VDMA: New markets for waste treatment and recycling technology developing

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VDMA Waste Treatment and Recycling Technology Association

Frankfurt am Main — The European market for waste treatment and recycling technology is on the up; markets are also growing in the USA and China. Technology providers are increasingly positioning themselves internationally. Modern waste management concepts are being developed in many corners of the world, even if Germany is still one of the leading providers in this sector, according to the Waste Treatment and Recycling Technology Association.

Well-functioning waste management is based on different pillars:

  • A suitable legal framework that at least defines the disposal obligation, collection systems and charges,
  • The presence of a collection and logistics system,
  • A sufficient number of waste disposal plants,
  • If recycling is intended, an appropriate customer structure for secondary raw materials.

Various know-how interacts in waste management. A collection system or waste disposal system alone is far from being a market. This is where the difficulties currently lie in the waste management industry.

Manufacturers‘ export orientation

Mechanical and plant engineering is an export-oriented branch of industry. The EU-28 was responsible for roughly 43 percent of the market in 2014, followed by East Asia with 16 percent, North America with 11 percent, Latin America with 4 percent and Africa with 3 percent.

The large markets have been positive over the last two years, for example the EU-28 (plus 5.4 percent) and China (plus 2.1 percent). The US market grew by 5.9 percent. By today’s standards the South East Asian ASEAN markets (plus 8.6 percent) and OPEC countries (plus 7.2 percent) were also very buoyant. The speed of the Russian market’s slump (minus 16.4 percent over the first three quarters of 2104) remains comparable with that of several medium-sized markets: Australia, Brazil, South Korea, India, South Africa and Turkey had a two-digit decrease compared to the previous year’s level.

No market without the right legal framework

However, German providers are not alone on the global market. The largest growth rates in mechanical engineering were recorded by the People’s Republic of China, it is at the upper end of the scale with 10 percent growth. US-American mechanical engineering is also growing strongly though with roughly 5 percent.

Waste treatment and recycling technology manufacturers can only successfully tap into markets with the right legal framework. China is showing initial approaches in environmental law. Its policy prioritizes CO2 reduction over many things as the permanent smog situation is one of its urgent challenges. Despite this the government is sticking to economic growth and constantly building new industrial areas, which are supposed to conduct business in a manner consistent with ecological needs.

China`s strategic goals

At the start of 2014, the government decided to build the new Gui’an industrial area in the Guizhou province. The industrial area stretches over just under 1,800 km2 and almost 1 million people live in the direct vicinity. One of the strategic goals is fully-functioning waste management and as many closed material cycles as possible.

Other provinces and cities are also dedicating themselves to modernizing waste management. The Hunan province has advertised for bids for the supply of refuse collection vehicles and containers and also the development of a collection system and transfer station in the last year. The Chinese government also sees the need: it is seeking advice on evaluating the current waste management system and improving the operation of existing plants.

At the moment 22 percent of China’s machinery imports come from Germany; followed some way behind by USA, Korea, Taiwan and Italy. Japan retains first place with 23 percent.

Source: VDMA Waste Treatment and Recycling Technology