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Waste management is a $75 billion industry

New profile details size and composition of waste management industry.

Waste_profile.JPGThe U.S. waste management industry includes about 20,000 companies with combined annual revenue of about $75 billion, that’s according to a new report from First Research. The new “Waste Management Industry Profile” indicates that the waste industry is highly concentrated, with the eight largest companies accounting for nearly half of the industry's total annual revenue. Major companies include Waste Management, Republic Services, and Waste Connections.

The report shows that demand for waste management services depends on the volume of waste generated, which depends on economic conditions and consumer spending. The profitability of individual companies depends on labor and efficient operations, because the service is a commodity sold based on price. Big companies have large efficiencies of scale in operations. Small companies can compete successfully by offering specialized services or serving local markets.

Major services include waste collection, treatment, and disposal; remediation; and recycling. Waste collection accounts for about 55% of industry revenue; treatment and disposal, 20%; and remediation, 15%. (Remediation involves the cleaning of crude oil spills and ground contamination, removal of asbestos and lead paint, and restoration of strip-mined areas.) Small companies usually operate in only one of these segments. Larger companies often have vertically integrated operations that include all of these components.

Waste management involves primarily the collection, transfer, and disposal in landfills of non-hazardous, municipal solid waste (MSW) or trash, which consists of everyday items like product packaging, grass clippings, furniture, clothing, bottles, food scraps, and more.

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