I have to thank you for the enthusiastic emails I received for the previous 3 blogs on future trends for recycling and waste management – however, it will be very useful of some of you would publish their views as comments, rather sending them directly to me – in any case it is obvious that we need a lot of discussion about it, so all the comments are more than welcomed and useful. Back to work now.
What is China’s interest rate?
Will China lower interest rates?
What interest rate do we pay China?
Why is China cutting interest rates?
Why doesn’t China want the U.S. to raise interest rates?
1. The past decade was characterised by the biggest commodity boom in history, fuelled by rapid Chinese and Indian growth. But the market has shifted and structural issues are now being exposed. High material prices are no longer fundamental for the viability of recycling viability of recycling services.2. Falling commodity prices at the back end are enabling manufacturers to be more demanding with regard to their inputs. This means that prices are down and at the same time quality demands are going up. The mismatch between these two ends of the recycling supply chain is squeezing everyone in between.3. Especially in EU, “this fundamental market shift has shown how exposed operators are to volatile material prices. In the highly competitive environment of the waste service industry, where margins are bid away to very low levels, it doesn’t take much of a fall in prices to erode that safety net and put contracts at risk” as it was explained by ESA’s executive director.
Of course the problem is not simply European, it becomes global as there similar signals from USA recycling market too.
If you add on top of this, the long-term trends for energy prices, then there is a clear conclusion: the recycling and waste management industry have to re-invent their cost structures and business models, they have to rethink profitability, risk-sharing and diversification in order to create viable businesses on the long-term.
At the same time UBER fights for its business models in Rio de Janeiro, the erosion of the current dominating business models comes from another source too. And this is the emergence of new business models that stimulate circular economy approaches, like sharing practices, replacing ownership with service models etc. Those business models are generated from new answers to five simple questions:
So, finally the conclusion is simple but crucial. Both recycling market volatility and the emergency of circular business models demonstrate the importance of well-designed and adaptable business models for the long-term viability of successful waste management and recycling systems. At the same time, there is a growing emphasis for high value for money ratios and functional but still low cost solutions especially in the developing world. It seems that the recycling and waste management industry must reinvent itself – why not?