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What a Waste: A Global Review of Solid Waste Management

As the world hurtles toward its urban future, the amount of municipal solid waste (MSW), one of the most important by-products of an urban lifestyle, is growing even faster than the rate of urbanization. Ten years ago there were 2.9 billion urban residents who generated about 0.64 kg of MSW per person per day (0.68 billion tonnes per year).

This report estimates that today these amounts have increased to about 3 billion residents generating 1.2 kg per person per day (1.3 billion tonnes per year). By 2025 this will likely increase to 4.3 billion urban residents generating about 1.42 kg/capita/day of municipal solid waste (2.2 billion tonnes per year).

This report provides consolidated data on MSW generation, collection, composition, and disposal by country and by region. Despite its importance, reliable global MSW information is not typically available. Data is often inconsistent, incomparable and incomplete; however as suggested in this report there is now enough MSW information to estimate global amounts and trends. The report also makes projections on MSW generation and composition for 2025 in order for decision makers to prepare plans and budgets for solid waste management in the coming years. Detailed annexes provide available MSW generation, collection, composition, and disposal data by city and by country.

What A Waste Cover Pre-Pub
See related report on e-waste: Wasting no opportunity: the case for managing Brazil's electronic waste 

Full Publication 

Table of Contents 
(the links below are to PDF files)

Front Matter

Chapter 1. Introduction

Chapter 2. Global Waste Management Practices

Chapter 3. Waste Generation

Chapter 4. Waste Collection

Chapter 5. Waste Composition

Chapter 6. Waste Disposal

Chapter 7. Waste and the Environment

A Note on the Reliability of Solid Waste Data




A. Map of Regions

B. Map of Income Distribution

C. Availability of MSW Data by Country

D. Countries Excluded for Lack of Data

E. Estimated Solid Waste Management Costs

F. MSW Generation Data for Cities Over 100,000

G. MSW Collection Data for Cities Over 100,000

H. MSW Disposal Methods for Cities Over 100,000

I. MSW Composition Data for Cities Over 100,000

J. MSW Generation by Country - Current Data and Projections for 2025

K. MSW Collection Rates by Country

L. MSW Disposal Methods by Country

M. MSW Composition by Country

N. IPCC Classification of MSW Composition

O. The Global City Indicators Program

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