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Where should the UK target its waste expertise?

Britain’s position as a leader in expertise and technology in the waste sector offers real potential, as MRW explored in the first part of its Insight in the last issue. Manufacturers, waste management firms and consultants are all looking to build on this country’s good name.

Among those working across the globe is SLR Consulting, which has its own in-house Waste Opportunity Management Business Analysis Tool (Wombat) to produce a global ranking of countries in terms of the relative opportunity for developing capital-intensive waste recovery infrastructure.

Wombat takes into account total waste tonnage, urban population, political stability, business environment and maturity of energy and environmental policy.

Canada topped the ranking followed by Australia, and both are considered countries of high opportunity for waste management development.

In Canada, the opportunity will vary significantly by location, whether along the urban fringes on the east and west coasts or the open spaces of the north and centre.

SLR’s Alban Forster said: “There is unlikely to be intensive infrastructure in remote areas due to large land availability, often cheaper landfill and longer distances to end use markets.

“But when you get to British Columbia on the west coast or Toronto on the east coast, it is the higher land value and dense urbanisation that are reducing landfill and driving stronger legislation.

“UK advisory teams have a detailed understanding of how to procure these contracts. We also have a huge expertise in building energy from waste and mechanical biological treatment plants, smaller-scale gasification and anaerobic digestion facilities.”

China always provides opportunities, even though its economy is slowing. Matthew Farrow, executive director at Environmental Industries Commission, met officials from the city of Wuhan to look at air quality, land contamination and waste.

He told MRW that China was looking for British expertise to play a part in meeting its huge environmental challenges.

Farrow also visited Cyprus last year, which is way behind the UK on meeting its EU recycling targets. He said: “They have to do it all in the next six years and, again,

they were interested in UK experience and how we had made rapid progress in the 2000s and the past four years.”

He noted that the Cypriot legal system was based on the British one, meaning

they copy UK transpositions of EU Directives: “So, if you are a British consultant of a waste company, you have a head start in getting to grips with how they do things.”

Clearly, if cultural and governance differences can be overcome, the potential for recycling businesses across the globe is huge.

Top 10 opportunities

  • Canada
  • Australia
  • Qatar
  • New Zealand
  • Finland
  • Norway
  • Slovak Republic
  • Singapore
  • Lithuania
  • Bulgaria

42 countries were rated in the top category and these are the best in order



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