JUNE 2011

Regulatory pressures provide growth momentum to the European recycling market

Europe maintains a strong position in the global recycling market. Germany has been a key contributor to this position due to its technological leadership as well as strong commitment to addressing environmental concerns such as waste management through active legislation.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan finds that the market earned revenues of $6.1 billion in 2009 and estimates this to reach $7.47 billion in 2016.

The effect of European stimulated policies and legislation, particularly the Waste Framework and EU Landfill Directive, is mainly responsible for the shift away from landfilling towards recycling. They stipulate the amount of waste going towards landfill as the last resort and thereby stimulate other alternatives for waste treatment including recycling and reuse.

A key challenge remains the legislative variations across the region. With each member state transposing EU directives into their national laws, there is a significant amount of local and regional variation that exists across Europe.

Moreover, this high level of regional diversity has opened up the market to a number of local companies that specialize solely in waste management. At the same time, it has motivated even large multinational companies to establish a local presence in individual markets to cover them comprehensively. Legislative variations have underpinned the critical importance of gaining an understanding of local collection and waste management techniques.

Having a local base is, therefore, essential in this market, as regional variations require a keen understanding of local dynamics. A local base, in turn, provides an avenue to develop an understanding of local practices prevalent in waste management.