Sustainability

The U.S. Reportedly Produces the Most Trash on Earth

The U.S. reportedly produces the most trash in the world. A study by global risk group Verisk Maplecroft found that the U.S. produces three times the global average of trash every year despite only having 4% of the world’s population—that’s about 239 tons of trash or approximately 234 pounds of waste per person every year. What’s more, only 35% of that waste is recycled. “Given the US is the world’s largest economy it may not be surprising that it is one of the largest producers of household waste, but what is significant is its lack of commitment to offsetting its waste footprint,” the report stated. And the U.S. isn’t the only nation falling behind. The report found that enough trash it produced globally every year to fill approximately 822,000 Olympic-size swimming pools—only 16% of which is recycled. According to the report, developed European and North American nations produce the most unrecycled waste. The major exception is Germany, which reportedly recycles 68% of its waste. In May 2019, Malaysia sent 3,300 tons of non-recyclable waste back to the U.S. and UK. The country became a global destination for plastic waste after China banned plastic waste imports back in 2018.