A major trend toward the feasibility and profitability of the waste management industry was recently brought to international attention, as the richest man in Asia, Li Ka-shing, expressed his interest to enter the industry. Ka-shing recently lead an association of businessmen in a proposal to buy AVR, a Dutch company specializing in waste management, for over 1.26 billion dollars. While this may seem like a hefty investment, it only demonstrate just how profitable and environmentally friendly the waste management industry can be.

Many wealthy businessmen, such as Kam Hing Lam, managing director of Ka-shing’s subsidiary company CKI (Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings), are entering the industry because of its bright future. Lam effectively recognizes that, as the world population rises, so does the Gross Domestic Product and consumption practices of the world as well. When all three of these factors increase, so does the amount of waste and the need for waste management infrastructure as well.

This is a sentiment that is not only a theory, but has been regularly demonstrated in recent history. Over the last 10 years, the amount of waste created by international cities has more than doubled. Additionally, estimates by researchers Daniel Hoornweg and Perinaz Bhada-Tata worldwide speculates that the 1.3 billion tons of trash we produce every year will skyrocket to over 2.2 billion tons by the year 2025.

Not only will there be an increased need for waste management, but it can be a highly profitable industry on top of this. AVR, the Dutch company Ka-shing is attempting to purchase, is very well known for being the largest “waste-to-energy” company in the Netherlands. The need for waste to be converted to additional energy and resources is one that will hugely increase in our lifetime and the next. This is not only because of rising populations and waste creation, but also because of new laws and expectations for leading countries of the world to become increasingly efficient in the amount of waste they convert to energy. In countries such as the United States, in which waste converted to energy is well below average levels, it may be a good time to invest in these companies and apply techniques from other waste management companies.

These modern changes towards sustainability are also crucial for the environment and the world’s future as well. A great deal of landfills are already beginning to overflow, and many countries are attempting to deal with the issue of having too much waste to be able to store. If we care about future generations and their quality of life, we need to greatly lower our dependence on landfills and conventional waste methods, and expand into areas of renewable energy and waste-to-energy methods.

While the decision to enter the waste management industry may only be a decision made by wealthy businessmen to increase profits and generate revenue today, it needs to become a decision made by environmentally conscious activists, world leaders, and forward thinkers tomorrow. Be a part of this change today, and work towards a world that is more sustainable!

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