Companies in this industry collect, treat, and dispose of garbage and other waste materials, recover reusable materials through recycling operations, and provide remediation services for decontaminating buildings, mine sites, soil, or groundwater. Major companies include Waste Management, Republic Services, and Advanced Disposal Services (all based in the US); SUEZ and Veolia Environnement (France); and Waste Connections (Canada).
Demand depends on the volume of waste generated, which depends on economic conditions and consumer spending. The profitability of individual companies depends on efficient operations, because the service is a commodity sold based on price. Big companies enjoy economies of scale in purchasing equipment and establishing networks of facilities. Small companies can compete successfully by offering specialized services or serving local markets. The US industry is concentrated: the 50 largest companies account for about half of revenue.
Products, Operations & Technology
Waste collection services account for about half of US industry revenue; other major services include waste treatment and disposal (about 20%) and remediation (about 20%). Small companies usually operate in only one of these segments. Larger companies often have vertically integrated operations that include all of these components.