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Global Waste Management Industry

The level of world waste produced continues to increase due to rising urbanization, which has created demand for effective waste management. The global waste management industry (a segment of the environmental services sector) is characterized by a high degree of fragmentation, and competition in this sector is intense, with significant entry barriers to the market, reports Koncept Analytics.

Governments are under pressure to ensure adequate waste reduction and recycling are provided for, and that the amount of space used for landfills is limited so as to reduce the threat of encroaching on valuable natural resources. Waste-to-energy technology is seeing increased levels of interest and investment, with private equity investments acting as significant growth drivers in the industry.

The expansion of waste management industry is fuelled by awareness of environmental issues, technological innovation, the need to conserve natural resources and state investment in waste disposal, reports Global Industry Analysts.


The world electronic waste management market is expected to maintain yearly growth of almost 18% between 2011 and 2015, according to research from TechNavio. Market growth is driven by valuable materials in e-waste and the need to limit toxins from these materials.

The global waste-to-energy (WTE) industry includes thermal and biological conversion technologies used to collect electricity and heat from municipal solid waste (MSW). WTE facilities are an important alternative to landfills as they reduce waste volumes by as much as 90%, and do not produce methane gas emissions. Pike Research estimates 2 billion tons of MSW was generated worldwide in 2011. The demand for WTE solutions continues to grow in tandem with population growth, rising standards of living and urbanization.

Though traditionally centered in Europe, the core of the global WTE industry is expected to shift to the Asia-Pacific region due to strong growth in China. Obstacles to growth include competition from the landfill sector and high upfront capital costs. While 70% of global MSW generated in 2011 was processed through landfills, WTE plants were responsible for treating just over 10%, with over 800 thermal WTE facilities operating in close to 40 countries.

Regional Market Share

The US non-hazardous waste management market is mature and represents a sizeable segment within the waste management industry. Private companies hold a large share of the market, according to Koncept Analytics. Growth is fuelled by environmental awareness and gross domestic product.

Brazil’s water infrastructure construction market recorded more than 16% yearly growth in the four-year period ending 2011, according to BRICDATA. Market growth is driven by government investment and legislative reforms.

Russia’s sewage infrastructure construction market exceeded 30% annual growth over the four-year period ending 2011. This expansion was fuelled by significant public-private partnerships, state spending and highway construction.

China dominates the global water infrastructure construction market, with almost 65% in 2011, followed by India (with just more than 15% market share), Brazil (almost 11%) and Russia (10%). China also represents close to 55% of the BRIC sewage infrastructure construction sector. Meanwhile, Russia accounts for 19% of the market, followed by India at 15% and Brazil at 13%.

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Parent industry: Environmental Services
Related industries: Recycling, Waste Decontamination, Water Distribution and Treatment

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