11 Best Waste Management Stocks to Buy Now

·14 min read

In this article, we discuss 11 best waste management stocks to buy now. If you want to see more stocks in this selection, check out 5 Best Waste Management Stocks to Buy Now

On January 11, 2023, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, which is the fund division of Goldman Sachs, disclosed that it raised $1.6 billion for its initial private equity fund that concentrates on investing in companies offering solutions to environmental and climate issues. The completion of the Horizon Environment & Climate Solutions I fund happens as investors are increasingly focusing on companies that can aid in the global battle against climate change. Launched in 2021, the fund provides growth capital to firms that have progressed in creating solutions in areas such as clean energy, sustainable transportation, waste management, sustainable food and agriculture, and ecosystem services. Waste management is a rapidly growing industry. 

In 2020, the worldwide waste management market was valued at $1,612.0 billion, and it is projected to grow to $2,483.0 billion by 2030, exhibiting a compound annual growth rate of 3.4% from 2021 to 2030. Waste management pertains to the gathering, moving, and proper disposal of garbage, sewage, and other types of waste materials. It encompasses the treatment of solid waste and the safe and effective elimination of unwanted substances and products. Moreover, there is a growing trend of incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) and internet of things (IoT) enabled devices like robots for the purpose of categorizing and separating waste materials resulting from demolitions and debris, and generating high-quality and valuable materials from mixed construction and demolition waste. This presents profitable growth prospects for significant industry players. In addition, significant investments in research and development efforts are anticipated to create a favorable market outlook.

Some of the best waste management stocks to buy in order to benefit from the industry traction include Waste Management, Inc. (NYSE:WM), Republic Services, Inc. (NYSE:RSG), and Waste Connections, Inc. (NYSE:WCN). 

Our Methodology 

We chose the top waste management stocks based on overall hedge fund sentiment. We have assessed the hedge fund sentiment from Insider Monkey’s database of 943 elite hedge funds tracked as of the end of the fourth quarter of 2022. The list is arranged in ascending order of the number of hedge fund holders in each firm. 

11 Best Waste Management Stocks to Buy Now
11 Best Waste Management Stocks to Buy Now

Olaf Speier/Shutterstock.com

Best Waste Management Stocks to Buy Now

11. Perma-Fix Environmental Services, Inc. (NASDAQ:PESI)

Number of Hedge Fund Holders: 6

Perma-Fix Environmental Services, Inc. (NASDAQ:PESI) is an American company that specializes in environmental solutions and technology. Its operations are divided into two segments – Treatment and Services. The Treatment segment provides a range of services, including the treatment and disposal of nuclear waste, low-level radioactive waste, mixed waste, hazardous waste, and non-hazardous waste. 

Perma-Fix Environmental Services, Inc. (NASDAQ:PESI)’s fourth-quarter revenue was $16.757 million, which is slightly lower than the $17.116 million reported in the previous year. The CEO of the company, Mark Duff, acknowledged that the year 2022 was challenging due to the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused delays in projects in both the Treatment and Services Segments. However, he expressed optimism about Perma-Fix Environmental Services, Inc. (NASDAQ:PESI)’s future growth prospects. He noted that the Treatment Segment had seen a gradual improvement in waste receipts, particularly in the last nine months of 2022, with average receipts per quarter steadily returning to pre-pandemic levels.

According to Insider Monkey’s fourth quarter database, 6 hedge funds were long Perma-Fix Environmental Services, Inc. (NASDAQ:PESI), compared to 4 funds in the prior quarter. Ken Griffin’s Citadel Investment Group is the biggest position holder in the company. 

Like Waste Management, Inc. (NYSE:WM), Republic Services, Inc. (NYSE:RSG), and Waste Connections, Inc. (NYSE:WCN), Perma-Fix Environmental Services, Inc. (NASDAQ:PESI) is one of the best waste management stocks to watch. 

Here is what Long Cast Advisers has to say about Perma-Fix Environmental Services, Inc. (NASDAQ:PESI) in its Q4 2020 investor letter:

“PESI is another stock that has been a drag on results for the quarter and year, despite the fact that it’s undergoing a remarkable turnaround partially masked by COVID related issues.

The Treatment segment (left chart) is an asset-heavy processor of low-level nuclear waste – mostly derived from the cleanup of soils and machinery at closed federal facilities – at four locations in the US. This business makes money on the capacity utilization of its facilities; as long as the machines are running and the waste is flowing the business generates 15%-20% OpInc margins. The Services segment (right chart) does “boots on the ground” type work which it bids and conducts similar to a construction project, (though it’s more likely deconstruction). This segment was stagnant under prior management but has been rejuvenated under the current CEO Mark Duff, who joined the company in 2016 and was promoted in 2017.

The large decline in Treatment mirrors the large COVID-related decline in waste shipments across the country. A data point that’s illustrative of the decline: At YTD 3Q19, ~760k cubic feet of waste was disposed of at a variety of federal facilities and cleanup sites nationwide. At YTD 3Q20, that dropped to ~380k cubic feet. (A keen observer of these links might notice significant growth at the Perma-Fix facility at TN, but that’s the result of an acquisition in Feb 2020 of a high volume low margin sorting facility.) As a result of declining waste shipments nationwide, margins in the normally stable Treatment segment have collapsed and ~$2M in quarterly operating profit has temporarily disappeared.

The cumulative effect of the temporary decline on high margin Treatment concurrent with growth in lower margin Services makes it appear as if the company is experiencing decremental margins or “running to stay in place”, likely why the company gets no credit for the improvement at Services. At some point, Treatment will come back, growth in Services will be additive and I think shareholders will be rewarded.

The stock trades for about 12x TTM EBITDA, slightly above the peer group, but this is against an EBITDA figure that’s understated by ~$3M due to the aforementioned temporary factors. Adjusting for these factors, it’s trading at 8x “normalized” EBITDA. When the environment re-normalizes, we should see the full benefit of the turnaround in Services + improved results in Treatment. None of this even remotely considers some of the large federal cleanup projects on which the company is actively bidding.”

10. Quest Resource Holding Corporation (NASDAQ:QRHC)

Number of Hedge Fund Holders: 8

Quest Resource Holding Corporation (NASDAQ:QRHC) provides waste management solutions for recycling, reusing, and disposing of various types of waste and recyclable materials throughout the United States. The company's services include disposal and recycling of different types of waste such as motor oil and automotive lubricants, oil filters, scrap tires, oily water, goods destruction, food waste, meat renderings, plastics, cardboard, metal, glass, construction debris, and a wide range of regulated and non-regulated solid, liquid, and gas wastes. It is one of the best waste management stocks to invest in. 

On April 18, EF Hutton analyst Chip Moore initiated coverage of Quest Resource Holding Corporation (NASDAQ:QRHC) with a Buy rating and a $13 price target. Quest is a major provider of waste and recycling solutions across the United States, and according to the analyst, the company is distinct from its competitors due to its national footprint and asset-light approach. Quest Resource Holding Corporation (NASDAQ:QRHC) is also able to handle a wide range of waste streams, making it a comprehensive solution for customers. Additionally, Moore noted that the company has developed valuable data warehousing capabilities, which allow it to offer full visibility of waste streams to its clients.

According to Insider Monkey’s fourth quarter database, 8 hedge funds were bullish on Quest Resource Holding Corporation (NASDAQ:QRHC), compared to 9 funds in the earlier quarter. Nelson Obus’ Wynnefield Capital is the largest stakeholder of the company, with 2.5 million shares worth $15.70 million. 

Here is what Long Cast Advisor specifically said about Quest Resource Holding Corporation (NASDAQ:QRHC)  in its Q2 2022 investor letter:

“Quest Resource Holding Corporation (NASDAQ:QRHC) borrowed heavily to purchase Rome RWS, Inc., and with results from the acquired company not yet fully on the income statement, the debt ratios expanded and equity valuations declined. Management – and really the Board – is undertaking a high skill maneuver of integrating its largest acquisition to date, carrying an unprecedented level of debt all concurrent with the long planned retirement of the long tenured CFO. It’s a little more exciting than necessary but the valuation is undemanding and the opportunity set quite large.

Since I’ve long written about what this company could look like if it leaned more deeply into utilizing technology within its two-sided marketplace, I’ll be closely following the XPO Logistics (XPO) spinoff of the truck brokerage business, expected in 4Q22. Truck and waste brokerage share some similar dynamics and as I’ve long noted, the technologist at XPO worked at Oakleaf concurrently with QRHC CEO Ray Hatch. Technology was a big enabling factor at Oakleaf and in XPO’s +10x growth. I think it would have a similar function for QRHC were management to wisely invest time and resources in its development.”

9. Montrose Environmental Group, Inc. (NYSE:MEG)

Number of Hedge Fund Holders: 8

Montrose Environmental Group, Inc. (NYSE:MEG) is an environmental services company in the United States and internationally. The company operates in three segments – Assessment, Permitting and Response, Measurement and Analysis, and Remediation and Reuse. It is one of the top waste management stocks to watch. On February 10, Montrose Environmental Group, Inc. (NYSE:MEG) revealed that it has acquired Environmental Alliance, which is an environmental engineering and consulting firm situated in the Mid-Atlantic region.

On March 2, JPMorgan analyst Stephanie Yee downgraded Montrose Environmental Group, Inc. (NYSE:MEG) from Overweight to Neutral, and reduced its price target to $39 from $48. The analyst cited the company's Q4 results and guidance as being below expectations. Yee believes that Montrose Environmental Group, Inc. (NYSE:MEG) can achieve organic growth at a relatively high rate, but only when excluding the more volatile CTEH segment. However, the analyst noted that the company's operating leverage appears to be limited in the near term.

According to Insider Monkey’s fourth quarter database, 8 hedge funds were bullish on Montrose Environmental Group, Inc. (NYSE:MEG), with collective stakes worth $57 million. Richard Driehaus’ Driehaus Capital is the largest stakeholder of the company, with 452,302 shares worth $20 million.

Alger Weatherbie Specialized Growth Fund made the following comment about Montrose Environmental Group, Inc. (NYSE:MEG) in its Q4 2022 investor letter:

“Montrose Environmental Group, Inc. (NYSE:MEG) offers various environmental services to a diverse client base, primarily in the U.S. The company has expertise in a wide variety of areas, including environmental assessment and permitting, measurement and analysis, and remediation and reuse. During the period, the company reported solid organic growth with particular strength in areas such as Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), biogas and GHG measurement. Moreover, management noted that they are not seeing a change in customer behavior or buying patterns despite a challenging macroeconomic backdrop. The company also noted that momentum continues to build in their favor on the regulatory front, with recent EPA proposals and state level regulations being introduced.”

8. Heritage-Crystal Clean, Inc (NASDAQ:HCCI)

Number of Hedge Fund Holders: 14

Heritage-Crystal Clean, Inc (NASDAQ:HCCI) caters to small and medium-sized customers in the industrial and vehicle maintenance sectors in North America. They offer services such as parts cleaning, hazardous and non-hazardous waste disposal, and used oil collection. In addition, Heritage-Crystal Clean, Inc (NASDAQ:HCCI)’s Environmental Services division provides containerized waste management, industrial and field services, antifreeze recycling, emergency and spill response, wastewater vacuum, and parts cleaning.

Kevin Steinke, an analyst at Barrington, increased the target price on Heritage-Crystal Clean, Inc (NASDAQ:HCCI) shares from $45 to $46 and maintained an Outperform rating on March 14. The company's Q4 2022 results surpassed expectations, with revenue rising by 42.2% year-over-year to $241.1 million, exceeding the firm's estimated $223.4 million and the consensus of $225.5 million. According to the analyst, the recent acquisition of Patriot Environmental Services, which was finalized on August 3, 2022, contributed 21.6 percentage points to growth. Consequently, the organic revenue growth for Q4 2022 was 20.6%.

According to Insider Monkey’s fourth quarter database, 14 hedge funds were long Heritage-Crystal Clean, Inc (NASDAQ:HCCI), compared to 19 funds in the last quarter. J. Carlo Cannell’s Cannell Capital is the largest stakeholder of the company, with 800,137 shares worth approximately $26 million. 

Meridian Funds made the following comment about Heritage-Crystal Clean, Inc (NASDAQ:HCCI) in its Q3 2022 investor letter:

“Heritage-Crystal Clean, Inc (NASDAQ:HCCI) is an environmental services company focused on machine parts cleaning, used oil collection, oil re-refining, and hazardous and non-hazardous waste services. Our rationale for investing in this company includes the recurring revenue stream it generates from its environmental services business unit and substantial growth opportunities in the re-refinery and used oil collection segments. Continued strong execution and higher oil prices contributed to the stock’s solid performance during the period. Notably, Heritage-Crystal Clean’s oil business segment generated record revenue in the second quarter and saw segment margins improve to 41%, as the spread between base oil sales and the cost of collecting used oil widened. The company’s core environmental services segment also recorded record quarterly revenue. We believe the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) story at Heritage remains underappreciated by the market as the company collects used motor oil and recycles it for reuse. We have high conviction in the long-term growth story for the company, but trimmed our position in the stock during the period as the share price appreciated.”

7. Li-Cycle Holdings Corp. (NYSE:LICY)

Number of Hedge Fund Holders: 14

Li-Cycle Holdings Corp. (NYSE:LICY) specializes in the recovery and recycling of lithium-ion batteries. The company offers a variety of cathode and anode battery materials, including lithium, nickel, and cobalt, as well as graphite, copper, and aluminum. Additionally, Li-Cycle Holdings Corp. (NYSE:LICY) provides hub products like lithium carbonate, cobalt sulphate, nickel sulphate, and manganese carbonate. It is one of the best waste management stocks to invest in. On March 27, Li-Cycle Holdings Corp. (NYSE:LICY) revealed that it has formed a fresh partnership for the recycling of lithium-ion batteries and intends to establish a recycling facility in France. 

According to Baird analyst Ben Kallo, Li-Cycle Holdings Corp. (NYSE:LICY)’s Q4 results were below expectations and were negatively influenced by fair market value adjustments, resulting in a decrease in the firm's price target from $8 to $7. Despite this, black mass production exceeded previous estimates, increasing both sequentially and year-over-year. The analyst maintained a Neutral rating on the company's shares on January 31.

According to Insider Monkey’s fourth quarter database, 14 hedge funds were long Li-Cycle Holdings Corp. (NYSE:LICY), compared to 15 funds in the prior quarter. Zilvinas Mecelis’ Covalis Capital is the biggest position holder in the company, with 11.2 million shares worth $53.3 million. 

6. Casella Waste Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CWST)

Number of Hedge Fund Holders: 16

Casella Waste Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CWST) provides resource management services through its subsidiaries. These services include solid waste collection and disposal, transfer, recycling, and organics services. Casella Waste Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CWST) caters to a wide range of customers, including residential, commercial, municipal, institutional, and industrial clients. In the fourth quarter of 2022, the company’s revenue of $272.1 million climbed 12.5% on a year-over-year basis, beating market consensus by $7.95 million. 

On January 10, UBS analyst Jon Windham upgraded Casella Waste Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CWST) to Buy from Neutral with a $95 price target.

According to Insider Monkey’s fourth quarter database, 16 hedge funds were bullish on Casella Waste Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CWST), compared to 23 funds in the last quarter. Mario Gabelli’s GAMCO Investors is the largest stakeholder of the company, with 118,000 shares worth $9.35 million. 

In addition to Waste Management, Inc. (NYSE:WM), Republic Services, Inc. (NYSE:RSG), and Waste Connections, Inc. (NYSE:WCN), Casella Waste Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CWST) is one of the top waste management stocks to monitor.

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Disclosure: None. 11 Best Waste Management Stocks to Buy Now is originally published on Insider Monkey.