2023 brought some aspect of normalcy to waste and recycling operations, after a turbulent period of pandemic and economic challenges.
Workforce issues and inflation showed signs of improvement, and many companies reported positive earnings results. The pace of state and federal policy changes was also somewhat muted versus prior years. At the same time, the sector still saw a complex commodity price environment, notable M&A activity and other trends.
We’ve gathered some of the industry’s highlights by the numbers to help reflect on 2023. What themes will you be watching in 2024? Let us know at email@example.com.
Estimated M&A spending by the industry’s top five publicly traded companies through Q3, led by Republic Services.
GFL Environmental’s proceeds from divesting select assets to WM, Republic Services and Casella Waste Systems in multiple states — transactions which accounted for a notable amount of overall industry spending this year.
The number of PFAS chemicals listed in the EPA’s proposed drinking water standard, which is expected to be finalized sometime in January. The proposed regulations will set legally enforceable drinking water standards, which could impact how waste facilities monitor or manage PFAS-containing material like leachate.
The number of states that introduced right-to-repair legislation in 2023. Three states passed notable right to repair laws for various products this year: California, Minnesota and Colorado.
The amount of additional containers CalRecycle estimates California will process in its container deposit system when the state adds 100% fruit and vegetable juice containers to the bottle bill. Gov. Gavin Newsom approved the expansion in October.
The amount New York’s Department of Sanitation expects to save as a result of proposed budget cuts for fiscal year 2024, which includes eliminating community composting and delaying the rollout of its curbside organics program in the Bronx and Staten Island.
The decrease in average blended commodity prices Republic and WM, respectively, reported in Q3 2023 compared to the previous year. Most companies saw major decreases in commodity values on OCC, mixed paper and plastics, though some fiber prices were beginning to recover by the year’s end.
The EPA projected that renewable natural gas volumes would increase by 25% year-over-year from 2023 to 2025 in its update to the Renewable Fuel Standard. That growth rate means greater generation of RIN credits, which is expected to bolster waste-to-RNG project development.