Today, the majority of the 254 million tons of waste produced by Americans each year is driven to disposal sites. In the future, this will come to an end. The prices for disposal are rising: it costs the most population-dense states billions of dollars to transport waste to disposal sites in other states. Several states and cities have therefore decided that they, within the next 20 years, will eliminate waste for disposal.
Thus, Americans have to, to a larger extent, adopt words such as sorting, recycling and resource utilization into their vocabulary – and that is a significant challenge. A challenge is, however, that the American actors in the waste market need technologies for sorting and recycling of waste, according to Consul General of Denmark in Chicago and Team Leader of the Trade Council’s US Energy and Environment team, Jakob Andersen.
“It costs Americans billions to dispose of such large amounts of waste, at the disposal sites that are often placed far away in other states – environmentally, that is outrageous. That is why several cities and states now have quite ambitious plans of completely eliminating disposal. But in the US they are far from the level of waste management seen in Denmark. That is why we have recognized that these new ambitions presents excellent opportunities for the Danish companies in the waste industry,” Jakob Andersen says, who emphasizes that the Danish waste industry has 20-30 years of experience to draw on when it comes to waste management and utilization of resources within waste.
Waste as a strategic focus area
Denmark’s Trade Council in the US is now establishing the Waste & Recycling Advisory. It will be a sector team that will seek out actors in the American waste industry, discuss solutions and lay the foundation for potential sales.
Waste & Recycling Advisory will be the Trade Council’s fourth focus area within clean tech in the US. It will build on the model of work used within the Wind Energy Advisory, Water Technology Alliance and District Energy Advisory. This model consists of market specialists from the Trade Council in the US, operations personnel from the waste industry and a number of screened, suitable companies that together can deliver total system solutions. This particular constellation has proven effective in ‘breaking down doors’ at the American companies.
According to Peter Heydorn, the Trade Council’s consultant on the waste industry, the key is the operations personnel, who can create mutual and genuine dialogue with their American colleagues on the floor.
“They know what their colleagues are facing. They know what it takes. They have themselves used suppliers, advisors, financial institutions etc. They can recognize the need and share their experiences and results. Thereby they can better involve their American colleagues in potential solutions, give them contacts and invite them on fact-finding trips to Denmark to see what we have done the past 20-30 years. It is the continuous mutual contact and dialogue between industry professionals that is often paving the way for new investments in the more complex infrastructural areas,” Peter Heydorn states.
Small but competent Danish companies
Even though Danish companies in the industry separately can seem small, there is no reason to say no if you technologically have something to offer:
“The actors in the US are very big, which is why they focus on whole systems and complete technologies when they meet with suppliers. What we therefore need is competences and experiences to make strategies, to build organizational conditions, to build systems and methods for financing waste solutions, to educate and create an awareness among stakeholders, citizens, consumers. Someone to develop the systems, deliver the technologies and build systems from top to bottom,” Peter Heydorn says, who will commence the collaboration with interested Danish companies and American stakeholders within the next couple of months.
The Trade Council is expecting that the activities within the new team will take shape over the summer.
“Now we will launch this team, talk to the Danish companies in the business and then we expect that we will be ready with the first market oriented activities for the Danish companies in the waste industry by spring 2018.”
Export consultant Peter Heydorn presented the new focus area at a meeting for export interested companies in the waste industry, arranged by Danish Competence center for Waste and Resources, DAKOFA, on April 19.
Read the case story "American waste is gold" here.
For additional information:
Consul General of Denmark Jakob Andersen (USA, Chicago)
Tel.: +1 (312) 261-6000
Export consultant Peter Heydorn (Denmark)
Tlf: +45 40 13 89 71