the extent our obligations for claims are more than we estimated, our insurance coverage is inadequate to cover our obligations, or our insurers are unable to meet their obligations, the requirement that we pay such obligations could have a material adverse effect on our financial results.

In addition, to fulfill our financial assurance obligations with respect to variable-rate tax-exempt debt, and final capping, closure, post-closure and environmental remediation obligations, we generally obtain letters of credit or surety bonds, rely on insurance, including captive insurance, fund trust and escrow accounts or rely upon WMI financial guarantees. Our financial position, which can be negatively affected by asset impairments, our credit profile and general economic factors, may increase the cost of our current financial assurance instruments, and changes in regulations may impose stricter requirements on the types of financial assurance that will be accepted. In the event we are unable to obtain sufficient surety bonding, letters of credit or third-party insurance coverage at reasonable cost, or one or more states cease

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to view captive insurance as adequate coverage, we would need to rely on other forms of financial assurance. It is possible that we could be required to deposit cash to collateralize certain obligations, which could negatively impact our liquidity.

We may record material charges against our earnings due to impairments to our assets.

In accordance with U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (“GAAP”), we capitalize certain expenditures and advances relating to disposal site and other facility development, expansion projects, acquisitions, software development costs and other projects. Events that have in the past and may in the future lead to an impairment include, but are not limited to, shutting down a facility or operation, abandoning a development project, project cost overruns or the denial of an expansion permit. Additionally, declining waste volumes and development of, and customer preference for, alternatives to traditional waste disposal could warrant asset impairments. If we determine an asset or expansion project is impaired, we will charge against earnings any unamortized capitalized expenditures and advances relating to such asset or project reduced by any portion of the capitalized costs that we estimate will be recoverable, through sale or otherwise. We also carry a significant amount of goodwill on our Consolidated Balance Sheets, which is required to be assessed for impairment annually, and more frequently in the case of certain triggering events. We have in the past and may in the future be required to incur charges against earnings if such impairment tests indicate that the fair value of a reporting unit is below its carrying amount. Any such charges could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.

We could face significant liabilities for withdrawal from Multiemployer Pension Plans.

We are a participating employer in a number of trustee-managed multiemployer defined benefit pension plans (“Multiemployer Pension Plans”) for employees who are covered by collective bargaining agreements. In the event of our withdrawal from a Multiemployer Pension Plan, we may incur expenses associated with our obligations for unfunded vested benefits at the time of the withdrawal. Depending on various factors, including potential legislative changes, future withdrawals could have a material adverse effect on results of operations or cash flows for a particular reporting period, and our on-going costs of participation in Multiemployer Pension Plans may increase. See Notes 9 and 10 to the Consolidated Financial Statements for more information related to our participation in Multiemployer Pension Plans.

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Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments.

None.

Item 2. Properties.

Our principal executive offices are in Houston, Texas where we lease approximately 285,000 square feet under a lease expiring in 2035. We also have administrative offices in Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois and India. We own or lease real property in most locations where we have operations or administrative functions. We have operations (i) in all 50 states except Montana; (ii) in the District of Columbia and (iii) throughout Canada.

Our principal property and equipment consist of land (primarily landfills and other disposal facilities, transfer stations and bases for collection operations), buildings, vehicles and equipment. We believe that our operating properties, vehicles and equipment are adequately maintained and sufficient for our current operations. However, we expect to continue to make investments in additional property and equipment for expansion, for the replacement of aging assets and investment in assets that support our strategy of continuous improvement through efficiency and innovation. In addition, we continue to make progress on our planned investments to expand our renewable energy and recycling businesses. As of December 31, 2022 and 2021, we owned and operated five and four renewable natural gas facilities, respectively. For more information, see Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations included within this report.

The following table summarizes our various operations as of December 31:

    

2022

    

2021

Landfills owned or operated

 

259

 

260

Transfer stations

 

337

 

340

Material recovery facilities

 

97

 

96

Item 3. Legal Proceedings.

Information regarding our legal proceedings can be found under the Environmental Matters and Litigation sections of Note 10 to the Consolidated Financial Statements included within this report.

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures.

Information concerning mine safety and other regulatory matters required by Section 1503(a) of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and Item 104 of Regulation S-K is included in Exhibit 95 to this annual report.

PART II

Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities.

Our common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) under the symbol “WM.” The number of holders of record of our common stock on January 31, 2023 was 7,847.

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The graph below shows the relative investment performance of Waste Management, Inc. common stock, the S&P 500 Index and the Dow Jones Waste & Disposal Services Index for the last five years, assuming reinvestment of dividends at date of payment into the common stock. The graph is presented pursuant to SEC rules and is not meant to be an indication of our future performance.

Graphic

    

12/31/17

    

12/31/18

    

12/31/19

    

12/31/20

    

12/31/21

    

12/31/22

Waste Management, Inc.

$

100

$

105

$

137

$

145

$

208

$

199

S&P 500 Index

$

100

$

96

$

126

$

149

$

192

$

157

Dow Jones Waste & Disposal Services Index

$

100

$

100

$

135

$

144

$

201

$

191

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The Company repurchases shares of its common stock as part of capital allocation programs authorized by our Board of Directors. During 2022, we repurchased an aggregate of $1.5 billion of our common stock under accelerated share repurchase (“ASR”) agreements and open market transactions, which equated to 9.4 million shares with a weighted average price per share of $160.32, inclusive of per-share commissions. In addition, in December 2021, we executed an ASR agreement that completed in January 2022, at which time we received 0.4 million shares. See Note 13 to the Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information. We announced in December 2022 that the Board of Directors has authorized up to $1.5 billion in future share repurchases. This new authorization replaces our prior $1.5 billion authorization that was fully utilized in 2022.

The following table summarizes common stock repurchases made during the fourth quarter of 2022 (shares in millions):

Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

Total Number of

 

Total

Shares Purchased as

Approximate Maximum

 

Number of

Average

Part of Publicly

Dollar Value of Shares that

 

Shares

Price Paid

Announced Plans or

May Yet be Purchased Under

 

Period

    

Purchased

    

per Share

    

Programs

    

the Plans or Programs

 

October 1 — 31

 

0.1

$

159.79

(a)

0.1

$

417 million

November 1 — 30

 

2.1

$

161.19

(b)

2.1

$

84 million

December 1 — 31

 

0.5

$

161.19

(b)

0.5

$

1.5 billion

Total

 

2.7

$

161.13

2.7

(a)In October 2022, we repurchased 125,167 shares of our common stock in open market transactions in compliance with Rule 10b5-1 and Rule 10b-18 of the Exchange Act for $20 million, inclusive of per-share commissions, at a weighted average price of $159.79.
(b)In November 2022, we delivered $417 million cash and received 2.1 million shares pursuant to an Accelerated Share Repurchase (“ASR”) agreement executed in late October 2022. In December 2022, we completed the ASR agreement and received 0.5 million additional shares based on a final weighted average price of $161.19. The “Average Price Paid per Share” in the table represents the final weighted average price per share paid for the ASR agreement.

Any future share repurchases will be made at the discretion of management and will depend on various factors including our net earnings, financial condition and cash required for future business plans, growth and acquisitions.

Item 6. [Reserved]

None.

Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.

This section includes a discussion of our results of operations for the three years ended December 31, 2022. This discussion may contain forward-looking statements that anticipate results based on management’s plans that are subject to uncertainty. We discuss in more detail various factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations in Item 1A. Risk Factors. The following discussion should be read considering those disclosures and together with the Consolidated Financial Statements and the notes thereto.

Overview

We are North America’s leading provider of comprehensive environmental solutions, providing services throughout the United States (“U.S.”) and Canada. We partner with our residential, commercial, industrial and municipal customers and the communities we serve to manage and reduce waste at each stage from collection to disposal, while recovering valuable resources and creating clean, renewable energy. We own or operate the largest network of landfills throughout the U.S. and Canada. In order to make disposal more practical for larger urban markets, where the distance to landfills is typically farther, we manage transfer stations that consolidate, compact and transport waste efficiently and economically.

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Through our subsidiaries, including our Waste Management Renewable Energy (“WM Renewable Energy”) business, we are also a leading developer, operator and owner of landfill gas-to-energy facilities in the U.S. and Canada that produce renewable electricity and renewable natural gas, which is a significant source of fuel for our natural gas fleet. Additionally, we are a leading recycler in the U.S. and Canada, handling materials that include paper, cardboard, glass, plastic and metal. Our “Solid Waste” business is operated and managed locally by our subsidiaries that focus on distinct geographic areas and provide collection, transfer, disposal, and recycling and resource recovery services.

Our senior management evaluates, oversees and manages the financial performance of our Solid Waste operations through two operating segments. Our East Tier primarily consists of geographic areas located in the Eastern U.S., the Great Lakes region and substantially all of Canada. Our West Tier primarily includes geographic areas located in the Western U.S., including the upper Midwest region, and British Columbia, Canada. Each of our Solid Waste operating segments provides integrated environmental services, including collection, transfer, recycling, and disposal.

Our Solid Waste operating revenues are primarily generated from fees charged for our collection, transfer, disposal, and recycling and resource recovery services, and from sales of commodities by our recycling and landfill gas-to-energy operations. Revenues from our collection operations are influenced by factors such as collection frequency, type of collection equipment furnished, type and volume or weight of the waste collected, distance to the disposal facility or material recovery facility and our disposal costs. Revenues from our landfill operations consist of tipping fees, which are generally based on the type and weight or volume of waste being disposed of at our disposal facilities. Fees charged at transfer stations are generally based on the weight or volume of waste deposited, considering our cost of loading, transporting and disposing of the solid waste at a disposal site. Recycling revenues generally consist of tipping fees and the sale of recycling commodities to third parties. The fees we charge for our services generally include our environmental, fuel surcharge and regulatory recovery fees which are intended to pass through to customers direct and indirect costs incurred. We also provide additional services that are not managed through our Solid Waste business, described under Results of Operations below.

Business Environment

The waste industry is a comparatively mature and stable industry. However, customers increasingly expect more of their waste materials to be recovered and those waste streams are becoming more complex. In addition, many state and local governments mandate diversion, recycling and waste reduction at the source and prohibit the disposal of certain types of waste at landfills. We monitor these developments to adapt our service offerings. As companies, individuals and communities look for ways to be more sustainable, we promote our comprehensive services that go beyond our core business of collecting and disposing of waste in order to meet their needs. This includes expanding traditional recycling services, increasing organics collection and processing, and expanding our renewable energy projects to meet the evolving needs of our diverse customer base. As North America’s leading provider of comprehensive environmental solutions, we are taking big, bold steps to catalyze positive change – change that will impact our Company as well as the communities we serve. Consistent with our Company’s long-standing commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship, we published our 2022 Sustainability Report providing details on our Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) performance and outlining new 2030 goals. The Sustainability Report conveys the strong linkage between the Company’s ESG goals and our growth strategy, inclusive of the planned expansion of the Company’s recycling and renewable energy businesses. The information in this report can be found at https://sustainability.wm.com but it does not constitute a part of, and is not incorporated by reference into, this Annual Report on Form 10 K. For further discussion see Item1. Business – Regulation – Recent Developments and Focus Areas in Policy and Regulation.

We encounter intense competition from governmental, quasi-governmental and private service providers based on pricing, and to a much lesser extent, the nature of service offerings, particularly in the residential line of business. Our industry is directly affected by changes in general economic factors, including increases and decreases in consumer spending, business expansions and construction activity. These factors generally correlate to volumes of waste generated and impact our revenue. Negative economic conditions and other macroeconomic trends can and have caused customers to reduce their service needs. Such negative economic conditions, in addition to competitor actions, can impact our strategy to negotiate, renew, or expand service contracts and grow our business. We also encounter competition for acquisitions and growth opportunities. General economic factors and the market for consumer goods, in addition to regulatory developments, can also significantly impact commodity prices for the recyclable materials we sell. Significant components of our operating expenses vary directly as we experience changes in revenue due to volume and a heightened pace of

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inflation. Volume changes can fluctuate significantly by line of business and volume changes in higher margin businesses, such as what we saw with COVID-19, can impact key financial metrics. We must dynamically manage our cost structure in response to volume changes and cost inflation.

We believe the Company’s industry-leading asset network and strategic focus on investing in our people and our digital platform will give the Company the necessary tools to address the evolving challenges impacting the Company and our industry. In line with our commitment to continuous improvement and a differentiated customer experience, we remain focused on our automation and optimization investments to enhance our operational efficiency and change the way we interact with our customers. Enhancements made through these initiatives are intended to seamlessly and digitally connect all the Company’s functions required to service our customers in order to provide the best experience and service. In late 2021, we began to execute on the next phase of this technology enablement strategy to automate and optimize certain elements of our service delivery model. This next phase will prioritize reduced labor dependency on certain high-turnover jobs, particularly in customer experience, recycling and residential collection. We continue to make these investments to further digitalize our customer self-service and implement technologies to further enhance the safety, reliability and efficiency of our collection operations. Additionally, in 2022, we implemented a new general ledger accounting system, complementary finance enterprise resource planning system and a human capital management system, which will drive operational and service excellence by empowering our people through a modern, simplified and connected employee experience.

Macroeconomic pressures, including inflation and rising interest rates, and market disruption, resulting in labor market, supply chain and transportation constraints are continuing. Significant global supply chain disruption and the heightened pace of inflation have reduced availability and increased costs for the goods and services we purchase, with a particular impact on our repair and maintenance costs. Supply chain constraints have also caused delayed delivery of fleet, steel containers and other purchases. Aspects of our business rely on third-party transportation providers, and such services have become more limited and expensive.

While demand for recyclables generally continues to trend upwards, during the second half of 2022, we saw significant declines in commodity prices for recycled materials, and we expect continued significant headwinds from commodity prices for recycled material into 2023, resulting from the slowdown in the global economy, which reduced retail demand and the corresponding need for cardboard packaging to ship retail goods. We are also currently experiencing margin pressures from other commodity-driven business impacts, particularly from higher fuel prices. The constrained labor market has resulted in increased costs for wage adjustments, overtime hours and training new hires. Geopolitical conflict and the resulting international response, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, have also exacerbated market disruption, leading to volatility in commodity prices, impacts on the availability and cost of energy, and vendor and supplier disruptions across the global supply chain. The extent and duration of the impact of these labor market, supply chain, transportation and recycling challenges are subject to numerous external factors beyond our control, including broader macroeconomic conditions; recessionary fears and/or an economic recession; size, location, and qualifications of the labor pool; wage and price structures; adoption of new or revised regulations; future resurgence of COVID-19 or other pandemic conditions and restrictions; geopolitical conflicts and responses and supply and demand for recycled materials. As we experience inflationary cost pressures, we focus on our strategic pricing efforts, as well as operating efficiencies and cost controls, to maintain and grow our earnings and cash flow. With these macroeconomic pressures, we remain focused on putting our people first to ensure that they are well positioned to execute our daily operations diligently and safely. We are encouraged by our results in 2022 and remain focused on delivering outstanding customer service, managing our variable costs with changing volumes and investing in technology that will enhance our customers’ experience and reduce our cost to serve.

Acquisition of Advanced Disposal Services, Inc. (“Advanced Disposal”)

On October 30, 2020, we completed our acquisition of all outstanding shares of Advanced Disposal for $30.30 per share in cash, pursuant to an Agreement and Plan of Merger dated April 14, 2019, as amended on June 24, 2020. Total enterprise value of the acquisition was $4.6 billion when including approximately $1.8 billion of Advanced Disposal’s net debt. This acquisition grew our footprint and allows us to provide differentiated, sustainable waste management and recycling services to approximately three million new commercial, industrial and residential customers primarily located in the Eastern half of the U.S. In connection with our acquisition of Advanced Disposal, we and Advanced Disposal entered into an agreement that provided for GFL Environmental to acquire a combination of assets from us and Advanced Disposal

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to address divestitures required by the U.S. Department of Justice. Immediately following the acquisition, the divestiture transactions were consummated and the Company subsequently received cash proceeds from the sale of $856 million.

For the year ended December 31, 2022 and 2021, we incurred integration related costs of $10 million and $51 million, respectively, and for the year ended December 31, 2020, we incurred acquisition and integration related costs of $156 million, which were primarily classified as “Selling, general and administrative expenses”. The post-closing operating results of Advanced Disposal have been included in our consolidated financial statements, within our existing reportable segments. Post-closing through December 31, 2020, Advanced Disposal recognized $205 million, $142 million and $60 million of revenue, operating expenses and selling, general and administrative expenses, respectively, which are included in our Consolidated Statement of Operations.

For more information related to our acquisitions, see Notes 11 and 17 to the Consolidated Financial Statements and the Summary of Cash Flow Activity section below.

COVID-19 Impact

The impacts of COVID-19 on the global economy increased rapidly during the second quarter of 2020, affecting our business in most geographies and across a variety of our customer types. Over the past two years, our volumes have recovered, largely exceeding volumes from the pre-pandemic levels in 2019. While we continue to be optimistic about North America’s overall economic recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. A significant future resurgence in transmission of COVID-19, a significant new virus variant, or other pandemic conditions that result in business closures and social restrictions could adversely impact our volumes and costs in the future.

Current Year Financial Results

During 2022, we continued to advance our strategic priorities—enhancing employee engagement, improving our operations through the use of technology and automation, and investing in growth through our recycling and renewable energy businesses. This strategic focus, combined with strong operational execution resulted in increased revenue, income from operations and income from operations margin driven primarily by both yield and volume growth in our collection and disposal business. We were able to achieve these results despite high inflationary cost pressures. We remain diligent in offering a competitively profitable service that meets the needs of our customers and are focused on driving operating efficiencies and reducing discretionary spend. We continue to invest in our people through market wage adjustments, investments in our digital platform and training for our team members. Despite the significant downturn in commodity prices for recyclable materials in the second half of the year, we remain committed to our investment in recycling automation, which reduces costs and increases throughput, positioning us to overcome commodity price headwinds and deliver a differentiated service. We also continue to make investments in automation and optimization to enhance our operational efficiency and improve labor productivity for all lines of business. During 2022, the Company allocated $2,587 million of available cash to capital expenditures. We also allocated $2,577 million of available cash to our shareholders during 2022 through dividends and common stock repurchases.

Key elements of our 2022 financial results include:

Revenues of $19,698 million for 2022 compared with $17,931 million in 2021, an increase of $1,767 million, or 9.9%. The increase is primarily attributable to (i) higher yield in our collection and disposal lines of business; (ii) increases from our fuel surcharge program and (iii) higher volume in our collection and disposal lines of business;
Operating expenses of $12,294 million in 2022, or 62.4% of revenues, compared with $11,111 million, or 62.0% of revenues, in 2021. The $1,183 million increase is primarily attributable to (i) inflationary cost pressures, particularly for maintenance and repairs and subcontractor costs; (ii) commodity-driven business impacts from higher fuel prices and recycling and (iii) labor cost increases from frontline employee wage adjustments;
Selling, general and administrative expenses of $1,938 million in 2022, or 9.8% of revenues, compared with $1,864 million, or 10.4% of revenues, in 2021. The $74 million increase is primarily attributable to (i) higher costs associated with our strategic investments in our digital platform and sustainability initiatives; (ii) increased labor costs primarily from higher annual incentive compensation costs and merit increases; (iii) increased

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business travel and entertainment expense and (iv) an increase in provision for bad debts; partially offset by (i) lower long-term incentive compensation costs; (ii) market adjustments for deferred compensation plans related to investment performance and (iii) lower litigation costs;
Income from operations of $3,365 million, or 17.1% of revenues, in 2022 compared with $2,965 million, or 16.5% of revenues, in 2021. The increase in the current year was primarily driven by revenue growth in our collection and disposal lines of business driven by both yield and volume, partially offset by (i) inflationary cost pressures; (ii) labor cost increases from frontline employee wage adjustments; (iii) non-cash asset impairments; and (iv) reduced profitability in our recycling business;
Net income attributable to Waste Management, Inc. was $2,238 million, or $5.39 per diluted share, compared with $1,816 million, or $4.29 per diluted share, in 2021. The increase in income from operations, as discussed above, in addition to a net loss on early extinguishment of debt of $220 million in 2021 that did not repeat in 2022, drove an increase in net income;
Net cash provided by operating activities was $4,536 million in 2022, compared with $4,338 million in 2021. The increase in net cash provided by operating activities was driven by (i) an increase in earnings and (ii) lower interest payments during 2022. These results were partially offset by higher income tax payments in 2022 primarily as a result of higher pre-tax earnings and a deposit of approximately $103 million that was made to the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) related to a disputed tax matter. The Company expects to seek a refund of the entire amount deposited with the IRS and litigate any denial of the claim for refund. See Note 8 to the Consolidated Financial Statements for further discussion; and
Free cash flow was $1,976 million in 2022, compared with $2,530 million in 2021. The decrease in free cash flow is primarily attributable to (i) an increase in capital spending, primarily driven by our intentional investment in sustainability growth projects as well as timing differences in our fixed asset purchases to support our ongoing operations and (ii) higher income tax payments in 2022. This decrease was partially offset by increased earnings in 2022. Free cash flow is a non-GAAP measure of liquidity. Refer to Free Cash Flow below for our definition of free cash flow, additional information about our use of this measure, and a reconciliation to net cash provided by operating activities, which is the most comparable GAAP measure.

Results of Operations

Operating Revenues

Our Solid Waste operating revenues are primarily generated from fees charged for our collection, transfer, disposal, and recycling and resource recovery services, and from sales of commodities by our recycling and landfill gas-to-energy operations. We also provide additional services that are not managed through our Solid Waste business, including both our Strategic Business Solutions (“WMSBS”) and Sustainability and Environmental Services (“SES”) businesses, which include landfill gas-to-energy services, environmental solutions services and recycling brokerage services. We also offer

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certain other expanded service offerings and solutions. The mix of operating revenues from our major lines of business for the year ended December 31 are as follows (in millions):

    

    

2022

    

2021

    

2020

Commercial

$

5,450

$

4,760

$

4,102

Industrial

 

3,681

 

3,210

 

2,770

Residential

 

3,339

 

3,172

 

2,716

Other collection

 

699

 

533

 

465

Total collection

 

13,169

 

11,675

 

10,053

Landfill

 

4,600

 

4,153

 

3,667

Transfer

 

2,143

 

2,072

 

1,855

Recycling

 

1,701

 

1,681

 

1,127

Other (a)

 

2,405

 

2,112

 

1,776

Intercompany (b)

 

(4,320)

 

(3,762)

 

(3,260)

Total

$

19,698

$

17,931

$

15,218

(a)

The “Other” line of business includes (i) certain services provided by our WMSBS business; (ii) certain services within our sustainability business including our landfill gas to energy operations managed by our WM Renewable Energy business and (iii) certain other expanded service offerings and solutions and reflects the results of non-operating entities that provide financial assurance and self-insurance support for our Solid Waste business, net of intercompany activity. Revenue attributable to collection, landfill, transfer and recycling services provided by our “Other” businesses has been reflected as a component of the relevant line of business for purposes of presentation in this table.

(b)Intercompany revenues between lines of business are eliminated in the Consolidated Financial Statements included within this report.

The following table provides details associated with the period-to-period change in revenues and average yield for the year ended December 31 (dollars in millions):

2022 vs. 2021

 

2021 vs. 2020

 

As a % of

As a % of

 

As a % of

 

As a % of

 

Related

Total

 

Related

 

Total

 

    

Amount

    

Business(a)

    

  

Amount

    

Company(b)

    

Amount

    

Business(a)

    

  

Amount

    

Company(b)

Collection and disposal

$

1,025

6.7

%

$

468

3.5

%

Recycling (c)

 

19

1.2

 

 

537

51.5

 

Fuel surcharges and other

 

474

51.7

 

 

240

36.9

 

Total average yield (d)

 

$

1,518

8.5

%

 

$

1,245

8.2

%

Volume

 

 

233

1.3

 

 

435

2.8

Internal revenue growth

1,751

9.8

1,680

11.0

Acquisitions

62

0.4

1,032

6.8

Divestitures

(15)

(0.1)

(49)

(0.3)

Foreign currency translation

(31)

(0.2)

50

0.3

Total

$

1,767

9.9

%

$

2,713

17.8

%

(a)Calculated by dividing the increase or decrease for the current year by the prior year’s related business revenue adjusted to exclude the impacts of divestitures for the current year.
(b)Calculated by dividing the increase or decrease for the current year by the prior year’s total Company revenue adjusted to exclude the impacts of divestitures for the current year.
(c)Includes combined impact of commodity price variability and changes in fees.
(d)The amounts reported herein represent the changes in our revenue attributable to average yield for the total Company.

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The following provides further details about our period-to-period change in revenues:

Average Yield

Collection and Disposal Average Yield — This measure reflects the effect on our revenue from the pricing activities of our collection, transfer and landfill operations, exclusive of volume changes. Revenue growth from collection and disposal average yield includes not only base rate changes and environmental and service fee fluctuations, but also (i) certain average price changes related to the overall mix of services, which are due to the types of services provided; (ii) changes in average price from new and lost business and (iii) price decreases to retain customers.

The details of our revenue growth from collection and disposal average yield for the year ended December 31 are as follows (dollars in millions):

 

2022 vs. 2021

 

2021 vs. 2020

As a % of

 

As a % of

Related

 

Related

    

Amount

        

Business

    

Amount

        

Business

 

Commercial

$

406

9.2

%  

$

152

3.9

%

Industrial

 

307

10.2

 

126

4.8

Residential

 

185

6.1

 

119

4.5

Total collection

 

898

8.2

 

397

4.2

Landfill

 

79

3.1

 

42

1.8

Transfer

 

48

4.5

 

29

2.9

Total collection and disposal

$

1,025

6.7

%  

$

468

3.5

%

Our overall strategic pricing efforts are focused on recovering our higher cost to service our customers that we experience in our business by increasing our average unit rate. We experienced strong average yield growth in our collection line of business of 8.2% in 2022, up from 4.2% in 2021, illustrating our focus on our pricing efforts in this inflationary environment. We are driving improvements in our residential line of business, aligning the price charged for services we provide to our customers with the costs to provide the services, resulting in increased average yield in 2022 of 6.1%, up from 4.5% in 2021. We are also continuing to see growth in our disposal business with our municipal solid waste business experiencing average yield of 6.2% in 2022, up from 3.2% in 2021.

Recycling — Recycling revenues attributable to yield increased $19 million and $537 million in 2022 and 2021, respectively, as compared with the prior year periods, primarily from higher market prices for recycling commodities in 2021 and the first half of 2022, before the significant downturn in the second half of 2022.

Demand for recycled materials strengthened through 2021 and into early 2022, primarily driven by the growth in e-commerce, businesses re-opening, and manufacturers committing to use more recycled content in their packaging. In 2022, we experienced all-time high recycling commodity pricing in the first half of the year to be followed by historically low pricing through the second half of the year, resulting from the slowdown in the global economy, which reduced retail demand and the corresponding need for cardboard packaging to ship retail goods. We expect significant commodity price headwinds to continue into 2023. Average market prices for recycling commodities at the Company’s facilities were approximately 10% lower and 115% higher in 2022 and 2021, respectively, when compared with the prior year periods. Revenue decline from lower commodity pricing was offset by higher pricing in our recycling brokerage business as well as our continued focus on a fee-based pricing model that ensures fees paid by customers cover the cost of processing materials and the impact on our cost structure of managing contamination in the recycling stream.

Fuel Surcharges and Other — These fees, which include (i) our fuel surcharge program, (ii) yield from our WM Renewable Energy business and (iii) other mandated fees, increased $474 million and $240 million in 2022 and 2021, respectively, as compared to the prior year periods. Fuel surcharge revenues are based on and fluctuate in response to changes in the national average prices for diesel fuel, and also vary with changes in our volume-based revenue activity. Market prices for diesel fuel were over 50% and 30% higher in 2022 and 2021, as compared to the prior year periods. Revenue from yield growth in our WM Renewable Energy business increased $48 million and $85 million in 2022 and 2021, respectively, as compared to the prior year period, primarily driven by increases in the value for electricity and

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renewable natural gas credits. The mandated fees are primarily related to fees and taxes assessed by various state, county and municipal government agencies at our landfills and transfer stations. These amounts have not significantly impacted the change in revenue for the periods presented.

Volume

Our revenues from volume (excluding volumes from acquisitions and divestitures) increased $233 million, or 1.3%, and $435 million, or 2.8%, in 2022 and 2021, respectively, as compared with the prior year periods. Our collection and disposal business volumes grew 1.8% and 3.0% in 2022 and 2021, respectively.

Our 2022 volume growth has moderated when compared to the accelerated volume recovery from COVID-related impacts experienced in 2021. Special waste volumes at our landfills have been the most significant driver of volume growth, primarily due to an increase in event-driven projects. In addition, our WMSBS business volumes grew as a result of our continued focus on a differentiated service model for national accounts customers. Our volumes have been impacted by our intentional efforts to reduce unprofitable residential and industrial collection volumes.

We experienced higher volume growth in 2021 relative to the sharp decline experienced in April 2020 as a result of COVID-related impacts. The pace of recovery in our volumes accelerated in the second quarter of 2021 and continued in the second half of 2021 with minimal impact from periodic resurgences in transmission of COVID-19 virus variants as communities and businesses have remained open. The portions of our business that had the most pronounced decreases in volume due to the pandemic were our industrial and commercial collection businesses and our landfill volumes.

Acquisitions and Divestitures

Acquisitions and divestitures resulted in a net increase in revenues of $47 million, or 0.3%, and $983 million, or 6.5%, in 2022 and 2021, respectively, as compared with the prior year periods, with the increase in 2021 primarily due to our acquisition of Advanced Disposal.

Operating Expenses

Our operating expenses are comprised of (i) labor and related benefits costs (excluding labor costs associated with maintenance and repairs discussed below), which include salaries and wages, bonuses, related payroll taxes, insurance and benefits costs and the costs associated with contract labor; (ii) transfer and disposal costs, which include tipping fees paid to third-party disposal facilities and transfer stations; (iii) maintenance and repairs costs relating to equipment, vehicles and facilities and related labor costs; (iv) subcontractor costs, which include the costs of independent haulers who transport waste collected by us to disposal facilities and are affected by variables such as volumes, distance and fuel prices; (v) costs of goods sold, which includes the cost to purchase recycling materials for our recycling line of business, including certain rebates paid to suppliers; (vi) fuel costs, net of tax credits for alternative fuel, which represent the costs of fuel to operate our truck fleet and landfill operating equipment; (vii) disposal and franchise fees and taxes, which include landfill taxes, municipal franchise fees, host community fees, contingent landfill lease payments and royalties; (viii) landfill operating costs, which include interest accretion on landfill liabilities, interest accretion on and discount rate adjustments to environmental remediation liabilities and recovery assets, leachate and methane collection and treatment, landfill remediation costs and other landfill site costs; (ix) risk management costs, which include general liability, automobile liability and workers’ compensation claims programs costs and (x) other operating costs, which include gains and losses on sale of assets, telecommunications, equipment and facility lease expenses, property taxes, utilities and supplies. Variations in volumes year-over-year, as discussed above in Operating Revenues, in addition to cost inflation, affect the comparability of the components of our operating expenses.

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The following table summarizes the major components of our operating expenses for the year ended December 31 (dollars in millions and as a percentage of revenues):

    

2022

    

2021

  

2020

Labor and related benefits

$

3,452

    

17.5

%

$

3,223

    

18.0

%

$

2,746

    

18.1

%

Transfer and disposal costs

 

1,215

6.2

 

1,161

6.5

 

1,135

7.5

Maintenance and repairs

 

1,835

9.3

 

1,596

8.9

 

1,331

8.7

Subcontractor costs

 

2,006

10.2

 

1,766

9.9

 

1,523

10.0

Cost of goods sold

 

973

4.9

 

936

5.2

 

553

3.6

Fuel

 

592

3.0

 

393

2.2

 

265

1.7

Disposal and franchise fees and taxes

 

720

3.7

 

698

3.9

 

606

4.0

Landfill operating costs

 

421

2.1

 

412

2.3

 

394

2.6

Risk management

 

348

1.8

 

344

1.9

 

269

1.8

Other

 

732

3.7

 

582

3.2

 

519

3.4

$

12,294

62.4

%

$

11,111

62.0

%  

$

9,341

61.4

%

Our operating expenses in 2022 increased, as compared with 2021, primarily due to (i) inflationary cost pressures, particularly for maintenance and repairs and subcontractor costs; (ii) commodity-driven business impacts from higher fuel prices and recycling and (iii) labor cost pressure from frontline employee wage adjustments. We also continue to focus on operating efficiency and efforts to control costs.

Our operating expenses in 2021 increased, as compared with 2020, primarily due to (i) increased volumes from the acquisition of Advanced Disposal; (ii) commodity-driven business impacts, particularly from recycling brokerage rebates and higher fuel prices; (iii) volume recovery from earlier pandemic-driven lows; (iv) labor cost pressure from frontline employee wage adjustments, increased turnover driving up training costs and higher overtime due to driver shortages and volume growth and (v) inflationary cost pressures, primarily in the second half of 2021. These impacts were partially offset by our continued focus on operating efficiency and efforts to control costs as volumes grow.

Significant items affecting the comparison of operating expenses between reported periods include:

Labor and Related Benefits — The increase in labor and related benefits costs in 2022, as compared with 2021,was largely driven by (i) proactive market wage adjustments to hire and retain talent; (ii) annual merit and annual incentive compensation cost increases and (iii) increases in health and welfare costs attributable to our intentional investment in delivering a leading benefits program for our employees and increases in medical care activity. The increase in labor and related benefits costs in 2021, as compared with 2020, was largely driven by (i) increased labor and related benefits costs related to our acquisition of Advanced Disposal; (ii) merit and proactive market wage adjustments to hire and retain talent; (iii) volume increases, particularly in our commercial and industrial collection businesses, which when combined with driver shortages and turnover in certain markets, increased overtime and training hours; (iv) higher annual incentive compensation and (v) increases in health and welfare costs attributable to medical care activity generally returning to pre-pandemic levels.

Transfer and Disposal Costs — The increase in transfer and disposal costs in 2022, as compared with 2021, was largely driven by inflationary cost increases, which includes increased disposal fees at third-party sites and higher fuel from our third-party haulers offset, in part, by decreases in residential collection and transfer volume. The increase in transfer and disposal costs in 2021, as compared with 2020, was largely driven by increased volume, which includes the volumes from our acquisition of Advanced Disposal and inflationary cost increases from our third-party haulers.

Maintenance and Repairs — The increase in maintenance and repairs costs in 2022, as compared with 2021,was largely driven by (i) inflationary cost increases for parts, supplies and third-party services; (ii) additional fleet maintenance driven by supply chain constraints, which have delayed deliveries of new trucks; (iii) labor cost increases for our technicians, including higher overtime; (iv) increased building maintenance costs including improvements to facilities and (v) an increase in container repairs driven by delays in delivery of steel containers due to supply chain constraints. The increase in maintenance and repairs costs in 2021, as compared with 2020, was largely driven by (i) our acquisition of Advanced Disposal, including intentional investments to bring the acquired fleet to our standards; (ii) inflationary cost

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increases for parts, supplies and third-party services; (iii) additional fleet maintenance driven by commercial and industrial collection volume increases; (iv) labor cost increases for our technicians, including higher overtime from labor shortages; (v) an increase in container repairs driven by volume increases and delays in normal course capital expenditures for steel containers due to both steel costs and supply chain constraints and (vi) increased building maintenance costs including improvements to facilities.

Subcontractor Costs — The increase in subcontractor costs in 2022, as compared with 2021,was largely driven by (i) inflationary cost increases, particularly for fuel and labor costs from third-party haulers and (ii) an increase in volumes in our WMSBS business, which relies more extensively on subcontracted hauling than our collection and disposal business. The increase in subcontractor costs in 2021, as compared with 2020, was largely driven by (i) inflationary cost increases from third-party haulers and higher volumes; (ii) an increase in volumes in our WMSBS business and (iii) the acquisition of Advanced Disposal.

Cost of Goods Sold — The increase in cost of goods sold in 2022, as compared with 2021, was primarily driven by all-time high recycling commodity pricing in the first half of the year offset, in part, by the historically low pricing through the second half of the year. The increase in cost of goods sold in 2021, as compared with 2020, was primarily driven by increases in market prices for recycling commodities of approximately 115% and to a lesser extent, higher recycling volumes.

Fuel — The increase in fuel costs in 2022, as compared with 2021, was primarily due to increases in market diesel and natural gas fuel prices as compared to the prior year. The increase in fuel costs in 2021, as compared with 2020, was primarily due to (i) increases in market diesel and natural gas fuel prices; (ii) the acquisition of Advanced Disposal and (iii) volume increases in our commercial and industrial collection businesses.

Disposal and Franchise Fees and Taxes — The increase in disposal and franchise fees and taxes in 2022, as compared with 2021, was primarily driven by higher franchise fees, driven by an increase in landfill volumes, paid to certain municipalities where we operate and overall rate increases in our fees and taxes paid on our disposal volumes. The increase in disposal and franchise fees and taxes in 2021, as compared with 2020, was primarily driven by (i) landfill volume increases; (ii) disposal rate increases at certain landfills and (iii) additional costs attributable to our acquisition of Advanced Disposal.

Landfill Operating Costs — Our landfill operating costs increased in 2022, as compared with 2021, primarily due to increases in methane and leachate management costs and other site maintenance costs, in part due to inflation. The increase in landfill operating costs in 2021, as compared with 2020, was primarily due to volume increases, including from our acquisition of Advanced Disposal and increased testing and monitoring costs. These increases were partially offset by (i) lower leachate management costs, primarily due to the cessation of certain transportation costs in our East Tier segment and (ii) changes in the measurement of our environmental remediation obligations and recovery assets. The increases in both 2022 and 2021 were offset, in part, by changes in the measurement of our environmental remediation obligations and recovery assets in each year. Our measurement of these balances includes application of a risk-free discount rate, which is based on the rate for U.S. Treasury bonds. The discount rate increased, which resulted in a reduction in the net liability balance and a credit to expense, in both 2021 and 2022 with more significant impact in 2022. Conversely, in 2020, there was a decrease in the discount rate, which resulted in an increase in the net liability balance and a charge to expense.

Risk Management — Risk management costs increased slightly in 2022, as compared with 2021, primarily due to inflation in premiums. The increase in risk management costs in 2021, as compared with 2020, was primarily due to our acquisition of Advanced Disposal and overall economic recovery from COVID-driven impacts, increasing business activity and claim volumes and related costs.

Other — Other operating cost increases in 2022, as compared with 2021, were primarily due to (i) inflationary cost pressures; (ii) higher equipment rental costs attributable, in part, to supply chain constraints slowing normal course fleet and equipment orders; (iii) higher utility costs at our facilities and (iv) an increase in business travel in 2022. Additionally, a favorable litigation settlement in 2021 impacted the comparison. Other operating cost increases in 2021, as compared with 2020, were due to our acquisition of Advanced Disposal and increased equipment rental costs attributable, in part, to increased volumes and supply chain constraints slowing normal course fleet and equipment orders. Additionally, during the second half of 2021, additional volumes and inflationary cost pressures drove an increase in various costs. Partially

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offsetting these was a favorable litigation settlement in 2021. Additionally, net gains on sales of certain assets during each year impacted the comparability of the reported periods

Selling, General and Administrative Expenses

Our selling, general and administrative expenses consist of (i) labor and related benefits costs, which include salaries, bonuses, related insurance and benefits, contract labor, payroll taxes and equity-based compensation; (ii) professional fees, which include fees for consulting, legal, audit and tax services; (iii) provision for bad debts, which includes allowances for uncollectible customer accounts and collection fees and (iv) other selling, general and administrative expenses, which include, among other costs, facility-related expenses, voice and data telecommunication, advertising, bank charges, computer costs, travel and entertainment, rentals, postage and printing. In addition, the financial impacts of litigation reserves generally are included in our “Other” selling, general and administrative expenses.

The following table summarizes the major components of our selling, general and administrative expenses for the year ended December 31 (dollars in millions and as a percentage of revenues):

    

2022

    

2021

    

2020

Labor and related benefits

$

1,195

    

6.1

%

$

1,215

    

6.8

%

$

1,057

    

6.9

%

Professional fees

 

268

1.4

 

228

1.3

 

256

1.7

Provision for bad debts

 

50

0.2

 

37

0.2

 

54

0.4

Other

 

425

2.1

 

384

2.1

 

361

2.4

$

1,938

9.8

%

$

1,864

10.4

%

$

1,728

11.4

%

Selling, general and administrative expenses in 2022, as compared with 2021, increased primarily due to (i) strategic investments in our digital platform, including those that support our ongoing sustainability initiatives; (ii) higher annual incentive compensation costs and merit increases for our employees; (iii) increased business travel and entertainment expense and (iv) an increase in provision for bad debts, partially offset by (i) lower long-term incentive compensation costs; (ii) market adjustments for deferred compensation plans related to investment performance and (iii) lower litigation costs.

Selling, general and administrative expenses in 2021, as compared with 2020, increased primarily due to (i) higher incentive compensation costs; (ii) strategic investments in our digital platform and (iii) increased labor, support and integration costs following our acquisition of Advanced Disposal. Partially offsetting these increases are lower consulting, advisory and legal fees following the completion of our acquisition of Advanced Disposal in 2020 and improvements in our provision for bad debts as collections returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Although our costs increased in 2022 and 2021, the significant revenue increases positioned us to reduce our overall selling, general and administrative expenses as a percentage of revenues when compared with each of the prior year periods.

Significant items affecting the comparison of our selling, general and administrative expenses between reported periods include:

Labor and Related Benefits — The decrease in labor and related benefits costs in 2022, as compared with 2021, was primarily due to (i) lower long-term incentive compensation costs; (ii) reductions in contract labor and (iii) market adjustments for deferred compensation plans related to investment performance, partially offset by higher annual incentive compensation and annual merit increases for our employees. The increase in labor and related benefits costs in 2021, as compared with 2020, was primarily due to (i) higher incentive compensation costs; (ii) additional headcount, including from our acquisition of Advanced Disposal; (iii) annual merit increases for our employees; (iv) costs associated with our strategic investments in our digital platform and (v) increases in health and welfare costs attributable to medical care activities generally returning to pre-pandemic levels from the lower level experienced during 2020.

Professional Fees — The increase in professional fees in 2022, as compared with 2021, was primarily driven by strategic investments in our digital platform, including those that support our ongoing sustainability initiatives, partially

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offset by lower acquisition and integration costs. Professional fees decreased in 2021, as compared with 2020, primarily due to lower consulting, advisory and legal fees following the completion of our acquisition of Advanced Disposal in 2020, partially offset by increased strategic investments in our digital platform and integration costs related to our acquisition of Advanced Disposal.

Provision for Bad Debts — The increase in provision for bad debts in 2022, as compared with 2021, is primarily related to (i) increased revenue; (ii) increased collection risk with certain customers and (iii) favorable adjustments to our reserves taken in 2021 as a result of improvement in customer account collections. The decrease in provision for bad debts in 2021, as compared with 2020, was primarily due to an overall improvement in customer account collections and decreased collection risk with certain customers.

Other — The increase in other expenses in 2022, as compared with 2021, was primarily driven by costs associated with technology infrastructure to support our strategic investments in our digital platform and an increase in business travel and entertainment expense, partially offset by lower litigation costs. The increase in other expenses in 2021, as compared with 2020, was primarily driven by costs associated with our acquisition of Advanced Disposal and increased technology infrastructure costs to support our strategic investments in our digital platform.

Depreciation, Depletion and Amortization Expenses

The following table summarizes the components of our depreciation, depletion and amortization expenses for the year ended December 31 (dollars in millions and as a percentage of revenues):

    

2022

    

2021

    

2020

 

Depreciation of tangible property and equipment

$

1,155

    

5.9

%

$

1,125

    

6.2

%

$

996

    

6.6

%

Depletion of landfill airspace

 

754

3.8

 

731

4.1

 

568

3.7

Amortization of intangible assets

 

129

0.6

 

143

0.8

 

107

0.7

$

2,038

10.3

%

$

1,999

11.1

%

$

1,671

11.0

%

The increase in depreciation of tangible property and equipment in 2022, as compared with 2021, was primarily driven by investments in capital assets, including containers to service our customers and strategic investments in our digital platform. The increase in depletion of landfill airspace in 2022, as compared with 2021, was primarily driven by changes in depletion rates from revisions in landfill cost estimates and increased volumes at our landfills, partially offset by a prior year charge due to management’s decision to close a landfill in our West Tier segment earlier than expected, resulting in the acceleration of the timing of capping, closure, and post-closure activities. The decrease in amortization of intangible assets in 2022, as compared with 2021, was primarily driven by the amortization of acquired intangible assets from the acquisition of Advanced Disposal.

The increase in depreciation of tangible property and equipment in 2021, as compared with 2020, was related to our acquisition of Advanced Disposal and investments in capital assets, including our fleet, heavy equipment at our landfills and containers to service our customers. The increase in depletion of landfill airspace in 2021, as compared with 2020, was driven by (i) changes in depletion rates driven by revisions in landfill estimates, including a $15 million charge due to management’s decision to close a landfill in our West Tier segment earlier than expected; (ii) our acquisition of Advanced Disposal and (iii) landfill volume increases associated with the economic recovery from COVID-driven impacts. Additionally, 2020 benefited from a decrease in the inflation rate used to estimate capping, closure, and post-closure asset retirement obligations. The increase in amortization of intangible assets in 2021, as compared with 2020, was primarily driven by the amortization of acquired intangible assets related to the acquisition of Advanced Disposal.

Restructuring

During the year ended December 31, 2021, we recognized $8 million of restructuring charges primarily related to our acquisition of Advanced Disposal. During the year ended December 31, 2020, we recognized $9 million of restructuring

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charges primarily related to modifying our field sales and customer services structures to better support our strategic investments in our digital platform.

(Gain) Loss from Divestitures, Asset Impairments and Unusual Items, Net

The following table summarizes the major components of (gain) loss from divestitures, asset impairments and unusual items, net for the year ended December 31 (in millions):

    

2022

    

2021

    

2020

Gain from divestitures, net

$

(5)

$

(44)

$

(33)

Asset impairments

 

50

 

8

 

68

Other

 

17

 

20

 

$

62

$

(16)

$

35

For the year ended December 31, 2022, we recognized $62 million of net charges consisting of (i) $50 million of asset impairment charges primarily related to management’s decision to close two landfills within our East Tier segment and (ii) a $17 million charge pertaining to reserves for loss contingencies in our Corporate and Other segment to adjust an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary’s estimated potential share of the liability for a proposed environmental remediation plan at a closed site, as discussed in Note 10 to the Consolidated Financial Statements. These losses were partially offset by a $5 million gain from the divestiture of a solid waste business in our West Tier segment.

For the year ended December 31, 2021, we recognized net gains of $16 million primarily consisting of (i) a $35 million pre-tax gain from the recognition of cumulative translation adjustments on the divestiture of certain non-strategic Canadian operations in our East Tier segment and (ii) an $8 million gain from divestitures of certain ancillary operations in our Other segment. These gains were partially offset by (i) a $20 million charge pertaining to reserves for loss contingencies in our Corporate and Other segment and (ii) $8 million of asset impairment charges primarily related to our WM Renewable Energy business within our Other segment.

For the year ended December 31, 2020, we recognized $35 million of net charges primarily related to (i) a $33 million net gain associated with net asset divestitures executed to address requirements of the U.S. Department of Justice in connection with our acquisition of Advanced Disposal, primarily within our West Tier segment; (ii) $41 million of non-cash impairment charges primarily related to two landfills and an oil field waste injection facility in our West Tier segment; (iii) a $20 million non-cash impairment charge in our East Tier segment due to management’s decision to close a landfill once its constructed airspace is filled and abandon any remaining permitted airspace and (iv) $7 million of net charges primarily related to non-cash impairments of certain assets within our WM Renewable Energy business in our Other segment.

See Note 2 to the Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information related to the accounting policy and analysis involved in identifying and calculating impairments.

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Income from Operations

The following table summarizes income from operations for the year ended December 31 (dollars in millions):

Period-to-

 

Period-to-

Period

 

Period

    

2022

    

Change

    

2021

    

Change

    

2020

Solid Waste:

 

  

 

  

    

  

  

 

  

    

  

  

East Tier

$

2,249

$

212

 

10.4

%  

$

2,037

$

365

 

21.8

%  

$

1,672

West Tier

 

2,346

 

243

 

11.6

 

2,103

 

303

 

16.8

 

1,800

Solid Waste

 

4,595

 

455

 

11.0

 

4,140

 

668

 

19.2

 

3,472

Other (a)

 

26

 

(8)

 

*

 

34

 

76

 

*

 

(42)

Corporate and Other (b)

(1,256)

(47)

3.9

(1,209)

(213)

21.4

(996)

Total

$

3,365

$

400

 

13.5

%  

$

2,965

$

531

 

21.8

%  

$

2,434

Percentage of revenues

17.1

%

 

16.5

%

 

16.0

%

* Percentage change does not provide a meaningful comparison.

(a)“Other” includes (i) elements of our WMSBS business that are not included in the operations of our reportable segments; (ii) elements of our sustainability business that includes landfill gas-to-energy operations managed by our WM Renewable Energy business, our SES business and recycling brokerage services and not included in the operations of our reportable segments; (iii) certain other expanded service offerings and solutions and (iv) the results of non-operating entities that provide financial assurance and self-insurance support for our Solid Waste business, net of intercompany activity.
(b)“Corporate and Other” operating results reflect certain costs incurred for various support services that are not allocated to our reportable segments. These support services include, among other things, treasury, legal, digital, tax, insurance, centralized service center processes, other administrative functions and the maintenance of our closed landfills. Income from operations for “Corporate and Other” also includes costs associated with our long-term incentive program.

Solid Waste — The most significant items affecting the results of operations of our Solid Waste business during the three years ended December 31, 2022 are summarized below:

Income from operations in our Solid Waste business increased in 2022, as compared with 2021, primarily due to revenue growth in our collection and disposal businesses driven by both yield and volume. This increase was partially offset by (i) inflationary cost pressures; (ii) labor cost increases from frontline employee wage adjustments; (iii) divestitures, asset impairments and unusual items discussed above in (Gain) Loss from Divestitures, Asset Impairments and Unusual Items, Net; that impacted our East Tier results and (iv) reduced profitability in our recycling business from the decline in recycling commodity prices and lower volumes.
Income from operations in our Solid Waste business increased in 2021, as compared with 2020, primarily due to (i) revenue growth in our collection and disposal businesses driven by both yield and volume, as well as the acquisition of Advanced Disposal; (ii) improved profitability in our recycling business from higher market prices for recycling commodities and improved costs at facilities where we have made investments in enhanced technology and equipment and (iii) changes from divestitures, asset impairments and unusual items discussed above in (Gain) Loss from Divestitures, Asset Impairments and Unusual Items, Net that impacted both Tiers’ results. These increases were partially offset by (i) labor cost pressure from frontline employee wage adjustments, increased turnover driving up training costs and higher overtime due to driver shortages and volume growth; (ii) increased landfill depletion from higher volumes and revisions in landfill estimates, including the anticipated timing of capping, closure and post-closure activities at certain landfills and adjustments in 2020 to the inflation rate used to estimate capping, closure, and post-closure asset retirement obligations that benefitted costs in 2020 and (iii) inflationary cost pressures. During 2021, the positive earnings contributions from Advanced Disposal were offset by elevated depreciation, depletion and amortization of acquired assets.

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Other — The decrease in income from operations in 2022, as compared with 2021, was due to the recognition of acquisition and integration-related costs, as well as, a prior year gain from divestitures of certain ancillary operations in our Other segment, discussed above in (Gain) Loss from Divestitures, Asset Impairments and Unusual Items, Net, partially offset by improved profitability in our SES and WMSBS businesses. The increase in income from operations for 2021, as compared to 2020, was primarily driven by increased market values for renewable energy credits generated by our WM Renewable Energy business.

Corporate and Other — The most significant items affecting the results of operations for Corporate and Other during the three years ended December 31, 2022 are summarized below:

These costs increased in 2022, as compared with 2021, primarily due to strategic investments in our digital platform and sustainability initiatives, partially offset by lower acquisition and integration related costs.
These costs increased in 2021, as compared with 2020, due to (i) higher incentive compensation costs; (ii) increased labor, support and integration costs following our acquisition of Advanced Disposal; (iii) strategic investments in our digital platform; (iv) increased health and welfare costs attributable to medical care activity generally returning to pre-pandemic levels from the lower levels experienced during 2020 and (v) charges pertaining to reserves for certain loss contingencies during 2021. These increases were partially offset by lower consulting, advisory and legal fees following the completion of our acquisition of Advanced Disposal in the fourth quarter of 2020 and changes in the measurement of our environmental remediation obligations and recovery assets in both 2020 and 2021.

Interest Expense, Net

Our interest expense, net was $378 million, $365 million and $425 million in 2022, 2021 and 2020, respectively. The increase in interest expense, net for 2022 was primarily related to borrowings incurred under our $1.0 billion two-year, U.S. term credit agreement (“Term Loan”) and increases in interest rates on our floating-rate debt, including commercial paper and variable-rate tax-exempt bonds. Partially offsetting these increases were benefits from higher capitalized interest and increases in interest income as a result of higher cash and cash equivalent balances.

The decrease in interest expense, net for 2021 was primarily due to certain refinancing activities, as discussed further below, including (i) the redemption of $3.0 billion of senior notes in July 2020 and the issuance of $2.5 billion of senior notes in November 2020 at lower rates and (ii) the retirement of $1.3 billion of certain high-coupon senior notes and concurrent issuance of $950 million of lower coupon senior notes in May 2021. The decreases were partially offset by decreases in interest income as a result of lower cash and cash equivalents balances in 2021. See Note 6 to the Consolidated Financial Statements for more information related to our debt balances.

Loss on Early Extinguishment of Debt, Net

In May 2021, WMI issued $950 million of senior notes. Concurrently, we used the net proceeds from the newly issued senior notes of $942 million and available cash on hand to retire $1.3 billion of certain high-coupon senior notes. The loss on early extinguishment of debt for 2021 includes $220 million of charges related to this tender offer, including cash paid of $211 million related to premiums and other third-party costs, and $9 million primarily related to unamortized discounts and debt issuance costs. See Note 6 to the Consolidated Financial Statements for more information related to these transactions.

In July 2020, we recognized a $52 million loss on early extinguishment of debt in our Consolidated Statement of Operations related to the mandatory redemption of $3.0 billion of senior notes with a special mandatory redemption feature (the “SMR Notes”). The loss includes $30 million of premiums paid and $22 million of unamortized discounts and debt issuance costs. Pursuant to the terms of the SMR Notes, we were required to redeem all of such outstanding notes paying debt holders 101% of the aggregate principal amounts of such notes, plus accrued but unpaid interest, as a result of the Advanced Disposal acquisition not being completed by July 14, 2020. Accordingly, the redemption was completed on

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July 20, 2020 using available cash on hand and, to a lesser extent, commercial paper borrowings. The cash paid included the $3.0 billion principal amount of debt redeemed, $30 million of related premiums and $8 million of accrued interest.

During the fourth quarter of 2020, we repaid the outstanding borrowings under a 364-day revolving credit facility and contemporaneously terminated the facility, at which time we recognized a $2 million loss on early extinguishment of debt in our Consolidated Statement of Operations related to unamortized debt issuance costs. Additionally, at the time of acquisition, Advanced Disposal had outstanding $425 million of 5.625% senior notes due November 2024. In November 2020, we redeemed the notes pursuant to an optional redemption feature upon which we recognized a $1 million gain on early extinguishment of debt in our Consolidated Statement of Operations due to the difference in carrying value and redemption price.

Equity in Net Losses of Unconsolidated Entities

We recognized equity in net losses of unconsolidated entities of $67 million, $36 million and $68 million in 2022, 2021 and 2020, respectively. The losses for each period were primarily related to our noncontrolling interests in entities established to invest in and manage low-income housing properties. We generate tax benefits, including tax credits, from the losses incurred from these investments, which are discussed further in Notes 8 and 18 to the Consolidated Financial Statements. We also held a residual financial interest in an entity that owned a refined coal facility that qualified for federal tax credits. In 2020, the entity sold the majority of its assets resulting in a $7 million non-cash impairment charge at that time.

Income Tax Expense

We recorded income tax expense of $678 million, $532 million and $397 million in 2022, 2021 and 2020, respectively, resulting in effective income tax rates of 23.2%, 22.6% and 20.9% for the years ended December 31, 2022, 2021 and 2020, respectively. The comparability of our income tax expense for the reported periods has been primarily affected by the following:

Investments Qualifying for Federal Tax Credits — Our low-income housing properties investments reduced our income tax expense by $99 million, $74 million and $87 million, primarily due to tax credits realized from these investments for the years ended December 31, 2022, 2021 and 2020, respectively. See Note 18 to the Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information related to these unconsolidated variable interest entities;
Equity-Based Compensation — During 2022, 2021 and 2020, we recognized a reduction in our income tax expense of $17 million, $18 million and $27 million, respectively, for excess tax benefits related to the vesting or exercise of equity-based compensation awards;
State Net Operating Losses and Credits — During 2022, 2021 and 2020, we recognized state net operating losses and credits resulting in a reduction in our income tax expense of $8 million, $15 million and $12 million, respectively;
Tax Audit Settlements — We file income tax returns in the U.S. and Canada, as well as other state and local jurisdictions. We are currently under audit by various taxing authorities and our audits are in various stages of completion. During the reported periods, we settled various tax audits, which resulted in a reduction in our income tax expense of $6 million, $13 million and $10 million for the years ended December 31, 2022, 2021 and 2020, respectively;
Adjustments to Accruals and Related Deferred Taxes — Adjustments to our accruals and related deferred taxes primarily due to the filing of our income tax returns, analysis of our deferred tax balances and uncertain tax positions, and changes in state and foreign laws resulted in an increase in our income tax expense of $1 million and $17 million for the years ended December 31, 2022 and 2021, respectively, and a reduction in our income tax expense of $3 million for the year ended December 31, 2020;
Tax Implications of Divestitures – During 2021, we recognized a pre-tax gain from the recognition of cumulative translation adjustments on the divestiture of certain non-strategic Canadian operations. This gain was not taxable, which benefited our effective income tax rate for the year ended December 31, 2021;

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Non-Deductible Transaction Costs — During 2020, we recognized the detrimental tax impact of $27 million of non-deductible transaction costs related to our acquisition of Advanced Disposal. The tax rules require the capitalization of certain facilitative costs on the acquisition of stock of a company resulting in the applicable costs not being deductible for tax purposes; and
Tax Legislation — The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (“IRA”) was signed into law by President Biden on August 16, 2022 and contains a number of tax-related provisions. The provisions of the IRA related to alternative fuel tax credits secure approximately $55 million of annual pre-tax benefit (to be recorded as a reduction in our operating expense) from tax credits through 2024, which is in line with the benefit we have realized from our alternative fuel tax credits in prior years. Additionally, we will incur an excise tax of 1% for future common stock repurchases, which will be reflected in the cost of purchasing the underlying shares as a component of treasury stock. The IRA contains a number of additional provisions related to tax incentives for investments in renewable energy production, carbon capture, and other climate actions, as well as the overall measurement of corporate income taxes. Given the complexity and uncertainty around the applicability of the legislation to our specific facts and circumstances, we continue to analyze the IRA provisions to identify and quantify potential opportunities and applicable benefits included in the legislation. The current expectation is the minimum corporate tax will not have an impact on the Company. With respect to only the investment tax credit aspect of the IRA, we expect the cumulative benefit to be between $250 million and $350 million, a large portion of which is anticipated to be realized in 2025. Additionally, the production tax credit incentives for investments in renewable energy and the carbon capture provisions of the IRA will likely result in incremental benefit, although at this time the amount of those benefits have not been quantified.

See Note 8 to the Consolidated Financial Statements for more information related to income taxes.

Landfill and Environmental Remediation Discussion and Analysis

We owned or operated 254 solid waste landfills and five secure hazardous waste landfills as of December 31, 2022 and 255 solid waste landfills and five secure hazardous waste landfills as of December 31, 2021. For these landfills, the following table reflects changes in capacity, as measured in tons of waste, for the year ended December 31 and remaining airspace, measured in cubic yards of waste, as of December 31 (in millions):

2022

2021

Remaining

Remaining

Permitted

 Expansion

Total

Permitted

Expansion

Total

Capacity

Capacity

Capacity

Capacity

Capacity

Capacity

Balance as of beginning of year (in tons)

4,889

174

5,063

4,891

191

5,082

Acquisitions, divestitures, newly permitted landfills and closures

 

163

 

 

163

 

(4)

 

 

(4)

Changes in expansions pursued (a)

 

 

62

 

62

 

 

105

 

105

Expansion permits granted (b)

 

57

 

(57)

 

 

126

 

(126)

 

Depletable tons received

 

(125)

 

 

(125)

 

(124)

 

 

(124)

Changes in engineering estimates and other (c) (d)

 

181

 

11

 

192

 

 

4

 

4

Balance as of end of year (in tons) (e)

 

5,165

 

190

 

5,355

 

4,889

 

174

 

5,063

Balance as of end of year (in cubic yards) (e)

 

5,079

 

180

 

5,259

 

4,808

 

163

 

4,971

(a)Amounts reflected here relate to the combined impacts of (i) new expansions pursued; (ii) increases or decreases in the airspace being pursued for ongoing expansion efforts; (iii) adjustments for differences between the airspace being pursued and airspace granted and (iv) decreases due to decisions to no longer pursue expansion permits, if any.
(b)We received expansion permits at 12 of our landfills during 2022 and seven of our landfills during 2021, demonstrating our continued success in working with municipalities and regulatory agencies to expand the disposal airspace of our existing landfills.
(c)Changes in engineering estimates can result in changes to the estimated available remaining airspace of a landfill or changes in the utilization of such landfill airspace, affecting the number of tons that can be placed in the future. Estimates of the amount of waste that can be placed in the future are reviewed annually by our engineers and are based on a number of factors, including standard engineering techniques and site-specific factors such as current and

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projected mix of waste type; initial and projected waste density; estimated number of years of life remaining; depth of underlying waste; anticipated access to moisture through precipitation or recirculation of landfill leachate and operating practices. We continually focus on improving the utilization of airspace through efforts that may include recirculating landfill leachate where allowed by permit; optimizing the placement of daily cover materials and increasing initial compaction through improved landfill equipment, operations and training.
(d)In 2022, a change in accounting estimate resulted in an increase of 190 million tons across certain landfills.
(e)See Note 2 to the Consolidated Financial Statements for discussion of converting remaining cubic yards of airspace to tons of capacity.

The depletable tons received at our landfills for the year ended December 31 are shown below (tons in thousands):

2022

2021

    

# of

    

Depletable

    

Tons per

    

# of

    

Depletable

    

Tons per

    

Sites

    

Tons

    

Day

    

Sites

    

Tons

    

Day

Solid waste landfills (a)

 

254

(b)

123,462

 

452

 

255

 

123,163

 

451

Hazardous waste landfills

 

5

 

652

 

2

 

5

 

586

 

2

 

259

 

124,114

 

454

 

260

 

123,749

 

453

Solid waste landfills closed, divested or lease or other contractual agreement expired during related year

 

4

 

633

 

  

 

9

 

114

 

  

 

  

 

124,747

  

 

  

 

123,863

(c)

  

(a)As of December 31, 2022 and 2021, we had 15 landfills and 14 landfills, respectively, which were not accepting waste.
(b)In 2022, we (i) executed one new contractual agreement; (ii) reopened one previously closed landfill; (iii) developed one new landfill; (iv) closed three landfills and (v) closed one landfill operated under contractual agreement.
(c)December 31, 2021 tons have been restated for comparability purposes by removing 1.6 million tons received at the landfill that were not depleted as they were used for beneficial purposes and generally were redirected from the permitted airspace to other areas of the landfill.

As of December 31, 2022, we owned or controlled the management of 231 sites with remedial activities, are in closure or have received a certification of closure or post-closure from the applicable regulatory agency.

Based on remaining permitted airspace as of December 31, 2022 and projected annual disposal volume, the weighted average remaining landfill life for all of our owned or operated landfills is approximately 39 years. Many of our landfills have the potential for expanded airspace beyond what is currently permitted. We monitor the availability of permitted airspace at each of our landfills and evaluate whether to pursue an expansion at a given landfill based on estimated future disposal volume, disposal prices, construction and operating costs, remaining airspace and likelihood of obtaining an expansion permit. We are seeking expansion permits at 16 of our landfills that meet the expansion criteria outlined in the Critical Accounting Estimates and Assumptions — Landfills section below. Although no assurances can be made that all future expansions will be permitted or permitted as designed, the weighted average remaining landfill life for all owned or operated landfills is approximately 40 years when considering remaining permitted airspace, expansion airspace and projected annual disposal volume.

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The number of landfills owned or operated as of December 31, 2022, segregated by their estimated operating lives based on remaining permitted and expansion airspace and projected annual disposal volume, was as follows:

    

 # of Landfills

0 to 5 years

 

28

6 to 10 years

 

23

11 to 20 years

 

53

21 to 40 years

 

62

41+ years

 

93

Total

 

259

(a)

(a)Of the 259 landfills, 218 are owned, 29 are operated under lease agreements and 12 are operated under other contractual agreements. For the landfills not owned, we are usually responsible for final capping, closure and post-closure obligations.

Landfill Assets — We capitalize various costs that we incur to prepare a landfill to accept waste. These costs generally include expenditures for land (including the landfill footprint and required landfill buffer property), permitting, excavation, liner material and installation, landfill leachate collection systems, landfill gas collection systems, environmental monitoring equipment for groundwater and landfill gas, directly related engineering, capitalized interest, and on-site road construction and other capital infrastructure costs. The cost basis of our landfill assets also includes estimates of future costs associated with landfill final capping, closure and post-closure activities, which are discussed further below.

The changes to the cost basis of our landfill assets and accumulated landfill airspace depletion for the year ended December 31, 2022 are reflected in the table below (in millions):

    

    

Accumulated

    

Net Book

Cost Basis of

Landfill Airspace

Value of

    

Landfill Assets

    

Depletion

    

Landfill Assets

December 31, 2021

$

17,734

$

(10,390)

$

7,344

Capital additions

 

791

 

 

791

Asset retirement obligations incurred and capitalized

 

114

 

 

114

Depletion of landfill airspace

 

 

(754)

 

(754)

Foreign currency translation

 

(81)

 

36

 

(45)

Asset retirements and other adjustments

 

(32)

 

212

 

180

December 31, 2022

$

18,526

$

(10,896)

$

7,630

As of December 31, 2022, we estimate that we will spend approximately $731 million in 2023, and approximately $1.6 billion in 2024 and 2025 combined, for the construction and development of our landfill assets. The specific timing of landfill capital spending is dependent on future events and spending estimates are subject to change due to fluctuations in landfill waste volumes, changes in environmental requirements and other factors impacting landfill operations.

Landfill and Environmental Remediation Liabilities — As we accept waste at our landfills, we incur significant asset retirement obligations, which include liabilities associated with landfill final capping, closure and post-closure activities. These liabilities are accounted for in accordance with authoritative guidance on accounting for asset retirement obligations and are discussed in Note 2 to the Consolidated Financial Statements. We also have liabilities for the remediation of properties that have incurred environmental damage, which generally was caused by operations or for damage caused by conditions that existed before we acquired operations or a site. We recognize environmental remediation liabilities when we determine that the liability is probable and the estimated cost for the likely remedy can be reasonably estimated.

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The changes to landfill and environmental remediation liabilities for the year ended December 31, 2022 are reflected in the table below (in millions):

Environmental

    

Landfill

    

Remediation

December 31, 2021

$

2,326

$

213

Obligations incurred and capitalized

 

114

  

 

Obligations settled

 

(121)

  

 

(28)

Interest accretion

 

108

  

 

4

Revisions in estimates and interest rate assumptions (a)

 

243

  

 

15

Acquisitions, divestitures and other adjustments

 

(6)

  

 

December 31, 2022

$

2,664

$

204

(a)In 2021, the increase in our landfill liabilities for revisions in estimates and interest rate assumptions was $33 million. The increase in our landfill liabilities in 2022 is primarily due to inflationary cost pressures that are expected to impact costs over the remaining landfill lives.

Landfill Operating Costs — The following table summarizes our landfill operating costs for the year ended December 31 (in millions):

    

2022

    

2021

    

2020

Interest accretion on landfill liabilities

$

108

$

108

$

103

Interest accretion on and discount rate adjustments to environmental remediation liabilities and recovery assets

 

(10)

 

(2)

 

9

Leachate and methane collection and treatment

 

193

 

183

 

189

Landfill remediation costs

 

12

 

6

 

1

Other landfill site costs

 

118

 

117

 

92

Total landfill operating costs

$

421

$

412

$

394

Depletion of Landfill Airspace — Depletion of landfill airspace, which is included as a component of depreciation, depletion and amortization expenses, includes the following:

the depletion of landfill capital costs, including (i) costs that have been incurred and capitalized and (ii) estimated future costs for landfill development and construction required to develop our landfills to their remaining permitted and expansion airspace; and
the depletion of asset retirement costs arising from landfill final capping, closure and post-closure obligations, including (i) costs that have been incurred and capitalized and (ii) projected asset retirement costs.

Depletion expense is recorded on a units-of-consumption basis, applying cost as a rate per ton. The rate per ton is calculated by dividing each component of the depletable basis of a landfill (net of accumulated depletion) by the number of tons needed to fill the corresponding asset’s remaining permitted and expansion airspace. Landfill capital costs and closure and post-closure asset retirement costs are generally incurred to support the operation of the landfill over its entire operating life and are, therefore, depleted on a per-ton basis using a landfill’s total permitted and expansion airspace. Final capping asset retirement costs are related to a specific final capping event and are, therefore, depleted on a per-ton basis using each discrete final capping event’s estimated permitted and expansion airspace. Accordingly, each landfill has multiple per-ton depletion rates.

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The following table presents our landfill airspace depletion expense on a per-ton basis for the year ended December 31: