10 Biggest Recycling Companies in the World

  • 11th Mar'21
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“Recycle it all, no matter how small!” goes the old saying. As humans, we are the only capable social beings who are not just aware of the consequences of our actions but also have the power to amend them. With the growth in urbanization rate, grows the waste generated. 

The collection, treatment, and proper disposal of waste lead to a smart waste management system. Along with it comes the Zero waste policy. The motto to follow here is “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.” Reduce the waste generated by sustainable use of resources, Reuse anything from the scrap that has value, and Recycle the waste to generate raw materials that can be used for various other purposes. 



waste management



Smart Waste Management

Here is a list of the top 10 companies that have managed to recycle their waste and focus on a greener environment. We will closely look at the companies’ environmental practices- their waste disposal and recycling programs. The rankings are based on their average revenue per year. 

They focus on recycling more than 85% of their waste, have ensured strong programs to support the management like monitoring, measurement, audits, and records. They have also received external certification(including the ISO 14001 standard) based on their environmental performance management systems.


10. Cleanaway Waste Management Limited

Revenue of the Company in 2019(in millions of dollars): 1,819

Founded in 1979, this Australian company is headquartered in Melbourne. Generating a yearly revenue of 2.1 billion USD, Cleanaway has 260 branches across the city and operates over 5,300 specialist vehicles. It is Australia’s largest waste, recycling, industrial, and liquids service provider with a substantial network of state-of-the-art facilities, transfer stations, engineered landfills, liquid treatment plants, and refineries. Recycling has enabled it to generate about 134-gigawatt hours of renewable energy per year. 


9. Covanta Energy Corporation

Revenue of the Company in 2019(in millions of dollars): 1,870

Covanta was founded in 1939 in New Jersey, United States. Approximately 21 million tons of waste from businesses and municipalities are converted into renewable electricity through Covanta’s modern energy from waste facilities. The motto here is, No waste must be wasted. Some of the specialties of Covanta are Solid Waste Management, Energy Recovery, Sustainable Solutions and Utilities, Electricity Generation, and Energy from Waste.


8. Renewi plc

Revenue of the Company in 2019(in millions of dollars): 2,415

Headquartered in Milton Keynes, UK, Renewi plc was founded in 1880 as a construction company. However, later it changed its status to waste management company. 89% of about 14 million tonnes of waste is either recycled or used for energy recovery. It has launched many policies in 2020 to make Renewi a pure-play recycler. According to statistics, recycling has been done of the following: About 2.7 billion glass bottles, 2.2 billion newspapers, rubble good enough to build 15,000 houses, and about 900 million liters of water are treated. It provides a varied range of recycling technologies and services.


7. Stericycle Inc

Revenue of the Company in 2019(in millions of dollars): 3,309

SRCL was founded in 1989 and is headquartered in Illinois. Disposed 1.8 billion pounds of medical waste, protecting the public from infections, disposed of about 85 million pounds of pharmaceutical wastes safely, recycled 1.5 billion pounds of paper, and diverted more than 56 million pounds of plastic from landfills with sharp reusable containers. Its many services include Medical Waste Management, Sharps Management, Integrated Waste Stream Solutions, Maritime Solutions among others.


6. GFL Environmental Inc.

Revenue of the Company in 2019(in millions of dollars): 3,347

Founded in 2007, it is one of the biggest recycling Canadian companies. It offers services like solid waste management, liquid waste management, and infrastructure development. It has more than135000 industrial, commercial and institutional customers. It recycles and recovers a variety of liquid waste for reuse, including oil, oil filters, antifreeze, waste glycol, waste solvents, etc.


5. Clean Harbours, Inc

Revenue of the Company in 2019(in millions of dollars): 3,412

Founded in 1980 and headquartered in Norwell, UK, Clean Harbors includes packaging, recycling, treatment, collection, transportation, and disposal of hazardous and non-hazardous waste. The company also provides industrial and specialty services like pigging and decoking, high-pressure and chemical cleaning, and so on. The company has several strategies to improve the impact areas within three elements of sustainability-i.e. social, environmental, and economic.


4. Waste Connections, Inc

Revenue of the Company in 2019(in ‘000 of dollars): 5,389

Founded in 1997 in Texas and headquartered in Woodlands, Texas, Ontario, and Canada, Waste Connections is North America’s third-largest waste management company. Its services include commercial recycling, paper shredding, commercial waste collection, yard waste removal, residential garbage collection, recycling household hazardous waste, e-waste, etc. It strives to improve the environment quality and employ the most cost-effective waste management solutions for its customers.


3. Republic Services, Inc

Revenue of the Company in 2019(in ‘000 of dollars): 10,299

An industry leader in e-cycling and non-hazardous solid waste disposal, Republic Services is based in Arizona. It provides financial support, in-kind donations of products and services, and also volunteers its time. The company provides environmental solutions and services for industrial, commercial, municipal, and residential customers through its subsidiaries, recycling centers, landfills, transfer stations. It specializes in solid waste collection and Recycling and Disposal services.


Recommended: Turkey goes zero waste in Agriculture- A Way to Sustainable Development


2. Veolia Environmental Services (Private)

Revenue of the Company in 2019(in ‘000 of dollars): 12,505

A global leader in effective resource management, Veolia was founded in 1853 and headquartered in Paris, France. It provides services in the management, treatment and disposal, recycling, reclamation, and reuse of waste products. It is present in almost 35 countries and has about 70000 employees.


1. Waste Management Inc

Revenue of the Company in 2019(in ‘000 of dollars): 15,455

Founded in 1968 and headquartered in Houston, Texas, Waste Management integrates environmental solutions for commercial, residential, and other parts. They manage waste and make it less impactful to the environment through various processes like single-stream recycling, e-cycling, waste conversion to energy, and ensuring the employees’ safety. They are also specialized in customer service and innovation.

All such companies are taking the global waste management market towards a greener environment, making it profitable. According to statistics, the market size is expected to rise from $303.6 billion as of 2017 to $484.9 billion by 2025.


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About the author:

Supriti Tripathy, OpenGrowth Content Team

A believer of good things and pursuer of diverse avocation, she is a fiction lover and a simple writer. Supriti has a number of professions to her list and she feels challenges are the only answers to failures.

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