A basic service that people and businesses must use no matter what the economic conditions is waste disposal, notes Jim Powell, editor of Global Changes & Opportunities Report.

It’s a sector that most investors overlook. The product smells, it isn’t sexy, and people don’t enjoy talking about it. However, waste disposal is very profitable.

Waste disposal is an excellent all-weather industry. Many people go for years without seeing a doctor. But they can’t do without their garbage service for more than two or three weeks.

In the US, the top waste disposal company is Waste Management (WM); the company serves the needs of residential, commercial, industrial, and municipal customers around the country.

It operates under its own name and also does business through hundreds of local companies in towns and cities from coast to coast. In addition, Waste Management sells enough landfill gas (methane) to power nearly 500,000 homes.

As you might expect, Waste Management is also a recycling leader. However, collecting refuse, selling methane, and recycling aren’t the company’s principal businesses. Instead, Waste Management operates 254 licensed landfills in the US, plus hundreds of transfer stations.

Nearly all of Waste Management’s competition must use the company’s disposal sites — for which they pay hefty fees. In short, it’s the landfill business that matters the most — and Waste Management is the industry’s dominant provider.

Because of its leading position in its industry, Waste Management has been able to increase its dumping charges for many years — a period that includes the Great Recession. Waste Management should be a good choice for conservative investors who want a proven long-term performer.

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