Trends in Solid Waste Management

The world generates 2.01 billion tonnes of municipal solid waste annually, with at least 33 percent of that—extremely conservatively—not managed in an environmentally safe manner. Worldwide, waste generated per person per day averages 0.74 kilogram but ranges widely, from 0.11 to 4.54 kilograms. Though they only account for 16 percent of the world’s population, high-income countries generate about 34 percent, or 683 million tonnes, of the world’s waste.

When looking forward, global waste is expected to grow to 3.40 billion tonnes by 2050, more than double population growth over the same period. Overall, there is a positive correlation between waste generation and income level. Daily per capita waste generation in high-income countries is projected to increase by 19 percent by 2050, compared to low- and middle-income countries where it is expected to increase by approximately 40% or more. Waste generation initially decreases at the lowest income levels and then increases at a faster rate for incremental income changes at low income levels than at high income levels. The total quantity of waste generated in low-income countries is expected to increase by more than three times by 2050. The East Asia and Pacific region is generating most of the world’s waste, at 23 percent, and the Middle East and North Africa region is producing the least in absolute terms, at 6 percent. However, the fastest growing regions are Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East and North Africa, where, by 2050, total waste generation is expected to more than triple, double, and double respectively....Read more


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