Global Waste Generation - Statistics & Facts

Urbanization, population growth, and economic development bring about waste generation. The increasing prosperity of countries and the movement towards urban areas increases the per capita generation of waste. This rapid population growth along with urbanization makes providing adequate waste collection services and treatment more difficult. Generally, local governments oversee solid waste management. About 70 percent of countries have developed policies to regulate their waste sector. Universal waste collection is typically seen in high- and upper-middle-income countries, whereas waste collection is much more limited in lower income countries, especially outside of urban centers. These regions mostly rely on open dumping, which is susceptible to major soil and water contamination and harboring diseases. Unmanaged or poorly managed waste contaminates the environment, harms both animals and humans, and can even affect the economic development of a region. Nevertheless, sustainable waste management requires a high cost and significant long-term effort.

The generation of waste varies largely across regions and can reflect the diversity in consumption. High income regions generate about 34 percent of municipal solid waste in the world, despite accounting for about 15 percent of the global population. These regions also tend to generate less organic waste in comparison to recyclable waste, such as cardboard, plastic, and glass. North America produces the highest amount of waste per capita and Sub-Saharan Africa, the least. The lower the income level of a region, the share of organic waste generated tends to increase. Improving the waste management in low- and middle-income regions is essential as waste generation in these regions are expected to occur rapidly.

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 27 most important statistics relating to "Waste generation worldwide".

Global waste generation

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Important key figures

The most important key figures provide you with a compact summary of the topic of "Waste generation worldwide" and take you straight to the corresponding statistics.

Waste management market

Waste management


Food waste

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