Within our operations, Stericycle leverages processes to minimize reliance on natural resources.
As a global leader in medical waste management and secure information destruction, we pride ourselves on the responsible and sustainable management of our operations. Over the last two years, we’ve focused on driving efficiencies, standardization, and resource reduction while planning infrastructure that we expect will improve our ability to support our customers well into the future.
To increase our understanding of our climate change impact, we began processes in 2020 to track our use of natural resources and greenhouse gas emissions. We filed our first CDP Climate Change Survey in July 2021 that reflected our greenhouse gas emissions and emission reduction activities from 2020. With this baseline report, we now understand the Company’s Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions and the sources of these emissions, which enables us to now evaluate opportunities to reduce our carbon footprint.
While Stericycle strives to use alternative, non-incineration methods for treating medical waste, incineration remains a regulatory requirement and/or a best practice in certain geographies or for certain types of medical waste that need to be chemically destroyed. In several of our incinerator locations across the globe, Stericycle leverages different types of waste-to-energy efforts as part of our processes.
We have begun a comprehensive, long-range planning process focused on our global facility network. Our goal is to optimize our facilities, including locality, with a strategic and standardized operating model. We are analyzing processing capabilities, plant and transportation equipment needs, team member requirements, and potential customer implications or benefits.
In 2020, Stericycle made significant improvements to its Regulated Waste Compliance Services and Secure Information Destruction collection routes in North America to increase efficiency and decrease miles driven. We identified duplicated movements to the same areas on multiple days of the week and reassessed the frequencies of collections required in each service territory, enabling us to reduce repetitive routes. Through these efforts we estimate improved efficiency of our collection routes for 290 of our North American facilities, a reduction of an estimated 909,400 miles and 113,675 gallons of diesel fuel consumed annually. Our route consolidation efforts decreased our greenhouse gas emissions by 1,170 metric tons annually.
Additionally, over the last three years we have expanded our Shred-it fleet of mobile collection vehicles across the U.S. As of year-end 2020, we had approximately 210 of these specially designed, oversized cargo vans on the road. The mobile collection vehicles securely store loose paper, enabling them to have a capacity equal to that of a box truck that transports documents stored in plastic containers. Their smaller size means improved fuel efficiency, which means lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Legislation and best practices for managing medical waste vary around the world. Incineration remains a necessary requirement to protect the public and the environment against contaminants, chemicals, and the spread of infectious diseases. As a worldwide leader in medical waste management, Stericycle operates its incinerators well below allowable emission limits at our medical waste incineration facilities.