Waste Management Statistics: Uncovering the State of Waste Around the World

keyKey Takeaways:
  • Waste management is a worldwide problem that has an impact on all nations.
  • Each day, the typical human produces 4.4 pounds of waste.
  • Recycling can help cut greenhouse gas emissions and save a lot of energy.
  • SIn the years ahead, the waste management industry is expected to expand significantly.

According to a report, about 2.01 billion tons of municipal solid waste is generated globally each year. The amount is projected to increase to 3.40 billion tons by 2050. Waste management is a crucial aspect of the modern world. With the amplifying population and industrialization, waste generation is sure to rise.

In this blog, we have examined the latest waste management statistics from across the world. From the types of waste generated to the steps you can take as a waste collection business, we have shed light on the opportunities to tackle problems. This will help you make informed decisions on the areas of improvement. 

Why is Waste Management Rising in Demand?

Waste management is the process of handling, controlling, and disposing of waste materials in a responsible and efficient manner. Effective waste management not only prevents pollution but also conserves natural resources and reduces greenhouse gases. Waste management is growing in demand for many reasons.

Why is Waste Management Rising in Demand
  • Increasing waste generation: The rise in the amount of waste generated is leading to a need for more robust waste management solutions.
  • Environmental issues: Plastic pollution and overflowing landfills are causing significant damage to the environment and wildlife.
  • Depleting natural resources: The depletion of natural resources is demanding more for recycling and conservation practices.
  • Climate change: The disastrous greenhouse effects are caused due to gas emissions generated from petroleum products.
  • Economic benefits: Waste management creates job opportunities, resource conservation, and cost savings.

10 Eye-opening Waste Management Statistics That Will Make You Think Twice

There are a lot of statistics and emerging trends in the waste management industry. Here are the most significant ones: 

#1 Waste generation by region

North America generates the most volume of waste per capita, with Europe and Asia being the next. In North America, the average person generates 4.40 pounds of waste per day.

#2 Paper waste

  • Paper and paperboard products account for the largest amount, 23.1% of all the materials in municipal solid waste (MSW). 
  • Paperless offices are trending, yet the average office employees produce around 2 pounds of paper and paperboard waste everyday.

#3 Food waste 

  • Food waste is among the top category of materials, estimated at 63.1 million tons in 2018. 
  • Around 8% of global greenhouse emissions are caused due to food waste.
  • Food waste accounts for a loss of more than $161 billion every year.

#4 E-Waste 

  • E-waste, short for electronic waste, is the fastest-growing substance in the world’s waste. 
  • There was a rise in global e-waste volumes to 53.6 million tons in 2019.
  • In 2019, the percentage of e-waste recycled was only 17.4%.

#5 Plastic waste 

#6 Textile waste

  • Around 11.3 million tons of textile waste is generated in the US each year.
  • Americans discard around 13 million tons of textiles each year, which is around 85% of their clothes.
  • It can take around 40 years for some clothing materials to decompose in landfill.

#7 Construction waste 

  • Construction and demolition activities generate roughly 1.3 billion tonnes of waste yearly.
  • Construction waste is estimated to be approximately 25 to 30% of the total waste discarded in landfills.

#8 Hazardous waste 

#9 Waste disposal methods 

  • Landfilling, the most commonly used method of waste disposal, accounts for over 60% of the total waste produced. 
  • Incineration and recycling account for less than 20% of the total waste generated.
  • The US is likely to run out of space in landfills by 2036. 
  • There are around 3,091 active landfills and above 10,000 closed municipal landfills in the US. 

#10 Recycling rates 

  • The recycling rate for municipal solid waste (MSW) around the globe is around 32%.
  • The global plastic recycling rate was calculated to be around 9% in 2019.
  • Recycling one ton of paper material saves approximately 3 cubic yards of landfill space.
  • The recycling rate for construction and demolition waste is estimated to be around 50% globally.
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How to Tackle Challenges in Waste Management 

Waste management companies must step forward in addressing the challenges. Here are some ways in which they can help:

  • Conduct recycling programs: Waste management companies can carry out and manage recycling programs to increase recycling rates.
  • Develop innovative technologies: Investing in innovative waste management technologies, such as waste-to-energy facilities, composting facilities, and bioreactor landfills can help minimize the overall impact.
  • Increase outreach and awareness: Waste management companies can provide education and outreach programs to promote waste reduction and recycling efforts.
  • Work with governments and communities: Working with governments and communities can help develop effective waste management policies and programs.
  • Encourage sustainable practices: Promoting sustainable practices, such as recycling, composting, and waste reduction, will help reduce waste’s impact.


Effective solid waste management best practices include composting and recycling, which can support in reducing the environmental impact of solid waste and enhance future waste management.

The availability of landfill space and more strict rules are the key challenges for solid waste management. When incorporated properly, the regulations can help sustain the environment.

The US spends around $200 billion in a year over solid waste management. This is a rising concern due to the growing waste generation over the years.


Solid and municipal waste management is a growing problem around the globe with billions of tons of waste produced. Most of this waste results in increasing landfills, which directly causes environmental degradation, climate change, and the exhaustion of landfill space. If you are associated with the waste management industry, you are doing a commendable job contributing to the environment. 

However, you need advanced route planning software to manage time-sensitive waste management projects. With automated route planning and optimization software like Upper, you can schedule multi-stop routes for your waste collection process. It can be a handy software to schedule routes for your multiple projects.

Author Bio
Rakesh Patel
Rakesh Patel

Rakesh Patel, author of two defining books on reverse geotagging, is a trusted authority in routing and logistics. His innovative solutions at Upper Route Planner have simplified logistics for businesses across the board. A thought leader in the field, Rakesh's insights are shaping the future of modern-day logistics, making him your go-to expert for all things route optimization. Read more.