European Waste Market Up Despite Downturn

The municipal waste management services market in Europe continues to offer growth opportunities in key markets despite the global economic crisis. Steadily rising volumes and advanced treatment solutions are creating new segments and attracting sustained interest from key participants. The market has responded essentially to key EU legislations that have prompted a shift away from landfill toward alternate treatment solutions.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, "Growth Opportunities in the European Municipal Waste Management Services Market," finds that the market earned revenues of $41.81 billion in 2007 and estimates this to reach $46.06 billion in 2014.

"A combination of increasing volumes and the adoption of more expensive forms of treatment and disposal has brought about the solid expansion of the market from $36.60 billion in 2004 to its current levels," notes Suchitra Padmanabhan, program manager, Waste Management, Frost & Sullivan. "Current forecasts foresee further growth by 2014 as waste stubbornly continues to rise and the move toward more sustainable, and costly, treatment and disposal practices continues."

Prospects for the municipal waste management services market in Europe beyond 2007 remain positive. The largest market for municipal solid waste (MSW) services in Western Europe is Germany, which accounted for nearly 24 percent of revenues in 2007. Of the other key markets, Italy and France are the most significant with Italy exhibiting particular dynamism in recent years.

However, the regulation of the sector continues to be varied across countries in the European Union. This is hampering its modernization and the shift toward higher value treatment and disposal practices. Infrastructural constraints remain a major factor for the market -- notably capacity constraints and the effects of available investment for the sector. Both should ensure that landfill continues as a significant disposal route for some time to come.

Moreover, technological developments in the sector suggest that although waste volumes overall are set to rise, there is an increasing focus on slowing volume growth. "There is a growing emphasis on these technologies and even though overall waste volumes are rising, there is an effort alongside to reduce waste at the source itself through waste minimization technologies," states Padmanabhan. "In addition, liberalization of the public sector in certain markets will boost competitive conditions and facilitate the entry of new players across Europe."

Competitors are offering an integrated waste management services approach. This approach offers a variety of technologies and services to deal with particular waste elements that is beneficial for a municipality both in saving money and meeting its regulatory requirements.

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