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Highest amount of U.S. waste in landfills per capita by state 2019

This statistic displays the highest amount of landfill waste per capita in the United States in 2019, broken down by select state. Pennsylvania was among the highest in the ranking with more than 52 tons of landfill waste per person.

U.S. landfills – additional information

A landfill is a site used for the disposal of waste materials. It is considered one of the oldest forms of waste treatment and is used in many places around the world. Landfills in the United States are regulated by each state’s environmental agency, which in turn, follows the guidelines set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The United States has around 1,270 landfills, with about 330 landfills situated in the West. According to EPA data, Michigan had the highest amount of trash in its landfills, amounting to more than 62 tons per person in 2019. Overall, the United States generated 268 million tons of municipal solid waste in 2017 – a significant increase from 88.1 million tons in 1960. However, the number of landfills in the U.S. has significantly decreased since 1990 from over 6,300 to under 1,270 landfills.

Although recycling rates have improved significantly over the last decades, the United States is far behind leading European countries. Austria and Germany had the highest recycling rates worldwide with 63 and 62 percent, respectively. Some countries like Austria, the Netherlands and Germany have virtually eliminated landfill disposal as these countries have implemented successful recycling programs and policies. In addition to waste reduction and recycling programs, there are several alternatives to landfills, including waste-to-energy incineration , anaerobic digestion, composting or mechanical biological waste treatments.

Most trash in landfills per capita in the United States in 2019, by select state

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Release date

January 2020


United States

Survey time period


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

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