Waste Management Services

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 18,700 waste management companies in the US provide hazardous and nonhazardous waste collection, hauling, and treatment; operation of transfer stations and landfills; septic system pumping; and remediation including specialized cleanup of contaminated buildings, mine sites, soil, or ground water. About 66% of industry sales receipts come from services to businesses, organizations, and farms; 19% to residences; and 15% to government.

Worker Injury

Workers are exposed to a wide variety of risks including contact with contaminated and hazardous materials in trash and remediation sites, working with heavy machinery, and handling curbside trash bins near traffic.

Vertical Integration

Waste management companies are using vertical integration to control their waste streams, broaden services, cut costs, and improve profitability.

Industry size & Structure

The average waste management company operates out of a single location, employs 23-24 workers, and generates about $5-6 million annually.

    • The waste management industry consists of about 18,700 firms that employ about 445,700 workers and generate about $110 billion annually.
    • Average revenue per employee is about $246,000.
    • The industry is concentrated at the top with the four largest firms controlling 29% of revenue. Otherwise, the industry is fragmented with many companies offering one or a few types of waste services.
    • Major US companies include Waste Management, Republic Services, WCA Waste, and Stericycle.
                                      Industry Forecast
                                      Waste Management Services Industry Growth
                                      Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                                      Recent Developments

                                      Mar 23, 2023 - Industry Consolidation Continues
                                      • Several major, publicly traded waste management companies kept up their industry consolidation spree in 2023, racking up an estimated $6.27 billion in acquisitions in the US and Canada, according to Waste Dive. In spending terms, Republic Services led in M&A deals, spending $2.67 billion, followed by Waste Connections’ $2.21 billion in deals. Other firms with big-ticket spending in 2022 included GFL Environmental ($938 million), Waste Management ($377 million), and Casella Waste Systems ($78.2 million). Several large waste firms plan to continue with their acquisitive strategies in 2023. Waste Management’s guidance, which is consistent with recent years, suggests the firm aims to spend between $100-$200 million in 2023. Republic Services and Waste Connections each plan to spend about $500 million, while GFL Environmental’s target is between $222.3 million and $370.5 million.
                                      • At the Plastics Recycling Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, in March, a panel of industry insiders and experts discussed the role of secondary sortation in plastics recovery markets, among other topics, according to Waste Dive. Secondary sortation facilities further process materials that have already been sorted at a materials recovery facility and would have otherwise gone to landfills. However, price volatility for recovered materials can make investing in secondary sortation facilities risky, as they often use advanced, AI-enabled robotics systems to sort difficult-to-recycle waste streams. Insiders suggest that secondary sorters smooth out pricing through long-term supply contracts with packaged consumer goods companies that need consistent supplies of post-consumer content to meet their internal sustainability goals.
                                      • In March, price advances for recovered plastic continued while prices for most types of recovered fibers maintained a downward trend, according to RecyclingMarkets.net. The national average price for post-consumer PET bottles and jars rose 6% in March compared to February, and PET prices were up 5.9% over March 2022. Natural high-density polyethylene (HDPE) prices increased by 10% over February and grew 25% over March 2022. Prices for color HDPE jumped 45% in March from the previous month but were down 31% compared to March 2022. Polypropylene prices increased 51% in March compared to the prior month but were down 72.3% year-over-year. Prices for old corrugated containers (OCC) used to manufacture new containers were flat in March and were down 76% from a year earlier. Sorted residential paper prices were also unchanged in March compared to February but were off 75% year over year.
                                      • Many of the largest waste-hauling firms saw their recycling-related fourth-quarter revenues decline amid lower commodity prices for several types of recyclable materials. Republic Service’s recycling revenue declined 46% in Q4 2022 compared to the same period in 2021, and Waste Connections’ recycling segment saw a drop of 65%. Waste Management’s recycling operations’ revenues were down 24%. Some waste firm executives suggested that depressed commodity prices for recyclables were driven primarily by supply and demand imbalances, but prices may improve by the second half of 2023.
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