- United States
- Estimated annual waste per capita:25.9 metric tons
- Estimated annual waste total:8,425,840,000 metric tons
- Waste treatment recycling:34.6%
The United States, with the third-largest population of all countries, produced the most municipal solid waste in the world – 258 million tonnes of MSW was generated in 2017. By contrast, second-place China generated 210 million tonnes of MSW in 2017. Adding to this total the World Bank's special waste categories of industrial, medical, E waste, hazardous, and agricultural waste, the U.S. generates approximately 8.4 billion tonnes of waste in a year.
While the U.S. is the third biggest producer of waste on a per capita basis, some areas within the country are making strides addressing the problem. For example, San Francisco passed an ordinance in 2009 requiring all residents and tourists to compost food waste. The city turned more than a million tonnes of food waste into compost, and as of 2012 had achieved nearly 80% waste diversion – the highest rate of any major U.S. city in the United States. Local government are raising awareness about recycling. Some state now will even pay residents to recycle.
- Estimated annual waste per capita:26.7 metric tons
- Estimated annual waste total:189,141,945 metric tons
- Waste treatment recycling:19.0%
Bulgaria, a country of about 7 million people, generates slightly more garbage per person as the United States, a country of more than 325 million people. This is largely due to the more than 172 million metric tons of waste produced by the construction industry, the fifth highest amount of the 68 countries for which construction and demolition waste data is available.
After an economic slowdown that resulted from the global recession, the construction business is picking up again. Real estate construction has seen the greatest increase in activity – 16.4% between 2010 and 2016. While Bulgaria seems on track to produce even more waste, it is among the countries doing the most to minimize its effect on the environment.
- Estimated annual waste per capita:36.1 metric tons
- Estimated annual waste total:1,325,480,289 metric tons
- Waste treatment recycling:20.6%
Driven by agricultural waste and industrial waste generation, which totaled 181 million tonnes and 1.12 billion tonnes, respectively, in 2017, Canada's estimated total waste generation is the highest in the world. Canada produced 1.33 billion metric tonnes of waste, or 36.1 tonnes per person.