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Global regional waste disposal by method 2016

Treatment and disposal of municipal solid wastes (MSW) can vary widely across the world. South Asia disposes the majority of its MSW in open dumps, whereas about 33 percent of MSW in North America is recycled. Solid waste management is essential for sustainable and healthy cities and communities but is often neglected in low income regions. The lack of developed systems will increasingly become an issue due to rapid urbanization, growing populations, and increased waste generation. Unmanaged waste can cause both human and environmental harm – contributing to climate change and leading to toxic runoffs that contaminate surface water and groundwater.

Global waste outlook

Waste generation is projected to increase worldwide over the next decades, with East Asia and the Pacific region producing the most waste. Currently, high and upper-middle income countries produce over 60 percent of the world’s waste. However, as people living in lower income countries become more affluent, they tend to consume and thus, throw away more. Waste generation in these regions are expected to quickly surpass current levels of generation.

Distribution of regional municipal solid waste treatment and disposal worldwide in 2016, by method

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Release date

September 2018



Survey time period


Supplementary notes

Figures may not add up to 100 percent due to rounding.

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Statistics on "Waste management in the U.S."

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