BORDER 2, the global recycling industry’s second-largest, is the biggest in the world after the United States, and its owners are hoping the same success will be replicated across the globe.
The market for the environmentally friendly materials, which are often used in high-end luxury goods, is already expanding.
And companies have found a way to get the most out of the waste they recycle: They sell it back to retailers.
That way, they can turn a profit and get to market faster.
But while the market is booming, some retailers are still struggling.
In Bordeaux, a town that borders France, the French Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (MFA) estimates the industry will generate between €1.2 billion and €2.5 billion ($1.7 billion to $2.8 billion) over the next 10 years.
“The problem is that we have to re-sell them, and we have no way of getting the money back,” said Philippe Gaudet, head of waste management at Bordeaus Waste Management, a firm that manages the waste of over 1.5 million people in the region.
We need the money to make our business sustainable.”
In Europe, the Bordeau Waste Management business has been around for years, but the company’s founder, Daniel Levesque, thinks the sector is on the verge of collapse.
“The market is exploding.
In some places, the market has reached its limits,” he said.
In Belgium, waste management companies that handle more than 5 million tonnes of garbage are struggling to keep up with demand.
Levesque believes the industry needs to be more transparent.
“There are companies that are trying to profit off waste,” he told Al Jazeera.
“They’re trying to buy it at below market prices.”
Companies are also making the most of their business in China.
The country’s central government estimates waste generated there generates around €6.7bn ($7.2bn) in taxes each year.
The companies that manage the waste are also taking a huge hit, because the Chinese government has slashed the value of their stock.
“In some places we’re not able to invest at all,” said Gaudets, who believes the government should regulate the sector to reduce the amount of waste it generates.
“What we’re trying is to get a lot of value back from the Chinese companies.”‘
I just wanted to get back to work’The waste sector in the U.S. has also become a huge business, with more than $4.5 trillion in waste generated by consumers in 2012.
But there are challenges.
Companies that manage waste have little in the way of financial backing, and they’re not protected from liability for waste.
As a result, waste companies have little incentive to make sure the money they make is invested in sustainable waste management practices.
In a report last year, the US Department of Agriculture found that in some cities, the majority of waste companies were “failing to implement long-term sustainability strategies” that could keep the businesses afloat.
The agency recommended that governments regulate waste management firms to make them more accountable to consumers.
But some environmental groups have called for such regulations to be instituted in the United Kingdom, Canada and Europe.
“It’s a shame that waste management is still so heavily regulated in these countries,” said Joris Levesques, the president of Bordeans Waste Management.
“If you want to invest in the future, you need to be investing in sustainability.”
But Levesquets thinks the waste industry is ready for regulation.
“I just want to get out of this job and start a business.
I want to be able to reinvest the money that I’ve made and reinvest it in the environment and the people who are affected by waste.”