US Solid Waste Industry Worth Nearly $43 Billion

Washington, DC - The 27,000 organizations operating in the United States solid waste industry generated more than $4.3 in revenue in 1999, according to the most comprehensive study ever undertaken on the size of the industry, commissioned by the Environmental Research and Education Foundation (EREF). Private sector waste management companies generated approximately 76 percent of the industry's total revenues.

The solid waste industry also contributed more than $96 billion and 948,000 jobs to the nation's economy, including 367,000 people employed directly by the industry. This included all direct, indirect, and induced effects resulting from solid waste industry activities. For every dollar of revenues generated by the industry, a total of $1.23 in additional revenues was generated in the economy through the multiplier effect. Similarly, for every job in the solid waste industry, the multiplier created an additional 1.58 jobs outside the industry.

Total employee compensation, including benefits, was estimated at $10 billion. Employees in the solid waste industry were paid an average of $27,200 per year including benefits, according to the report.

"The Foundation undertook this study because, until now, reliable information has not been available from any other source," Said Michael Cagney, president of the foundation. "This research developed the first available independent, authoritative, comprehensive, and statistically defensible data on the size of the waste management industry."

The waste industry accounted for one-half of one percent of the $8.7 trillion gross domestic product. However, the sector's industrial output and employment was larger than the individual economies of several states, including North Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming.

The foundation retained R. W. Beck, Inc. and Chartwell Information Publishers to survey public and private sector companies operating in the industry. Of the estimated 27,000 organizations operating in the industry, 55 percent are in the public sector, 45 percent were privately held companies, and 0.1 percent were companies publicly traded on the stock market.

The study suggested that organizations in the solid waste industry were significantly differentiated by size. Larger organizations, which typically performed more integrated waste management services, appear to have a significantly different financial and operational profile when compared to the smaller industry participants, who generally performed only one or two limited operations. This circumstance contributes to fragmentation in the industry, with numerous small organizations co-existing and a relatively small number of large or very large organizations. For a copy of the study, contact EREF's publications department at 800-424-2869. The cost of the study is $20.


Editors Note: An error was printed in the June issue. This article was titled with the dollar amount of 4.3 billion, rather than 43 billion.

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