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Annual municipal waste generated per capita by OECD countries

The United States, Denmark and New Zealand are some of the largest per capita generators of municipal solid waste worldwide. On average, citizens in these countries produce more than 700 kilograms of waste per year, with Americans generating the most, at roughly 800 kilograms . Richer countries tend to produce about 34 percent of the world’s waste, yet only make up about 16 percent of the population. Waste generation is expected to increase worldwide. Although low-income regions currently tend to generate a lower amount of waste than higher-income regions, the growth in waste generation is projected to increase much faster in low-income regions. In many low-income regions, the majority of the waste that is produced tends to be mismanaged. Open dumpsites can be dangerous when landslides occur, or waterways are polluted. Without improvement in the management of waste and available waste infrastructure, the amount of waste that is predicted to pollute the terrestrial and marine environments is expected to rise.

Waste collection

In low-income regions, waste collection is more common in rural areas than in urban areas. Nevertheless, collection services are less prevalent in these regions than in developed countries. Generally, waste management is dictated by local governments or decentralization policies rather than federal government. Globally, about half of the services are provided through public enterprises, whereas the private sector usually takes care of management or provides temporary contracts for collection, treatment, and disposal.

Average annual per capita municipal waste generated by OECD countries*

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Supplementary notes

*Figures are from various years

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Statistics on "Global waste generation"

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