Although Recology is a private company it has disclosed revenue figures as recently as 2015, when total sales were near $800 million. The company is quite transparent in financial results for its Sunset Scavenger and Golden Gate operations in San Francisco, where as a rate order applicant it must comply with activity and financial reporting requirements. The most recent report for the year ending June 2016, revealed $419.8 million in total sales for this segment, of which 4% was from recycling revenue, 40% was from tipping fees and 56% was from collection fees from commercial and residential customers. The company handled a total of 909,485 tons of waste in the year, of which 499,636 tons were diverted from landfills.
Although Recology likes to portray itself as a solid waste player set far apart from the typical garbage collector, its profile is quite similar. It operates collection trucks that trundle waste off to transfer stations and ultimately to landfills. Its infrastructure is composed of the same sorting and processing equipment that can be found at any solid waste management company. All the established players in the solid waste industry have engaged to one extent or another in the same waste recovery and recycling activities as Recology, earning extra revenue on recycled paper, plastic and glass, selling compost and converting landfill methane gas to electricity. Indeed, Covanta (CVA: NSYE) has made waste-to-energy it’s a top focus and looks at garbage collection as feedstock sourcing. Covanta’s landfill in Marion County, Oregon, with its waste-to-energy facility, has been in operation for thirty years. The recycling rate in that community was over 50% based on collection and diversion activity in 2015. Likewise Waste Management notes in its marketing and sales materials that “zero landfill” is the ultimate goal and closed-loop solutions are on its menu of services.