Solid Waste

Who is Generating Waste?

The world’s largest waste generators are not surprisingly countries that are more developed and urbanized countries like the United States.  In fact, the U.S. is the world’s leader in waste production at over 600,000 metric tons produced everyday (Simmons, n.d.).  That puts the U.S. about 100,000 metric tons ahead of second place China, a country with a population approximately four times the size of the U.S. population.

Based on 2011 data from the World Bank

Despite these five countries generating the most waste, waste management is also a large issue in smaller, developing countries.  While the volume of waste generated here may be much less than the five nations shown in the chart above these nations generally lack the resources necessary to manage their waste properly.

Potential Issues Caused by Poor Waste Management

Poor waste management can lead to a number issues related to the health and safety of people and the environment.  Not collecting waste can cause increases in the frequency of illnesses like diarrhea and respiratory infections (Simmons, n.d.).  In addition, uncollected waste can block drains and cause flooding and pollutants from uncollected waste can get into rivers and seep into groundwater (Simmons, n.d.).


More Information

Simmons, A. M. (n.d.). The world’s trash crisis, and why many Americans are oblivious. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from