Industry Insights & Trends

U.S. Waste Management Trends and Key Players

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Application of digital technology in waste management, municipalities taking steps to eliminate or reduce food and organic waste, and compositing of biodegradable waste are some three trends in waste management. The top 10 players in the B2B waste management space include Waste Management Inc, Republic Services, Inc, Advanced Disposal Services, Clean Harbors, Inc, Covanta Holding Corporation, Avalon Holdings Corp, Waste Connections Inc, Waste Industries, Stericycle Inc and, Junk King.

Trends in waste management

1. Application of digital technology in waste management

  • Technology is playing a significant role in waste management, in the aspect of tracking a product during its life cycle to guarantee it is not disposed of irresponsibly.
  • New technologies in containers are supporting businesses to save money, reduce energy use, and improve operational efficiency. High tech containers presently incorporate features like capacity sensors and odor reduction systems. Bigbelly, an innovative new company, has produced solar-powered city waste containers that comprise a compactor to collect up to 8times more waste than a regular bin. According to the company, the bins decrease collections by 80%, “reducing associated fuel costs, CO2 emissions, and truck requirements.”
  • Waste management companies in the United States are utilizing mobile apps to request on-demand waste pickup services from factories and residential communities. The apps enable clients to alert the waste pickup companies every-time the waste disposal bins are full.
  • The United States waste management companies are investing in Robots to aid in waste recycling. Recology, one of the top waste management companies in the country completed an “$11 million upgrade, and intends to invest another $3 million in high-tech optical sorter robotics.” The nation’s top waste management company, Waste Management, perceives this trend to increase everywhere in the country.

2. Municipalities taking steps to eliminate or reduce food and organic waste

  • The Environmental Protection Agency calculates that a total of 39 million tons of food waste is generated yearly, which entails approximately 245 pounds of food waste per person each year. In an attempt to fight this increasing amount of food waste in the United States, government officials are proceeding to implement and support composting programs to reduce the volume of food waste.
  • According to research, pegging food waste produces about 18 percent to 35 percent of municipal waste. This means minimizing food waste offers an opportunity to decrease overall disposal difficulties such as “financial and logistical costs borne by municipalities, as well as providing other environmental, social, and financial benefits.”
  • In 2016, Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York City devised new laws that required restaurants, stadiums, hotels, and food manufacturers to recycle all of their food waste.
  • The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) formed the Food Recovery Hierarchy to assist guide preferences for controlling excess food. It utilizes the reuse, recycle approach used in materials recycling, with a bit more robustness and detail.

3. Compositing of biodegradable waste.

  • Compositing is providing a more desirable alternative to use the biowaste as valuable resources, instead of burning or dumping them. Biowaste produced from households, hospitals, restaurants, and farms can be composted to generate biofuels and fertilizers.
  • In 2018, the quantity of municipal solid waste(MSW) produced, recycled, and the amount composted was 292.4, 69.0, and 24.9 million tons respectively. Recycling and composting rates have increased over the years, from 6 percent generated in 1960 to 10 percent in 1980. From about 16 percent in 1990 to 29 percent in 2000, and about 35 percent in 2017. “It decreased to 32.1 percent in 2018.”
  • Waste to Energy (WTE) as a notion is growing a lot of acceptance. There is an increased weight to create compost infrastructure in the cities as well as in the farming regions. It will lead to better utilization of biowaste and also reduce the environmental impact prompted by dumping
  • The recycling and composting rates of paper and paperboard, glass, plastics, yard trimmings and, lead-acid batteries have mostly grown over the last 58 years. Yard trimmings increased from 62 percent in 2005 to 69 percent in 2017.

4. Consolidation Through Acquisition

  • One emerging trend in the B2B waste management industry in the United States is the application of consolidation via the acquisition of businesses operating within the sector. According to Waste360, the pace of acquisitions has been growing over the last couple of years, resulting in ramifications industry wide. The acceleration of acquisitions has created significant ripple effects for original equipment manufacturers, competitors, haulers, and trade associations.
  • Waste management businesses are being purchased by the likes of regional players, large national companies, and private equities at a remarkable pace. Key players in solid waste management and recycling are acquisitive, including Waste Management Inc., Waste Connections, Meridian Waste Services, and Casella Waste Systems, along with environmental, industrial, and specialty waste services suppliers.
  • Notable deals include Waste Management Inc.’s acquisition of Advanced Disposal Services, which was noted as being Waste Management’s biggest deal in decades. The acquisition was completed in October 2020 and the deal, which was announced in April 2019, was reportedly worth an estimated $4.6 billion. Both Waste Management Inc. and Advanced Disposal Services Inc. offer B2B waste management services.
  • In 2020, GFL Environmental Inc., a Canada-based waste management company with facilities in 27 U.S. states, acquired multiple waste management businesses in the United States, including County Waste and American Waste in deals worth $480 million and $380 million respectively. Also, GFL Environmental Inc. entered a deal in 2020 to purchase most of the divestitures mandated by the Department of Justice brought on by the acquisition of Advanced Disposal Services by Waste Management Inc., which includes 36 transfer stations, 18 landfills, and 32 collection operations. Furthermore, the company announced in August 2020 that it was planning to acquire WCA and its subsidiaries for about $1.2 billion.
  • Republic Services, which offers waste management services to businesses, is planning to complete its acquisition of Santek Waste Services and Devens Recycling. Other recent acquisition and merger deals in the B2B waste management space include Interstate Waste Services acquisition of Action Enviornmental Group, Waste Connections’ acquisition of Penn Waste, Macquarie Infrastructure Partners’ acquisition of Wheelabrator, and Macquarie Infrastructure Partners’ acquisition of Tunnel Hill Partners, among many others.
  • It is anticipated that the U.S. presidential election, along with potential growth in federal income tax rates and capital gains, will have a massive impact on the B2B waste management industry in regard to acquisitions, as the outcome may lead to more deals.
  • Several players within the industry have entered a stage in their history where they are willing to explore exit alternatives and liquidity and “desire to put their capital to work in M&A” even in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

5. Concern Over PFAS

  • Another trend in the B2B waste management space is the growing concern over the disposal of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). PFAS are a collection of numerous chemicals that have non-stick properties and are often considered to be “forever chemicals” as they are persistent and nearly indestructible. In 2019, the public began paying attention to PFAS due to the release of documentaries and movies on the topic, and the waste management industry is anticipated to act on PFAS disposal in the future.
  • While financial filings have revealed that many public businesses view the disposal of PFAS as a possible business opportunity, others operating in the solid waste field, including landfill operators, have become alarmed about potential federal and state regulations and alterations to the cost of leachates.
  • Waste Management Inc. has recently lobbied the federal government on the incineration of PFAS and discussions in the Department of Defense on PFAS. Meanwhile, Republic Services has also recently lobbied on PFAS.
  • Various industry filings have acknowledged expanding national awareness for PFAS, along with how it has made an impact on communities. Wastewater treatment facilities are struggling to address expenses linked to PFAS disposal and contamination concerns. Facilities in different states, such as Massachusetts and Maine, have been forced to cancel contracts with public companies due to attention gained from accepting leachate ladened with PFAS.
  • Recent 10-K filings have shown that Waste Management Inc. considers the treatment, disposal, and management of PFAS as “potential business opportunities.”
  • The Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF) has decided to fund three contracts to evaluate PFAS within landfill leachate, with the objective of comprehending them better and the effects they have on the waste management industry. There is an ongoing debate on the health implications regarding low-level exposure to PFAS. The U.S. House of Representatives at one point approved language in its version of the National Defense Authorization Act that designated PFAS compounds as being hazardous substances but removed such language from the bill.
  • The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) is studying issues with PFAS disposal and creating resources to assist member companies in addressing growing awareness and concerns regarding PFAS in leachate. Meanwhile, presentations on providing solutions to PFAS have become common at waste management conferences such as the Global Waste Managment Symposium, WasteExpo, SWANApalooza, and WASTECON. The top treatment options for PFAS waste include granular activated carbon (GAC), ion exchange (IX), and reverse osmosis (RO).

6. Use of Advanced Technology

  • Advanced/innovative technology is taking over the B2B waste management industry. One area of focus is the use of brand-new forms of monitoring technology throughout the industry as well as the Internet of Things (IoT). Businesses are implementing monitoring technology and IoT to advance waste bins in industrial settings to limit contamination and conserve resources.
  • A report published by Waste360 in early 2018 provided a list of eight technology trends in waste management highlighted by industry experts. These included the usage of robotics and optical sorting, mechanical biological treatment processing, forced aeration composting, driverless trucks, anaerobic digestion, AD technology, and IoT.
  • Waste management facilities are improving recycling equipment in an effort to reduce contamination. They are taking advantage of robotics that apply artificial intelligence, upgraded screens and film separation, and enhanced optical sorting.
  • In response to improving the safety of drivers and driver shortages in the nation, waste management companies are considering driverless/autonomous trucks with autonomous braking and collision avoidance systems to transport waste materials.
  • Emerging technologies being used at landfills in the United States and facilities that incinerate solid waste include pyrolysis, which is utilized for the treatment of organic material. It converts biomass into biochar and syngas, while converting waste plastics into usable oil and waste into disposable substances.

The top players in the B2B waste management space

The top 10 players in the B2B waste management space has been provided below.

1. Waste Management Inc.

  • The company has solid management that has a confirmed record of good strategic decision-making.
  • The success of Waste Management is in-line with its economy of scale. The company leverages several costs “savings up and down the value chain, which puts them way ahead of the competition. “
  • In 2019, Waste Management got awarded the world’s most admired company. They also received the award for the best company for millennials by Women’s choice award in 2018.
  • The company is among the top 10 players in the B2B waste management space because it’s listed by reliable media sources such as Globe Newswire, CBN, Expert Market, and more, as one of the key companies in the field.

2. Republic Services, Inc

  • The website is here.
  • The company holds the most extensive network of landfills, transfer stations, and recycling facilities in the industry. Together, the companies make up a broad competing moat around its business.
  • Republic Services grows its operations by obtaining smaller waste businesses.
  • The company is among the top 10 players in the B2B waste management space because it’s listed by reliable media sources such as Globe Newswire, CBN, Expert Market, and more, as one of the key companies in the field.

3. Advanced Disposal Services

  • The company’s website is here
  • The company has been acquired by Waste Management for a total sum of $4.6B. They now share the same uniqueness and competitive advantage with Waste Management.
  • The company’s success is based on how they achieve their results. They are committed to being accountable, honest, trustworthy, ethical, and compliant in all they do.
  • The company is among the top 10 players in the B2B waste management space because it’s listed by reliable media sources such as Globe Newswire, CBN, Expert Market, and more, as one of the key companies in the field.

4. Clean Harbors, Inc

  • The company’s website is here
  • The Company achieves its internal growth by increasing its network of service centers and penetrating the industrial maintenance services market.
  • Clean Harbors has merited reliability among its clients as the premier supplier of “environmental, energy, and industrial services based upon its quality, responsiveness, customer service, information technologies, breadth of product offerings, and cost-effectiveness.”
  • The company is among the top 10 players in the B2B waste management space because it’s listed by reliable media sources such as Globe newswire, CBN, Expert Market, and more, as one of the key companies in the field.

5. Covanta Holding Corporation

  • The company’s website is here
  • The company’s uniqueness is in the continuous improvement of its business and technology. Their unyielding desire to move our industry forward is what sets them apart from our competitors.
  • Covanta is “the first in the industry to hold a Partner Community Conference, bringing together client communities to discuss facility operations and technological advancements.”
  • The company is among the top 10 players in the B2B waste management space because it’s listed by reliable media sources such as Globe Newswire, CBN, Expert Market, and more, as one of the key companies in the field.

6. Avalon Holdings Corp.

  • The company’s website is here.
  • The company’s competitive advantage comes from its offering of better pricing and its superior products/service.
  • The company is among the top 10 players in the B2B waste management space because it’s listed by reliable media sources such as Globe Newswire, CBN, Expert Market, and more as one of the key companies in the field.

7. Waste Connections Inc

  • The website is here
  • Broad Range of Services: We offer our customers a broad range of services. We work with businesses across a number of industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, and retail to safely and efficiently dispose of regulated materials, ensure regulatory compliance, improve employee and customer safety, protect their brands, improve communications with patients, and manage corporate and personal risk.
  • The company is among the top 10 players in the B2B waste management space because it’s listed by reliable media sources such as Globe new wire, CBN, Expert Market, and more, as one of the key companies in the field.

8. Waste Industries

  • The website is here
  • The company’s success comes from its ability to expand its presence in new and existing markets in the Southeastern U.S.
  • They offer their customers cost-effective, responsive, and environmentally sound solutions.
  • The company is among the top 10 players in the B2B waste management space because it’s listed by reliable media sources such as Globe Newswire, CBN, Expert Market, and more, as one of the key companies in the field.

9. Stericycle Inc.

  • The website is here
  • The company offers its customers a broad range of services. “They work with businesses across a number of industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, and retail to safely and efficiently dispose of regulated materials, ensure regulatory compliance, improve employee and customer safety, protect their brands, improve communications with patients, and manage corporate and personal risk.”
  • Their ability to Integrate acquisition is the root of the company’s success.
  • The company is among the top 10 players in the B2B waste management space because it’s listed by reliable media sources such as Globe Newswire, CBN, Expert Market, and more, as one of the key companies in the field.

10. Junk King

  • The company’s website is here
  • The company is centered around recycling. It operations revolve around a warehouse based recycling hub.
  • They have king-sized trucks, which serve as a significant competitive advantage to their competitors. The company’s trucks are 20% bigger than their nearest competitors. Bigger trucks mean more jobs per day.
  • The company is among the top 10 players in the B2B waste management space because it’s listed by reliable media sources such as Globe Newswire, CBN, Expert Market, and more, as one of the key companies in the field.
GLENN TREVOR
Glenn is the Lead Operations Research Analyst at Simple Manifestation with experience in research, statistical data analysis and interview techniques. A holder of degree in Economics. A true specialist in quantitative and qualitative research.

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