26 Nov 2021

Merger set to clean up the waste industry

2:20 pm on 26 November 2021

Two big players in the waste sector are merging to form the country's largest locally owned waste management group.

Bags filled with litter after volunteers helped with a cleanup today.

Companies in a new waste management merger hope to reduce the amount of rubbish going to landfills. Photo: South Westland Coastal Cleanup / Supplied

Smart Environmental and Earthcare are coming together with the combined entity providing collection services to more than 430,000 households across 20 councils.

The merged entity will be retain the Smart Environmental name.

Smart's majority shareholders are funds associated with New Zealand investment groups Maui Capital and Milford Asset Management.

Smart chief executive Todd McLeay hopes the deal will deliver more investment into driving waste minimisation.

"We were really looking for a partnership that enabled us to have more redundancy in our recovery network and Earthcare has a really state of the art facility in the lower North Island.

"They are also very strong in organic material recovery and when we look at where New Zealand is heading in terms of waste, it's very much away from waste going into landfill."

The Earthcare and its market brands would be retained, Smart Environmental said.

McLeay said Smart was well positioned given the environmental regulatory change underway, in particular the hike in the landfill levy between 2021 and 2024.

Earthcare founder Mike Jones said it has built strong position in organic material collection and processing.

"The government is currently consulting on emission reduction and waste strategy and both feature the removal of organics from disposal to landfill as a priority. This merger gives us the right combination of geographic footprint and expertise to really make a difference."

McLeay will be the chief executive of the new combined entity, while Jones would stay on in the new leadership team and take a significant shareholding.

Earlier this year it was reported that Chinese state-owned Beijing Capital is looking to sell the once-listed Waste Management New Zealand - another major player in the country's waste sector.

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