Strong growth forecast for waste industry from 2013

A period of strong growth is predicted for the waste management sector from 2013 to 2016 as recession-hit companies shake off the economic downturn, according to a government report.

The study published by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) also estimates that the waste sector is worth £7.5bn, significantly higher than the previous official estimate in 2009 which valued it at around £5bn.

Around 40% of respondents reported they had firm plans to grow their business over the next five years, mainly by introducing new waste disposal processes and providing more integrated services to clients.

The top five growth drivers were found to be: accessing new markets; skills of employees; technological change; environmental protection factors; and changes in attitudes towards waste.

In terms of treatment activity, energy recovery was found to contribute the most value at 99,800, and composting the lowest at 32,800.

BIS commissioned the research, which was undertaken by Ekosgen, to paint a fuller picture of an industry where knowledge about its size and value is somewhat sketchy.

The report From waste management to resource recovery: A developing sector also estimates that 128,000 people are employed within the industry, up from the official figure of 94,000 in 2009. Of these, 22,000 are employed by local authorities in waste management, primarily within waste collection.

The study also breaks down the sector into various business activities: reuse of products to divert waste at source; collection and transport; brokerage of waste; sorting and storing; disposal through landfill; disposal through incineration; treatment of waste; processing of recyclate; composting; energy recovery.

In addition, the most frequently handled waste streams were found to be building waste, metals, green waste, packaging, and electrical and electronic equipment.

Maxine Perella

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