The U.S. produces 12% of world’s waste, recycles 35%

July 16, 2019

Americans contribute a disproportionately high amount of the world’s waste and recycle far less than the rest of the world, according to global risk analysis group Verisk Maplecroft. The U.S. is home to only 4% of the world’s population but contributes 12% of global waste.

The Verisk Maplecroft report analyzed waste generation and recycling performance in 194 countries and found that humans generate 2.1 billion tons of solid waste, only 16% of which is recycled.

The Netherlands, Canada, the United States, Austria, Switzerland, Australia and France all have room for improvement in terms of per capita waste production, but the U.S. recycles only 35% of its waste.

“The U.S. is the only developed nation whose waste generation outstrips its ability to recycle, underscoring a shortage of political will and investment in infrastructure,” said Will Nichols, Head of Environment at Verisk Maplecroft.

China’s decision to accept less plastic has exacerbated waste management issues for developed nations, as countries try to deal with their plastic waste. The Philippines recently sent shipments of waste back to Canada after a disagreement about trash imports.

The U.S. produces 12% of world’s waste, recycles 35%