Amount of disposed waste in China 1990-2018

In the last decades, the amount of garbage being disposed in China has soared, reaching approximately 228.02 million tons as of 2018.


   Being the most populated country in the world with a constantly growing population and economy, China was faced with multiple problems. For example, the increasing vehicle traffic on roads and the deteriorating air quality, subsequently the trash volume as well. The issue is particularly severe in prosperous the urban areas, and not to mention the trash imported to China from the rest of the world, which was put to a halt in 2018. Historically, the Chinese garbage handling ideology was landfill, however, due to shortage of land around cities and secondary pollution caused by illegal dumping, especially in rural areas, the ratio of incineration has been increasing in recent years, despite the fact that incineration poses serious health problem to citizens by emitting various toxic by-products.

Rise of environmental awareness in China

   Many of the developed countries in the west have already adopted a more comprehensive way of dealing with waste, emphasizing on reducing the amount of waste produced at the beginning, with attention also put on recycling useful waste. Under the “Made in China 2025” strategic plan, China is trying to follow suit. Fortunately, with the economic growth, the environmental awareness in China is also in the rise, with concern rising about disposable or non-recyclable products. Many also consider everyone is responsible to reduce plastic and packaging, including manufacturers, governments, vendors, as well as the consumers themselves. Individuals have also begun to enforce consumer power by buying products made from recycled material and boycotting products which are not and the vendors who sell a lot of such products, whereas other individual actions involved for protecting the environment were reusing of disposable items and paying extra.

Amount of disposed garbage in China from 1990 to 2018

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Release date

October 2019



Survey time period

1990 to 2018

Supplementary notes

Figures have been rounded

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Statistics on "Solid waste in China"

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