The market experienced a small increase in value terms during 2016 and 2017. This growth has largely been underpinned by legislation such as EU Directives targeted at reducing landfill levels and stimulating growth in recycling, composting and EfW generation. Due to Brexit, the future regulatory situation regarding waste management remains slightly unclear, although the UK authorities are highly unlikely to divert from the current goals of waste reduction and transitioning to a more circular economy to any significant degree. Market value has also benefited from factors such as growth in RDF exports and more large-scale facilities (e.g. EfW incinerators) coming on-stream.
However, market performance is expected to drop off in the coming years, due to lower prices for recovered materials, cuts in local authority budgets for waste management services and greater pressures to reduce the amount of household and commercial waste generated. Although Brexit continues to negatively impact upon key investment decisions, it may also present opportunities for the waste management industry – these include a move away from the tonnage/weight-based targets for recycling and waste management favoured by the EU, as well as enabling the UK to develop waste and recycling policies more suited towards its individual requirements.