Sustainability driving GCC waste management market
Mita Srinivasan
10x Industry

Sustainability driving GCC waste management market

Total waste generation in the GCC is estimated to reach 163.9 million metric tons by 2025, finds Frost & Sullivan in a new sustainability report

Frost & Sullivan’s global Energy & Environment Growth Partnership Service program has released a new analysis, Circular Economy Redefining the GCC Waste Management Market, 2021, that finds that the GCC member nations’ aspirations for sustainability are driving the replacement of linear waste management models with circular models, creating a new wave of opportunities. Population growth and accelerated economic development are increasing total waste generation in the region including construction and demolition (C&D) waste, municipal solid waste (MSW), plastic waste, and lead-acid battery waste.

According to the report, if unchecked, this could result in an increase from 130.6 million metric tons in 2021 to 163.9 million metric tons by 2025. A transition toward circular models is already underway, as with the UAE’s Circular Economy Policy 2021-2031 and the KSA’s Circular Carbon Economy. The policies reflect the region’s commitment to meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals while enhancing the quality of life for residents.

Frost & Sullivan forecasts some key trends that would define some of the opportunities in the waste management sector including plastic to fuel, recycling solutions for hazardous materials, use of recycled products in construction and setting up waste to energy plants for treating non-recyclable waste.

Plastic to fuel, according to the forecast, will enable a circular economy and reduce the environmental impact. Waste management companies should focus on developing waste collection networks and waste sorting facilities to divert plastic waste from landfills to recycling centres and eliminate illegal dumping. Lead smelting companies should leverage the market potential in the GCC by developing a strong technology understanding and garnering experience in operating secondary smelting plants, creating environmentally safe disposal of hazardous waste like used lead-acid batteries.

C&D waste recycling companies should focus on developing new products for high-end applications such as bricks, tiles, and plastic waste for roads. This will give them a competitive edge in the market. By investing in waste-to-energy projects, waste management companies can develop innovative business models and ensure a complete diversion of waste while monetizing and producing clean, sustainable energy.

“Existing environment service providers can be left behind if they do not embrace and contribute to the region’s drive to go circular,” said Nideshna Varatharajan, Senior Consultant, Industrial Practice at Frost & Sullivan. “The adoption of circular models and advanced recycling methods in the region, like those for plastics and food, will successfully result in new opportunities across the value chain and convert waste into value-generating secondary materials. In the region, waste treatment infrastructure is also expected to undergo a significant overhaul. We can expect to see increased adoption of technologies like artificial intelligence, robots, sensors, and blockchain to enhance the flow of waste.”