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Global waste generation outlook by region 2016-2050

Global waste generation is expected to continue increasing around the world over the coming decades. In 2016, the total waste generation in East Asia and the Pacific amounted to 468 million metric tons. Projections show that by 2050, waste generation in this region will increase to 714 million metric tons.

Per capita waste generation

In 2018, Americans produced the most municipal solid waste per capita in the world, with 2.58 kilograms per person. Municipal solid waste (MSW) consists of everyday items that are thrown away, such as food, packaging, and paper. However, MSW doesn’t include special waste. The special waste category comprises of industrial, medical, electronic waste, hazardous, and agricultural waste. Estimates show that when these waste streams are taken into account, Canada has the largest annual waste per capita worldwide.

Waste management

Whilst developed nations such as the United States are large producers of garbage, they have the waste treatment infrastructure in place to sufficiently manage it. Waste in North America is mostly landfilled and recycled. However, waste is poorly managed in less developed regions. In South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, huge quantities of waste are disposed of in open dumps. Unlike MSW landfills, open dumping is illegal because it can cause devastating environmental pollution.

Projection of waste generation worldwide in 2016, 2030, and 2050, by region

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Release date

September 2018



Survey time period

2016 to 2050

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Statistics on "Global waste generation"

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