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Global population and MSW generation shares by key country 2018

China produced 15.5 percent of global municipal solid waste (MSW) generation in 2018. However, when taking population into account the United States creates the most waste. The U.S. represents just four percent of the global population but was responsible for 11.65 percent of global waste generation. This was the same share that was generated by India, a country with a population of more than one billion people.

Food waste

The most common type of waste is food and green waste, making up almost half of globally generated MSW. Every year Americans produce approximately 90 billion kilograms of food waste, equating to almost 300 kilograms of food waste per capita. Still, this is less than the amount of food waste produced by the average Australian, which stands at more than 350 kilograms per year.

Environmental impacts

The immense volume of waste produced around the world every year has become an increasing cause of environmental pollution. There are many forms of waste pollution, such as methane emissions from food waste that has been landfilled, and toxic chemical leaks from e-waste. But it is plastic waste that has been in the public eye in recent years due to its devastating impact on marine life.

Global population and municipal solid waste generation shares in 2018, by select country

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Release date

July 2019



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Statistics on "Global waste generation"

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