Background and challenge

Australia produces two tonnes of waste per capita per year. Rates of recovery of valuable resources such as plastics and paper and municipal waste are around 50% — much lower than international standards. In recent years, the tide of public sentiment has begun to turn, and businesses, government agencies and consumers are demanding reductions in waste and increased recovery of waste materials. To address the problem, various state governments have enacted varying policy mechanisms and financial disincentives to reduce landfill use, charging landfill levies of up to $145 per tonne of waste sent to landfills. While this has encouraged some incremental resource recovery, several material recovery markets remain immature and market failures continue to be identified.

Our client was among the largest waste management companies in Australia. It had a legacy portfolio of assets that were not consistent with the future needs of the country and needed a strategic rationale that would galvanise the executive team to pursue change. The company engaged L.E.K. Consulting to support it in creating a strong and enduring investment strategy in future-proofed assets.

Approach and recommendations


Since receiving our recommendations, the company has made hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of investments in resource recovery assets. The company’s investments have significantly strengthened its material recovery proposition and built increased competitive advantage versus its peers. Furthermore, with its enhanced green credentials, the company can now offer customers greater flexibility in recovery options for waste management. The share price has tripled since we started the project. 

PE Firm Receives Due Diligence Support for Roll-Up of Waste Collection Companies
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From assessing the market opportunities to evaluating the associated risks, learn how we helped a PE client navigate multiple acquisitions in the waste collection and disposal market.

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