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: 2022-09-23

This best prospect industry sector includes water technologies, waste management, recycling, air pollution control, and emissions control.. These sectors are important due to water scarcity, air pollution and the increment of solid waste due to urban growth. This summary includes a market overview and trade data.


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 1.0 percent from 2021-2022, while exports from the United States to Mexico are expected to be 69.5 percent of the total imports 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 2022 is approximately USD 1.7 billion, which will be used to fund improvements to existing potable water and municipal wastewater infrastructure,  and increase infrastructure for water irrigation projects in Mexico’s agriculture areas. The government also plans on investing in two public-private investment projects in desalination projects and municipal wastewater treatment plants projects, as well as potable water treatment plants, valued at USD 150million, in various metropolitan areas.

The main water challenges in Mexico are over-exploitation, inadequate infrastructure, drought, 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.

Table 1:  Water Technologies -Potable, Municipal, Industrial, Recycling Technologies and Services

(Figures in USD billions)





2022 (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), 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 - Air, Waste Management, Recycling

The market for environmental technologies in Mexico is estimated to 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 imports 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.

 One example of the initiatives from SEMARNAT, was the General Law on Climate Change (Ley General de Cambio Climático), which was last updated in 2018, and it serves as the national guide for climate change policy in Mexico.

Table 2: Environmental Technologies: Air, Waste Management, Recycling

(Figures in USD billions)







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 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 500 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 the 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; rehabilitating 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 2021–2024 National Water Plan is USD 960 million.

Waste Management and Recycling

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 SEMARNAT’s priorities has been to promote green development in Mexico—advancing economic growth and development in Mexico by promoting a more competitive, sustainable, and low-carbon-emissions economy.

In May 2020, SEMARNAT published a  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, from agricultural activities and fisheries, from residual sawmill forest and livestock biomass, from wastewater treatment, from transportation, construction, and from 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 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, 31.56 percent corresponds to waste susceptible to use, 46.42 percent to organic waste, and 22.03 percent to other type of waste. Of the waste generated, 100,751 tons per day are collected, which equates to a national coverage of 83.87 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 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,  49.61 percent are in municipalities with population 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 November 2021, 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. Air Pollution Control

Management programs to improve air quality known as ProAire were developed by the Federal Government to prevent and correct the deterioration of air quality in major cities in Mexico.

In Mexico, there are 31 ProAire programs that cover 28 federal entities and serve a population of 107,940,180 inhabitants.

The objectives of the ProAire programs are:

-To coordinate the participation of the three levels of the government (federal, state, and municipal), with the industry, academia, and civil society, in order to find solutions to air pollution challenges.

-To determine the main causes of emissions and air pollution that affect that impact the air quality in specific regions.

-To determine the necessary measures and actions to reduce emissions and protect public health.

For more information on the ProAire programs, please visit SEMARNAT’s website.

Emissions Control

The National Emissions Registry (Registro Nacional de Emisiones or RENE), is an instrument that was developed by SEMARNAT, as a result of the the General Law on Climate Change in Mexico (2012). This instrument has the objective of compiling  the emissions of greenhouse gases and compounds from specific industries. Companies that belong to the energy, manufacturing, transportation, agricultural, waste, business, and services industries, which have direct and indirect emissions of greenhouse gases or compounds from all their facilities that exceed 25,000 tCO₂e (tons of CO₂ equivalent), must follow the process to register and comply with their emissions report through a platform known as COA (Cédula de Operación Anual) Web.

The reporting of emissions from main industries to the government also helps to make companies more aware of their impact to the environment. This creates an area of opportunity for U.S. technologies, as some of these companies may adopt specific measures and utilize technologies, products, and services, to manage their activities in a more sustainable and efficient way, in order to reduce their carbon footprint.


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)                                                                                                                                                                          


The Green Expo-Aquatech, September 6-8, 2022, Mexico City
WEFTEC, October 8-12, 2022. New Orleans, LA

 Waste Expo, May 1-4, 2023, New Orleans, LA

For more information 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