Waste Not, Want More: Union Pacific and WM Team Up for the Planet

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Hauling waste and recyclables is not only good business for Union Pacific, but also great for our planet.

Rail is the most fuel-efficient way to move freight over land – cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by up to 75% compared to commercial trucks, according to the Association of American Railroads. One Union Pacific locomotive can move a ton of freight 463 miles on a single gallon of fuel.

Union Pacific customer WM (formerly Waste Management) is well aware of those facts. In 2022, Union Pacific moved more containers for this customer than in any other single year.

Transporting waste by rail from Seattle to Arlington, Oregon, is part of WM’s work to minimize its carbon footprint. An added bonus: Union Pacific is a WM customer, using the company’s disposal facilities as a repository for hundreds of thousands of tons of waste collected annually from its rail yards.

“Working together is a great way for Union Pacific and WM to each achieve our environmental stewardship goals,” said Darren Wisniski, director, Marketing and Sales. “We’re helping transport waste in a carbon friendly way.”

As part of its Building a Sustainable Future 2030 approach, Union Pacific aims to divert waste from landfills while enhancing recycling and waste management initiatives. This shared interest in reducing GHG has become a mutually beneficial avenue for both Union Pacific and WM to grow business in a cost-effective and environmentally responsible way.

Union Pacific continues actively pursuing projects that involve shipping waste and recyclables – including scrap paper, recyclable plastics and fly ash – by rail beyond the Seattle area.

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