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 20,200 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 25 workers, and generates about $6-7 million annually.

    • The waste management industry consists of about 20,200 firms that employ about 500,200 workers and generate about $137 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, Clean Harbors, and Stericycle.
                                      Industry Forecast
                                      Waste Management Services Industry Growth
                                      Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                                      Recent Developments

                                      May 24, 2024 - Slower but Steady Industry Growth
                                      • The waste management industry is expected to see weaker sales growth this year, but demand is projected to improve in the following four years. The industry’s year-over-year sales increased by 12.4% in 2022 before dropping to 7% in 2023, according to Inforum and the Interindustry Economic Research Fund, Inc. Sales growth is projected to moderate further to about 3.6% in 2024, then rise to 4.3% in 2025. The industry will then see steady but mostly flat average annual growth of about 4.5% through 2028, according to Inforum and the Interindustry Economic Research Fund, Inc.
                                      • US exports of recycled paper declined significantly in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the same period in 2023, and recycled plastics exports were flat, according to Recourse Recycling analysis of Census Bureau trade data. US fiber exports declined 17% in Q1 2024, marking the lowest volume of first-quarter fiber exports since 2002. In Q1, Thailand was the largest fiber export market but its purchases of US recycled fiber were down 27% year-over-year. A 62% increase in Q1 US recycled fiber exports to Malaysia was insufficient to offset a 25% decline in India and a 14% drop in Mexico. The US exported nearly 235 million pounds of scrap plastics in the first quarter, virtually unchanged from a year earlier. About 34% of first-quarter recycled plastics exports went to Canada, and 22% went to Mexico.
                                      • Many of the largest waste-hauling firms saw their recycling-related first-quarter revenues improve amid higher commodity prices for several types of recyclable materials. Republic Services’ recycling revenue rose 35%in Q1 2024 compared to the same period in 2023, and Waste Connections’ recycling segment saw an increase of 56.6%. Waste Management’s recycling operations’ revenues grew by more than 16%.
                                      • In April 2024, the EPA designated two types of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) - more commonly known as “forever chemicals” - as hazardous substances under Superfund or CERCLA (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act). The designation affects perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and ensures that spills, leaks, and other releases of the chemicals are reported and cleaned up. Forever chemicals - which are used in food packaging, textiles, and cookware – have been linked to health problems, including cancers and immune and developmental disorders. While the EPA issued a policy memo stating it does not intend to target municipal landfills for enforcement, some industry trade groups say the agency needs to go further to ensure the industry is protected from liability. Leaders of the National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA), the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), and the US Composting Council (USCC) say federal legislation is needed to protect “passive receivers” of PFAS materials.
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