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One Year of Global Waste Visualized



The following content is sponsored by Northstar Clean Technologies

One Year of Global Waste Visualized

Waste generation is expected to jump to 3.4 billion tonnes over the next 30 years, compared to 2.2 billion in 2019.

This is due to a number of factors, such as population growth, urbanization, and economic growth.

In this graphic by Northstar Clean Technologies, we show waste generation worldwide and discuss its impact and how it can be reduced.

The Growing Pile of Global Waste

The United States is the world’s most wasteful country, with each American producing a whopping 809 kg (1780 lbs) of waste every year.

Approximately half of the country’s yearly waste will meet its fate in one of the more than 2,000 active landfills across the nation. The country also has the largest landfill in the world, Apex, located in Clark County, Nevada.

The United States is followed by other industrialized countries like Denmark, New Zealand, Canada, and Switzerland based on average annual per capita municipal waste generation.

CountryAverage Annual per Capita Municipal Waste Generation (kg)
🇺🇸 United States809
🇩🇰 Denmark781
🇳🇿 New Zealand727
🇨🇦 Canada706
🇨🇭 Switzerland 706
🇮🇸 Iceland656
🇮🇱 Israel 644
🇩🇪 Germany633
🇮🇪 Ireland616
🇱🇺 Luxembourg607
🇦🇹 Austria570
🇦🇺 Australia560
🇫🇷 France514
🇳🇱 Netherlands513
🇫🇮 Finland 510
🇬🇷 Greece504
🇮🇹 Italy489

Compared to those in developed nations, residents in developing countries are more severely impacted by unsustainably managed waste. In low-income countries, over 90% of waste is often disposed of in unregulated dumps or openly burned, according to the World Bank.

In this scenario, the need for authorities to provide adequate waste treatment has become ever more important. However, less than 20% of waste is recycled each year, with huge quantities still sent to landfill sites.

Repurposing Waste

One of the major sources of waste is the construction industry. Every year, around 12 million tons of used asphalt shingles are dumped into landfills across North America.

Similar to roads, asphalt shingles have oil as the primary component, which is especially harmful to the environment.

However, using technology, the primary components in shingles can be repurposed into liquid asphalt, aggregates, and fiber for use in road construction, embankments, and new shingles.

Providing the construction industry with clean, sustainable processing solutions is also a big business opportunity. Canada alone is a $1.3 billion market for recovering and reprocessing shingles.

Even though 100% zero waste may sound difficult to achieve in the near future, a zero waste approach is essential to reduce our impact on the environment.

Northstar Clean Technologies’ mission is to be the leader in the recovery and reprocessing of asphalt shingles in North America.

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