COVID-19 impacts on global waste investment

A new analysis highlights where and how COVID-19 has disrupted the waste sector and assesses the long-term implica?ons for the future.
Photo: qimono/PIxabay

While the immediate effect of COVID-19 has led to the dislocation of waste collectors and operators, the true impact on investment and capacity will be seen in the medium to long term.

Through detailed analysis of AcuComm’s global waste development data, Waste Investment Trends 2020: Assessing global performance in the shadow of COVID-19 takes a multifactorial look at waste investment and activity in 2020 and compares it with historical data. There is a noticeable dip in the peak pandemic period, followed by a recovery: but not all waste sectors were affected equally.

For example, in terms of growth by US$ value in the first 9 months of 2020, waste processing, recycling and biogas all outperformed the historical average, while gasifica8on, MBT and anaerobic digestion all underperformed.

Geographically the picture is mixed too and reflects the wider societal and financial impact of COVID-19. For example, falls in the hard-hit US, where Q1 2020 investment fell 18% compared with previous year, are reflected in the Brazilian figures where for the same period reported investment fell from US$1.02 billion to US$260 million. Conversely, Canada, Germany, Sweden and South Korea all reported increased investment.

Eric Wigart, CEO of AcuComm, commented “The evidence of this report shows that it would be wrong to assume the impact of COVID-19 on long-term waste infrastructure developments will be minimal. The disruption to the sector, while not universal, is significant and waste plant developers, operators and equipment suppliers need to reality check their assumpEons of medium- term market viability”.

Copies of Waste Investment Trends 2020: Assessing global performance in the shadow of COVID-19” are available from


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