Recycling rates worldwide in 2015, by select country

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Recycling rate
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About This Statistic

This statistic displays the recycling rates of select countries in 2015. During this time, Austria's recycling rate reached some 63 percent. The share of waste diverted from the landfill remains high in many countries in Europe, as these countries have developed successful recycling programs.

Recycling rates worldwide – additional information

Many countries have developed successful recycling programs, with Austria and Germany boasting the highest recycling rates in 2015 worldwide at 63 and 62 percent, respectively. Taiwan recycled the third largest proportion of municipal waste, putting the country on par with international leaders, with Singapore and Belgium coming in fourth and fifth. While some places offer elaborate setups for recycling and their residents take pains to sort their waste, some people fail to approach waste management the same concern. Two of the more developed countries, Canada and Japan, for example, fell to the bottom of the table, reaching only 27 and 21 percent of recycling rates.

Despite rapidly increased recycling rates in some countries, many countries are still lagging behind and wasting volumes of recyclable resources by sending them to landfills. By 2025, worldwide waste generation per capita is projected to amount to 1.42 kilograms per day, with the OECD area topping the list, generating more than 2 kilograms of waste per day. That same year, it is estimated that the higher one’s income is, the more municipal solid waste he or she is going to produce in urban areas. Albeit the lack of formal recycling systems in developing countries, people make a living from salvaging recyclable materials has helped reduce waste generation. Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, for instance, are forecast to generate a below-average amount of waste per day in 2025.

The worldwide recycling market is expected to be on the rise over the next decade, from 21 billion euros in market value in 2015 to 35 billion euros in 2020. Major waste management companies continue to benefit from the growing market. Veolia Environnement ranked first in terms of revenue in 2015, generating almost 30 billion U.S. dollar revenue, with Suez Environnement and Waste Management from the United States ranked second and third. These companies often operate waste-to-energy facilities, provide single-stream recycling and produce landfill-gas-to-energy in order to increase recycling rates.

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