Leaders of the landfill


March 12, 2020

It’s no big secret that landfills are a highly coveted asset for those operating in the solid waste industry. Companies that own landfills control their costs in ways others can’t, offering a competitive advantage especially in areas with limited disposal options.

In fact, landfill ownership is the cornerstone of integrated waste businesses that are able to buttress themselves from third party pricing and market fluctuations that can compromise a company’s bottom line.

As Laurel Mountain Partners Managing Director Jeff Kendall told the audience during his keynote address at Waste Today’s 2019 Corporate Growth Conference, integrated businesses that include a network of landfills, transfer stations and hauling operations are the most stable since they don’t have to rely on outside entities for their collection, processing or disposal needs.

“One thing you want to try to avoid is having a high percentage of your business with brokers,” Kendall noted. “There are a lot of brokers out there, and it’s hard to be in business anywhere without doing some business with them. But if you have a high percentage of your business with brokers, that’s going to be viewed negatively, especially by the national [companies] if they’re looking to purchase you. … There’s not a lot of value there because you’re not controlling your cash flow in those instances.”

To elaborate further on Kendall’s point, it’s not just those who control landfills, but those with the most remaining capacity that sit in prime position to handle changes in end markets, collection pricing and other variables in both the near and long term. Since getting permitting is often no easy task for these operators (and is only getting to be more of a challenge), the companies that have been able to secure these assets have helped cement themselves as the “haves” among the “have-nots.”

In this issue, we take a look at who the largest players are in the landfill space relative to volume accepted in 2019, as well as what the projected closure date is of these facilities.

This Largest Landfills List marks the second edition compiled by the staff at Waste Today and highlights several notable changes since the first iteration debuted in March 2018.

Through the help of industry collaborators, publicly available information and corroboration from the operators themselves, we’re hopeful this database can serve as a useful snapshot of not only where the industry is today, but who stands to control disposal interests long into the future.

For a look at who’s leading the pack with incoming volumes and remaining capacity in the U.S., check out Waste Today’s Largest Landfill List in order to see which companies stand atop the industry.