Mexico - Country Commercial Guide
Environmental Technologies

This is a best prospect sectors for this market, Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2021-09-02

This includes water technologies, air pollution control, emissions control, waste management, and recycling.

The environmental technologies and water markets in Mexico are poised for growth over the next few years because of a strong need for infrastructure modernization in the water sector and the need for technological solutions for solid waste. Public and private-sector stakeholders are keen to address many of Mexico’s greatest challenges in these sectors with the latest products, technology, and expertise. As a result, these sectors are expected to provide good business opportunities for U.S. companies in the 2021–2022 timeframe.


The market for the water and wastewater sub-sectors in Mexico is expected to increase 2.4 percent from 2020–2021, while exports from the United States to Mexico are expected to be 61.5 percent of the total import market. The National Water Commission (Comisión Nacional de Agua or CONAGUA) reports that 77 percent of available water is used in the agricultural sector, nine percent in the industrial and services sector, and 14 percent in urban areas.

CONAGUA’s budget for 2021 is approximately USD 3.2 billion, which will be used to fund improvements to existing potable water and municipal wastewater infrastructure, including Mexico City Metropolitan Area water system, and to increase infrastructure for water irrigation projects in Mexico’s agriculture areas. The government also plans to develop five public-private investment projects in desalination and municipal wastewater treatment plants, as well as potable water treatment plants, valued at USD 100 million, in various metropolitan areas.

The main water challenges in Mexico are over-exploitation, inadequate infrastructure, and contamination of water resources. Nine million people do not have access to potable water, and 11 million are not connected to sewage lines. To address these issues, as part of the National Water Plan (Programa Nacional Hídrico or PNH) for 2020-2024, the government seeks to modernize the country’s infrastructure through public policies and other new initiatives, such as systems to measure consumption and improve water management in urban and agriculture areas of the country.

Mexico Water Technology Market Size
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2021 (Estimated)

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Imports from the US





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*Total market size = (total local production + imports) – exports

Source: Central Bank of Mexico (Banco de Mexico), World Bank, Mexican Water Technology Institute (IMTA,), National Bank for International Trade (BANCOMEXT), Secretariat of Economy, International Boundary Water Commission (IBWC), National Water Commission (CONAGUA), Mexico City Water System, & interviews with importers, distributors, and end-users of water and wastewater equipment and services.

Environmental Technologies

It is estimated that the market for environmental technologies in Mexico will increase by 1.6 percent from 2021 to 2022, while exports from the United States to Mexico are expected to be 64.9 percent of the total import market over the same period.

The Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales or SEMARNAT) is the federal entity in charge of the laws, standards, programs, and initiatives that shape the environmental sector in Mexico. Throughout the years, one of the priorities of SEMARNAT has been to promote green development, which refers to advancing economic growth and development in Mexico by promoting a more competitive, sustainable, and low-carbon-emissions economy.

The General Law on Climate Change (Ley General de Cambio Climático), which was published in 2018, is the national guide for climate change policy for the medium- to long-term with 10-, 20-, and 40-year goals. One objective of this law is to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 50 percent (compared to GHG emissions in 2000) by 2050.

Mexico Environmental Technologies: Air, Waste Management, Recycling
(Figures in USD billions)






2021 (Estimated)

Total Local Production





Total Exports





Total Imports





Imports from the US





Total Market Size*                         





Exchange Rates





*Total market size= (total local production + imports) – exports

Source: Central Bank of Mexico (Banco de Mexico), National Bank for International Trade (BANCOMEXT), Mexican Secretariat of Economy (SE), Mexican Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT), Mexican Congress (Cámara de Diputados), Mexican Tax Authority (SAT), Mexican Geography and Statics Institute (INEGI), U.S. International Trade Administration, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, United Nations, Business Monitor, World Trade Atlas, bank reports and interviews with importers, distributors, and end-users of air, waste management and recycling equipment and services.

Leading Sub-Sectors

The leading sub-sectors for U.S. companies are in water resources equipment and services and environmental technologies, such as suspended solids removal, biological treatment, disinfection/oxidation technologies, reverse osmosis treatment, water pumps, valves, aerators, odor control equipment, data collection software and hardware, test equipment, calibrators, actuators, pipe and fittings, and supervision engineering services, solid waste management (including technologies to treat bio-hazardous waste), recycling, air pollution control and emissions control equipment. U.S. products and services are considered competitive in the Mexican market due to quality, post-sale services, and guarantees offered by U.S. companies.


Upgrading of Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plants

According to CONAGUA and the Secretariat of Agriculture and Rural Development (Secretaría de Agricultura y Desarrollo Rural or SADER), the Government of Mexico will continue in 2021 and 2022 upgrading existing municipal wastewater treatment plants that are in over 1,400 municipalities including those in Mexico City, and in the states of Guerrero, Oaxaca, Veracruz, Tabasco, Coahuila, Sonora, Sinaloa, and Chiapas, and in Mexican border cities such as Tijuana, Mexicali, Ciudad Juárez, and Reynosa. The estimated budget projected by CONAGUA for the projects is USD 300 million.

Upgrading of Potable Water Treatment Plants

In 2021 and 2022, CONAGUA—in collaboration with the World Bank, Mexico City Water Authorities, and the International Boundary Water Commission—will upgrade potable and municipal wastewater plants in Mexican border cities and the Cutzamala water system, and will strengthen the management of groundwater resources in the Valley of Mexico. Additional water projects will be completed in the states of Puebla, Coahuila, Durango, Baja California, and Baja California Sur. International tenders will be published in Mexico’s Official Gazette to invite companies to participate in projects to be financed by World Bank and the North American Development Bank in U.S. and Mexican border cities. Some of the projects include upgrading existing potable water treatment plants; building two desalination plants for the cities of La Paz and Los Cabos in the state of Baja California Sur; rehabilitation of the Ensenada Desalination Plant; building a municipal wastewater treatment plant in Tijuana; building a Rio Colorado-Tijuana Aqueduct, and cleaning the Grijalva River in the City of Villahermosa, Tabasco. The estimated budget projected by CONAGUA in its National Water Plan for 2021–2024 is USD 900 million.

Waste Management and Recycling

In May 2020, SEMARNAT published a report titled Basic Diagnosis for the Comprehensive Waste Management. This serves as a tool and a guiding document to formulate and implement the National Program for the Prevention and Comprehensive Management of Special Handling Waste (PNPGIRME), based on the principles of reduction, reuse, and recycling of waste, within a framework of holistic management systems in which SEMARNAT plans to share responsibilities among the different social and productive sectors in conjunction with the three levels of government (municipal, state, and federal).

In Mexico, the main sources of waste are: 1) solid urban waste from municipalities; 2) special handling waste from health services, agricultural activities and fisheries, residual sawmill forest and livestock biomass, wastewater treatment, transportation, construction, and technology, batteries, tires, and manufactured products that finish their life cycle; 3) hazardous waste from various industrial and commercial activities, infections and biological remains, polychlorinated biphenyls (also known as PCBs); and 4) waste from the oil and mining industries.

According to SEMARNAT’s 2020 diagnosis, per capita generation of urban solid waste in Mexico is estimated at 0.944 kg per inhabitant per day and the total generation in the country is estimated at 120,128 tons per day. In terms of the classification of solid urban waste, 31.6 percent corresponds to waste susceptible to use, 46.4 percent to organic waste, and 22.0 percent to other types of waste. Of the waste generated, 100,751 tons per day are collected, which equates to a national coverage of 83.9 percent.

In terms of the transfer of waste, there are approximately 26,615 collection vehicles out of which 59.3 percent have compaction systems. Twenty nine percent of those vehicles are models produced prior to 1995 with at least 24 years of operation. The transfer of waste in Mexico is done in 127 facilities, located in 112 municipalities of 23 states. Of these, 49.6 percent are in municipalities with populations of more than 100,000 inhabitants.

There are 173 solid waste collection centers in operation in the country in 63 municipalities in 19 states. The separation of waste is done in 144 municipalities in 23 states, including in 16 locations in Mexico City. Approximately 5,281 tons of separated waste (organic and inorganic) is collected daily, which accounts for around 5 percent of the total waste collected in the country. From the separated waste collected in Mexico, 2,062 tons correspond to organic waste and 3,219 tons correspond to inorganic waste. There are 47 waste treatment plants, in which the processes of separation or recycling, crushing, compaction, composting, and biodigestion are performed.

Considering the existing infrastructure to collect, separate, treat, and recycle waste, there are still opportunities available for U.S. products, services, and technologies that can be promoted directly to the suppliers and contractors of urban solid waste management services in the different municipalities in Mexico.

Moreover, in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mexican Congress expressed the need to carry out inspection and surveillance actions necessary to verify compliance with environmental legislation to prevent Mexico’s natural areas from being contaminated with biohazardous waste. According to a report released in July 2020 by the Mexican Government, the generation of waste due to the COVID-19 health emergency is a growing problem. There is an increased use of materials such as gloves, face masks, face shields, cleaning products, and other protection items that, after their use, become hazardous waste. This report also indicates that in a normal scenario, without a pandemic, each hospital bed generates approximately 1.5 kg of waste daily, whereas in a scenario with the pandemic, each hospital bed for COVID-19 patients generates approximately 9 kg of waste daily. This represents a 500 percent increase and most of the waste that is produced is considered hazardous. The generation of urban solid waste during the COVID-19 pandemic increased between 2,752,942 and 13,764,709 kg per day (3.5-17.5%). The total solid waste, including urban solid waste and medical waste, generated during the pandemic is estimated to have increased between 81,214 to 92,338 tons per day (3.3-16.5%), in comparison to what is generated under normal conditions.

There is a Mexican technical regulation for hazardous waste (NOM 87), which establishes the guidelines for the separation, packaging, storage, collection, transportation, treatment, and final disposal of hazardous waste. In August 2020, SEMARNAT published an updated list of companies authorized to manage hazardous waste.

There is a global need for advanced technologies to tackle environmental challenges derived from solid waste management, including for waste generated because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a response to the pandemic, Mexico published in July 2020 a report offering recommendations of how to handle biological and infectious waste from municipalities, hospitals, and medical centers.

Air Pollution Control

Management programs to improve air quality known as ProAire were developed by the Mexican Government to reverse the deterioration of air quality in major cities in Mexico. ProAire programs incorporate specific measures for the reduction and control of pollutant emissions. The programs are based on the relationship among the emissions pollutants, the sources where they are originated, the impact on air quality, and the health of the communities. As of 2021, there are 32 ProAire programs operating in 29 states. In addition, SEMARNAT, in coordination with other federal agencies, is responsible for implementing programs to reduce emissions from industries under federal jurisdiction and programs to verify vehicle emissions. 

Emissions Control

The National Emissions Registry (Registro Nacional de Emisiones or RENE), an instrument of the General Law on Climate Change has the objective of compiling the necessary information regarding the emission of greenhouse gases and compounds. This creates an area of opportunity for U.S. technologies as companies in certain industries must report their direct and indirect emissions of greenhouse gases or compounds from all their facilities when they exceed 25,000 tons of CO₂ equivalent.


  • Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT)
  • National Water Commission (CONAGUA)
  • National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change (INECC)
  • Attorney General for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA)
  • Mexican Institute of Water Technology (IMTA)
  • National Bank for Public Works (BANOBRAS)
  • North American Development Bank (NADBANK)
  • National Council of Industrial Ecologists of Mexico (CONIECO)
  • National Association of Water and Sanitation Companies of Mexico (ANEAS)
  • Mexico City Secretariat of Environment (SEDEMA)


  • Waste Expo, Las Vegas, Nevada


For more informan on the environmental technologies and water sectors in Mexico, please contact:

Francisco Cerón

Commercial Specialist, Water

U.S. Commercial Service—Mexico City

Tel: +52 (55) 5080-2000 ext. 5211


Claudia Salgado

Commercial Specialist, Environmental Technologies

U.S. Commercial Service—Mexico City

Tel: +52 (55) 5080-2000 ext. 5224