April 2006

Growth expected in California’s solid waste sector

New York, NY— Waste flows in California will likely continue their recent upward trend, which began in the late 1990s, assuming current state laws remain in effect and demographic trends hold steady, according to a report released by Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services titled “California’s Solid Waste Sector Is Poised For Growth Despite Lingering Challenges”.

“As California’s population grows and economic conditions remain healthy, there is likely to be considerable additional demand for, and investment in landfill, waste transfer, material recovery facilities, waste-to-energy plants and related infrastructure,” said Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Ian Carroll.

Some challenges are present; however, as landfill capacity in coastal communities dwindles. Various estimates forecast between 15 and 50 years of available capacity in California’s landfills. Viable options for waste disposal is more likely to require transferring waste (by rail or road) considerable distances, which can add to disposal cost. For Southern California, for example, it is not unheard of for waste to be hauled approximately 100 miles inland to landfills in the Mojave Desert. Transportation costs will contribute to increased fees, and rising residential and commercial bills.

The development of a legislative and regulatory framework for handling electronic waste, or e-waste, may hold some promise for California solid waste providers. E-waste is among the fastest-growing segment of the waste stream in California, as more electronic hardware approaches the end of its useful life.


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