Municipal solid waste market growing

Thursday, 12 June, 2014

Business consulting firm Frost & Sullivan has released the study ‘Global Municipal Solid Waste Management Services Market’, covering the collection, landfilling, recycling, biological treatment, incineration and re-use segments of the market.

The report found that the growing volume of municipal solid waste (MSW) and strict waste management legislation - dictating the need to reduce waste, raise recycling levels and lower landfilling levels - are driving the global MSW management services market. Frost & Sullivan says the market earned revenues of $160.52 billion in 2013 and estimates this to reach $296.86 billion in 2020.

“MSW management solutions are witnessing strong demand from regions with a high population density but limited area, such as Europe and some countries in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region,” said Frost & Sullivan Energy & Environmental Research Analyst Monika Chrusciak. “However, current core MSW management service markets such as Western Europe and Japan are expected to gradually decline, while markets such as South Asia, Latin America and Central Europe are anticipated to grow.”

However, market growth will be disrupted by the widespread preference for inexpensive waste management solutions based on landfilling. In addition, the relatively high initial investment cost of installing new MSW processing plants could limit interest in waste processing projects. It could also discourage market participants from investing in these plants, leading to a lack of competitive solutions and the stagnation of the MSW services market in developing regions such as the Middle East, Africa and APAC.

Weak legislative support and lack of funding for the future development of MSW processing infrastructure in developing countries too are an issue. Furthermore, the rising prevalence of unsorted MSW - mixed with inert and organic material - is adversely affecting the quality of the secondary material and increasing the cost of handling, in turn reducing the profitability of market participants in this space.

“To overcome these challenges, waste management companies need to ensure proper sorting and collection through direct and close cooperation with the waste-generating customer,” said Chrusciak. “Companies should also employ integrated management solutions for MSW separation, collection, sorting and processing.”

Over time, the global MSW management services market will consolidate so that robust services can be provided at the lowest possible cost to final users, largely as a result of the increasing recovery of recyclables and use of certain waste streams as a fuel source for waste to energy plants. Coupled with the rising awareness on sustainable development and waste treatment options, this will open up several opportunities for MSW management service providers. In particular, MSW management service providers will find opportunities in APAC, specifically China, due to evolving waste treatment practices.

For more information on the study, email Chiara Carella, Corporate Communications, at

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