Solid waste management is the process of collection and proper disposal of solid waste collected from various industrial and municipal facilities. Management of solid waste reduces or eliminates adverse impacts on the environment and human health, and supports economic development and improves the quality of life. A number of processes are involved in effectively managing waste for a municipality. These include monitoring, collection, transport, processing, recycling, and disposal. Solid waste may be categorized according to its origin into domestic, industrial, commercial, and construction or institutional. Based on content, solid waste can be divided into organic material, glass, metal, plastic paper, etc. Increase in global population, rapid urbanization, industrial boom, environmental impact, and rise in number of infrastructure development activities across the globe are the key factors driving the need for solid waste management. Rise in government emphasis to control solid waste is also expected to drive the solid waste management market during the forecast period. Solid waste creates immense impact on the environment, as poor management of the collection and disposal of solid waste may lead to leachate pollution of surface water or groundwater. This may cause significant problems if the waste contains toxic substance or if nearby water sources are used for water supplies. Storage of large quantities of dry waste in hot climates may lead a fire hazard.
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The solid waste management market is evolving at a rapid pace, particularly in emerging countries such as India and China, led by the new principles for sustainability and technological advancements. For instance, the Government of India’s ‘Swachh Bharat Mission,’ which was launched on October 2, 2014, has brought the municipal solid waste management sector to the forefront of governance.
Based on waste, the solid waste management market can be bifurcated into municipal solid waste and industrial solid waste. Municipal solid waste refers to the management of solid waste from residential buildings and societies, public places, streets, commercial buildings, and other institutions. The onus of management of these type of waste lies with municipal and government authorities. Municipal solid waste accounts for a large part of universal waste and thus proper management of the same is of paramount importance. Various challenges are associated with municipal solid waste management. These include unfavorable investment norms and lack of monetary incentives.
According to practices, solid waste management focusses largely on waste collection, treatment (composting and incineration), and disposal (landfills). However, limited attempts are being made to adopt integrated waste management practices that involve waste reduction at the source, resource recovery, and recycling. The resource value of waste cannot be realized unless separation of wastes is practiced effectively at the source. Integrated Solid Waste Management (ISWM) is a comprehensive waste prevention, recycling, composting, and disposal program. An effective ISWM system considers how to prevent, recycle, and manage solid waste in ways that effectively protect human health and the environment. A paradigm shift from conventional waste management practices to ISWM is essential for cities in order to effectively manage the waste stream. This presents immense growth opportunities to the solid waste management market.
In terms of geography, Asia Pacific is the dominant region of the market due to the ever increasing population, accelerated urbanization, and rapid industrialization in countries in Asia such as China and India. The solid waste management market in North America is anticipated to witness strong growth, due to the enforcement of strict regulations against landfill and waste handling.
Key players operating in the solid waste management market include Biffa Group, Green Conversions, Amec Foster Wheeler, Xcel Energy, Recology, Hitachi Zosen, Covanta, and Keppel Segher.