Global Waste Growing Fast

According to a 2012 report from the World Bank, garbage will be one of the many challenges that  developing countries face as they continue to urbanize in the coming decades. What A Waste: A Global Review of Solid Waste Management is both a detailed assessment of the world’s current solid waste practices and a look at what the future might hold.

Worldwide, cities now generate 1.3 billion tons of garbage annually. By 2025, that number is projected to be 2.2 billion tons. The cost of managing that much garbage is expected to increase from $205.4 billion to $375.5 billion over the same period. These global increases of 69% in volume and 83% in costs will be more pronounced in developing countries. Lower and lower-middle income countries will experience a 400-500% increase in costs by 2025.

In many low and middle income countries, solid waste management is solely the responsibility of municipal government and, hence, their largest budget item. Mishandling this task impacts the health of a community’s residents, environment, and economy. Effective waste management is a prerequisite to the successful delivery of higher-level services like transportation, education, and healthcare.

A complete copy of the report is available here.


“Solid waste is inextricably linked to urbanization and economic development. As countries urbanize, their economic wealth increases. As standards of living and disposable incomes increase, consumption of goods and services increases, which results in a corresponding increase in the amount of waste generated.”

What a Waste, 2012

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