Million Tonnes

of materials diverted from landfills in 2019


Billion Dollars

in annual revenue


Tonnes of Avoided Emissions

GFL's services avoided 3.15 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in 2019

View Our Analysis

The Path to Drawdown: Recycling

Project Drawdown considers recycling as the recovery of recyclable post-consumer waste (like glass, plastic, metals, etc.) from the industrial and residential sectors of the economy. Recycling replaces the disposal of recyclable materials in landfills and alleviates the need to use virgin material for production.

Up to half of all waste comes from households, and in some high-income countries, more than 50% of that waste is recyclable material.

Household recycling can reduce emissions because producing new products from recovered materials often saves energy. For example, forging recycled aluminum products requires 95% less energy than creating them from virgin materials.

Project Drawdown estimates that by 2050, a serious commitment to recycling can help avoid 6.02 gigatons of GHG emissions. To get there, recycling practices need to be adopted much more widely that they are now:

  • <::marker> In 2014, 27% of recyclable waste was recycled
  • <::marker> By 2050, 68% of recyclable materials need to be recycled
  • <::marker> That’s 2.6% CAGR between 2014 and 2050

If we can achieve that 68% recycling scenario, we can avoid up to 6.02 gigatons of GHG emissions.

What We Want to See Improve

Electrify the Fleet

GFL owns 5,546 solid and liquid waste collection trucks (p. 1). We applaud them for taking steps to lower emissions - such as switching some of their vehicles to compressed natural gas - but these steps are far from satisfactory. In particular, compressed natural gas is lower-emitting than gasoline, but still emits significant greenhouse gases from the extracting, procession, distributing and burning processes. We urge GFL to electrify their fleet, or transition to green hydrogen, so that their fleet achieves zero emissions as soon as possible.

Track Scope 2 and 3 Emissions

We applaud GFL for publishing their inaugural SASB Report in 2019, in which they disclose their scope 1 emissions. But for most companies, scope 2 and 3 account for the vast majority of emissions. We would like their next round of reports to include these metrics so that investors and other stakeholders can evaluate the full scope of GFL’s carbon footprint.

Switch to a Clean Bank

GFL has repeatedly entered into credit agreements with Barclays Bank (p. 10). But unfortunately Barclays is one of the largest funders of fossil fuels, and the largest UK bank that invests in coal power (p. 9). We urge GFL to seek out banks that, on principle, do not fund carbon-emitting industries for their loans in the future.

Related Recycling Stocks in the Climate Index

View All Climate Index Stocks →

Allocated Company Description


GFL Environmental (GFL)

GFL Environmental offers waste manage and household recycling services. Household recycling is needed to reduce virgin material use and emissions


Quest Resource Holding Corporation (QRHC)

Quest Resource provides recycling services for household waste of all kinds like oils, plastics, cardboard, tires, paper - you name it

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