Tightening regulations around trash disposal, coupled with the increasing cost of landfilling, are driving demand for smarter solutions in the municipal solid waste (MSW) industry.
That’s the conclusion of a report from Navigant Research titled “Smart Waste.”
“At the heart of the smart MSW revolution lies a focus on waste as a strategic renewable resource for material and energy recovery,” says Mackinnon Lawrence, research director with Navigant Research. “Given that the total volume of waste generated globally is expected to grow by nearly 50% over the next 10 years, the adoption of innovative technologies for MSW is both a business opportunity and an environmental imperative.”
The report notes that 43% of the global MSW stream is handled today by some aspect of smart technology. Still, the smart waste market is expected to grow rapidly. Revenues over the next decade are expected to climb to more than $42 billion.
Moving beyond trucks and pits
Emerging smart waste technologies will create more integrated waste management offerings that move beyond the traditional use of labor, diesel trucks and open pits to discard MSW. These offerings are expected to enhance MSW collection, generate renewable energy and optimize the environmental performance of landfills.
The report points out that smart energy recovery -- which includes facilities like incineration plants, landfill gas capture projects and advanced biorefineries -- is the most mature smart waste segment.
Barriers to greater smart technology diffusion in the waste sector include the high capital costs and the localized focus of waste management services, according to Navigant.