Waste Management: A Growing Business In Spain

Waste Management: A Growing Business In Spain

Waste Management: A Growing Business In Spain

Waste management is becoming big business in Spain and an attractive industry for investors on the hunt for M&A opportunities. Spain generates 150 million tonnes per year of waste, or 6 percent of the total for the European Union, according to management consultancy Norgestion.

The waste management industry accounts for 40 percent of all environmental sector-related activity, chalking up revenues of over 7.8 billion euros and employing 140,000 people.

About 50 percent of the market is controlled by a handful of big companies, such as Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas, and most of these offer an integrated service which encompasses the whole production chain. But there are over 10,000 companies operating in Spain’s waste management sector – so it is ripe for consolidation!


The rise in raw materials and energy prices has fuelled the need to find other sources of energy supply. This has transformed the treatment of industrial, household, commercial,  and clinical waste into a strategic industry worldwide.

Spain has been very active in the development of alternative energies, particularly biomass, which currently makes the greatest contribution of all renewables to the energy balance. It has gained a reputation for using biomass from forest waste for heating and many of Spain’s top waste management companies are active in this business both at home and abroad. But some medium-sized enterprises are also making a name for themselves, such as Metso Iberica, a subsdiary of the technology and industrial services multinational Metso.


Metso Iberica’s waste recycling division was born from a series of mergers and acquisitions, including the integration in 2001 of German family-owned firm Lindemann, the world’s top manufacturer of machinery for recycling junk metals. Metso Iberica has become a leader in waste recycling in the Iberian Peninsula, supplying machinery for the biomass and other alternative energy industries.

As the waste management business continues to grow, smaller Spanish operators specialising in processes with more added value, such as recycling, will be on the buy list of larger companies who want to provide a fully-integrated service. Earlier this year, Spanish technology and environmental energy group Abengoa sold its Befesa subsidiary to the investment firm Triton, which focuses on medium-sized businesses. Befesa specialises in the management of industrial waste and has plants in Europe, Latin America and South Korea.

As well as beefing up their operations at home, Spanish companies will continue to expand overseas, particularly in emerging markets, where the management of commercial, household and clinical waste is a relatively immature business.

For information on Spain’s waste management business, contact Argali Abogados.


  1. Danie Wiese says:

    Good day
    I have read that Spain is running out of waste to generate energy from.
    What type of waste material is used and could there be opportunities in importing/selling waste to Spain or not ?

  2. As proper knowledge of waste management can be used to empower and can be seen to give employment to unemployed youths as it can be seen as an opportunity to employment moreover you can see various types of ways used to manage waste.

  3. joebo comia says:

    Good day!

    Is Waste Management in Spain segregated per item? Does it need waste manager for metal, wood, glass, soil?

    Thank you.

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