Veolia Environnement expects revenue from its toxic waste recycling business to grow by 10 percent per year over the next four to five years and profit from these activities to grow by 15 percent per year, according to media reports.
In 2012, revenue from the business equaled about €800 million euros ($1.04 billion).
CEO Antoine Frerot told reporters late last week that the French water and waste group will continue investing in plants to treat industrial solvents and old batteries because the margins on toxic waste recycling are significantly higher than at Veolia’s other businesses, Reuters reports. Frerot didn’t give an exact figure. The firm’s business includes recycling zinc, rare metals, lithium from car batteries, vanadium from industrial catalysts, and cutting oil or lubricant polluted by metal shavings.
While its new businesses have primarily been in Europe, the company has invested about €80 million ($104.65 million) over the past year — €20 million ($26.16 million) of which was pumped into China — to develop its toxic and specialty waste business, the Wall Street Journal reports. Veolia plans to invest the same amount annually over the next four or five years worldwide, the newspaper says. The firm plans to expand to in other industrial markets including North America.
Reuters says Veolia also has plans to build facilities in Le Havre and Marseille in France to recycle hydrocarbon dregs from refineries and ships and polluted water from parking lots. The company collects some 100,000 metric tons of this kind of waste annually to be burned.
The company — which says pesticide cleanup opportunities in eastern Europe and central Asia are abundant — has also treated 20,000 metric tons of pesticides in the Ukraine, and singed a contract with NATO to treat 1,000 metric tons from Moldova at its Dabrowa, Poland plant, the news agency reports.
Greenpeace published a report earlier this month that accuses Gap, Brooks Brothers and other fashion brands of dumping toxic wastewater in Indonesia waterways.
A manufacturer-run program for collecting mercury thermostats is failing to keep the heavy metal out of the trash in most states, according to an April report by two environmental groups: the Multi-State Mercury Products Campaign (MMPC) and the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI). The report estimates that, at most, the industry recycling program has captured 8 percent of mercury thermostats coming out of service in the past decade. This has resulted in the disposal of over 50 tons of mercury into the environment, which can expose people to the neurotoxin through fish consumption, according to the groups.