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Global municipal solid waste generation by key country 2017

The United States is the largest producer of municipal solid waste (MSW) in the world, generating approximately 260 million metric tons of garbage in 2017. The average U.S. citizen produces 2.6 kilograms of MSW daily, the highest per capita waste generation in the world.

Types of municipal solid waste

Municipal solid waste (MSW) consists of various everyday items, such as uneaten food, household appliances, clothing, and plastic packaging. The fastest growing waste stream is electronic waste, especially in developing nations. The volume of e-waste generated worldwide reached 54 million metric tons in 2019.

What happens to municipal solid waste?

Once collected by the appointed company, waste is then transported to sites to be either landfilled, recycled, composted, or recovered. Although recycling rates have been improving, landfilling is still the most common form of waste disposal and treatment worldwide. As waste generation continues to grow around the globe, many landfill sites have grown to astronomical sizes. The largest site as of 2019 was the Apex Regional landfill in Las Vegas. At 2,200 acres, this colossal landfill holds approximately 50 million tons of waste and receives about 9,000 tons of MSW every day.

Generation of municipal solid waste worldwide in 2017, by select country (in million metric tons)*

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Source

Release date

September 2018

Region

Worldwide

Survey time period

2017

Supplementary notes

* Year of data reported varies for each country. Data was reported in 2001: India; 2009: Nigeria; 2011: South Africa; 2012: Russia; 2014: Argentina, Canada, Korea, United States; 2015: Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Kingdom; 2016: Indonesia; and 2017: Pakistan.
Figures were rounded.

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Statistics on "Global waste generation"

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