Annual smart municipal solid waste technology revenue will grow from $2.3 billion in 2014 to $6.5 billion in 2023 and will offer multiple opportunities to those in the MSW management industry, according to a report by Navigant Research.
According to the report, two trends are expected to define the MSW management industry in coming years. The first is that 97 percent of waste volume growth is expected to come from Asia Pacific and Africa, primarily in the developing economies in these regions. The second is that the composition of MSW will change as developing countries transition to consumer-oriented economies and create MSW that is more complex with the addition of electronic waste.
The report notes that viewing waste as a strategic renewable resource for material and energy recovery is at the heart of the smart MSW revolution.
While there is no set system of smart MSW technologies, it generally involves the addition of advanced technologies into current MSW practices. These practices can be divided into four areas.
- Smart collection, such as radio frequency identification tagging, global positioning routing and pneumatic tubes.
- Smart processing, such as advanced material recovery facilities, mechanical biological treatments and refuse-derived fuel.
- Smart energy recovery, such as waste-to-energy, waste-to-fuels and landfill gas-to-energy.
- Smart disposal, such as sanitary landfilling, bioreactor landfills and solar integration.
Navigant Research estimates that 644 million tons of MSW was managed by smart MSW technologies in 2014, and that volume is expected to increase to 938.4 million tons by 2023. In total, this represents $42.2 billion in cumulative revenue. In addition, annual revenue from smart MSW technology is expected to experience a 12.2 percent compound annual growth rate, significantly more than the anticipated 4 percent revenue growth from conventional MSW technology.
The report also notes that even mature waste management markets like North America and Western Europe have numerous opportunities to commercialize emerging smart MSW technologies and increase their investments in the entire waste management value chain.