This excerpt taken from the WM 10-K filed Feb 16, 2010.
The development and acceptance of alternatives to landfill disposal and waste-to-energy facilities could reduce our ability to operate at full capacity.
Our customers are increasingly using alternatives to landfill and waste-to-energy disposal, such as recycling and composting and others are working to reduce the waste they generate. In addition, some state and local governments mandate recycling and waste reduction at the source and prohibit the disposal of certain types of waste, such as yard waste, at landfills or waste-to-energy facilities. Although such mandates are a useful tool to protect our environment, these developments reduce the volume of waste going to landfills and waste-to-energy facilities in certain areas, which may affect our ability to operate our landfills and waste-to-energy facilities at full capacity, as well as the prices that we can charge for landfill disposal and waste-to-energy services. Our landfills and our waste-to-energy facilities currently provide and have historically provided our highest operating margins. We have been expanding our service offerings and growing lines of businesses to have the ability to service waste streams that do not go to landfills or waste-to-energy facilities and to provide services for customers that wish to reduce waste entirely. However, it is reasonably possible that our revenues and our operating margins could be negatively affected due to disposal alternatives.