Special Report

Countries That Produce the Most Waste

From the littered beaches of India to the vast waste dumps of the United States to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the world is drowning in trash. And the rate at which waste is being generated is only increasing, according to the World Bank. Because of population growth and the expansion of urban areas, the amount of municipal solid waste that people generate is only expected to rise.

To identify the countries that produce the most municipal solid waste (MSW), 24/7 Tempo reviewed MSW generated minus MSW recycled or composted, per person per day in 217 countries analyzed in the World Bank’s “What a Waste”  global database, last updated in September 2018. MSW is waste generated from companies, buildings, institutions, small businesses, houses, and yards. It does not include industrial, medical, hazardous, electronic, construction, and demolition waste. It is also important to note that not all countries report both annual MSW composted and annual MSW recycled. We only considered for our ranking the 137 countries for which one or both of these statistics were available. GDP per capita figures included for each country came from the World Bank.

Click here to see the 31 countries that produce the most waste

Solid waste is a reality of urban development, and disposing of it is one of the most important  responsibilities of municipalities. By 2025, an estimated 4.3 billion urban dwellers will likely generate about 3.13 pounds of municipal solid waste per person per day, or 2.2 billion tons a year, according to a World Bank report, “What a Waste : A Global Review of Solid Waste Management.” The projected increase in solid waste will challenge urban residents to conserve resources. Here are 30 ways to make your life more environmentally friendly.

Many countries have recognized the importance of properly and safely disposing of trash and have passed laws regulating how cities and corporations should dispose of the waste. Some developing countries are struggling because governments often lack the funding to address the challenges of waste management. Many countries are advocating recycling. In the United States, for example, some states will even pay you to recycle.

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