Every day we give the waste industry workers the responsibility of keeping our streets and communities clean. Each year we see them collecting waste from the trash compactors, sorting the garbage, recovering value and disposing of the rest. Every single there are trends and shifts which change the daily operations of the industry. For instance, in 2016, compressed natural gas usage rate, glass recycling and composting were some of the trends. While in 2017, the Chinese policy changes affected the waste management industry.
Some of the trends experienced in the previous last years will still be present this year. Below we give the list of the trends that will affect the waste management industry in the year 2018.
1. Enforcement and effects of the Chinese import policies
Since last year the new Chinese import policies have been dominating the ongoing recycling conservation. The country apparently had issued a ban on 24 materials, the import restriction date passed, and now more pressure will be laid on the affected companies.
Global companies are looking at Southeast Asia with plenty of anxiety; this, in turn, has caused several changes in the West Coast ports. The March contaminations specifications have raised a lot of global concerns. Companies that were already doing single stream are facing challenges in finding a market for the glass waste products.
2. Ongoing debate about possible franchising of cities in the United States
The small service providers in the industry are not very comfortable with the whole idea of franchising or creating zoned collection spots. The debate is still ongoing about the concept, and these small service providers can again compete with the other more significant companies in a market that is open. Brokers and technology companies that have partnered with these small businesses have also opposed the idea.
The more prominent firms in the industry, on the other hand, have shown their massive support to franchising in U.S cities. The idea that is currently operational in Los Angeles has received mixed reactions from all the stakeholders while the real estate describes it as a cautionary tale.
3. Use of technology in the waste management industry
Nobody can ignore the importance of technology in modern companies. Waste management companies are now investing in future generation landfills, and flee data capture technology. Last year the waste management experienced increased use of artificial intelligence in carrying out their daily operations.
More technology experiments and investments will be seen in 2018, though the industry hasn’t embraced technology like other economic sectors. Stakeholders are now looking for the best ways to use technology to enhance efficiency and safety. Expected changes to be seen in 2018 include more use of AI and electric/ hybrid vehicles.
4. The correct definition of “Zero Waste.”
The “zero waste” aspirations won’t be ending soon, and will still be on the front pages this year. Every big city in the world currently has zero waste aspirations or is planning to start one. But then the challenge is enormous since many can’t find a particular meaning of the terminology.
The whole world agrees that the objective of zero waste means limiting the landfill usage, however, from there everyone takes a different idea of what the adaptive concept means. Different cities are using different concepts to achieve the “zero waste” goal despite the term having conflicting meanings to different people.
5. The Tax reforms in the industry
After president Trump signed the most massive corporate tax in history, companies have additional capital at their disposal. The waste management industry companies will also benefit from the tax reforms.
Many hope that the move will lead to an increase in the number of high profile deals in the United States. National and regional companies can also use the tax reforms to offer modern capabilities of their services to the small communities. This will enhance the collection and recycling of waste.
6. The Environmental Protection Agency and its influence
The EPA is being managed by Scott Pruitt, who is the administrator. So far the agency has been able to offer clarity about the New Source Performance Standards set for landfills. The office also announced that it would be targeting some Superfund sites which need cleanup and remediation. Pruitt and his team are expected to work more on the RFS (Renewable Fuel Standard) this year. The agency plans on enforcing emissions standards that will influence the operation of landfills. Pruitt is proposing to allow the management and regulation of the waste industry at the state/federal level.
7. Possible mergers, expansions, and acquisitions to enhance efficiency
Many waste management companies in the Mid-Atlantic have been receiving many developments, mergers, and acquisitions since last year. The alliances have been giving the smaller business a chance to have a more significant impact on the waste management industry. This year, more mergers and acquisitions are expected to take place.