Recycling Around the World

Which Country Produced the Most Rubbish in 2021?

Most Rubbish in 2021

The world has a rubbish problem. In the developed world, we have access to more goods than ever before. However, more goods inevitably mean more waste. It’s where that waste ends up that’s the problem. But which countries topped the rubbish production list in 2021?

The Impact of High Rubbish Production on Poorer Countries

In wealthier countries, an ever-growing population is buying more and more goods. But what happens to the extra waste we’re producing? The shocking reality is that we export much of it, particularly plastic, to poorer countries. These nations are the least able to deal with huge amounts of waste. Many people in the world’s poorest nations don’t have access to a waste collection system. Waste is either burned or dumped, leading to pollution and serious health problems.

There are people in poorer nations that earn an income from picking waste from rubbish dumps. They look for reusable items in dirty and dangerous conditions that they can sell. But this is far from a happy consequence of our rubbish production.

Take the district of Agbogbloshie in Ghana, for example. The district is home to the world’s largest ‘digital dump.’ 

Electronic waste like old computers, fridges, and other electrical appliances is sent here from across the globe. These electronic items can contain toxic chemicals and heavy metals.  Many people who pick rubbish on the dump suffer from health problems like burns and chronic headaches. Some workers have even died of cancer at an early age.

What Are We Throwing Away?

When it comes to rubbish production, plastic is the obvious glaring problem. Single-use plastic, in particular, ends up as litter or on landfill sites. It also often ends up in rivers and oceans where it causes pollution and harms wildlife.

According to statistics, e-waste is the fastest-growing global waste stream. Food is the most common form of waste and it accounts for half of the solid waste we throw away.

Which Country Tops the Rubbish Production List?

As you’d expect of a country with a population of 1.4 billion, China produces the most municipal solid waste (over 15%). However, considering in terms of population, the US generates the most waste per person. The United States makes up around 5% of the world’s population but produces 12% of the solid waste. It also takes the title of the biggest producer of food waste in the world. 

What might surprise you is that Denmark produces the most waste per person in Europe. That’s right, the Scandinavian nation with a clean, green reputation produces as much waste per head as the US.

When it comes to industrial, agricultural, and hazardous waste, Canada tops the charts. This is mainly due to the prevalence of heavy industries like oil refining and metal manufacturing. 

Some Reasons to be Hopeful

Thankfully, many countries are realising that relentless rubbish production can’t go on unchecked.

China

  • The country banned plastic bags in major cities in 2020. The ban will come into effect in smaller cities and towns by the end of this year.
  • Single-use plastic items are being eliminated from restaurants and takeaways, and plastic straws are already banned.
  • There has been significant investment in recycling and creating a circular economy.

Germany

  • The country’s Environment Ministry introduced a five-point action plan to tackle plastic waste in 2018. 

Japan

  • Japan is a nation obsessed with hygiene. This means that goods like food are wrapped in a lot of plastic. Now the government has announced that it wants to reduce plastic use by 25% by 2030.

So it’s not all bad news, but there’s still much more to do. We all have a part to play in driving down rubbish production to reduce the burden on the planet. What will you do today to reduce waste? For more interesting articles on all things rubbish and sustainability, check out the rest of our blog.

Why It’s Important to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle 

Reduce Reuse Recycle

Reduce, reuse, recycle. It’s more than a mantra, it’s what we need to do to slow down the frightening pace of climate change.

The recent IPCC report on climate change was a ‘code red for humanity.’ It stated that human activity is changing the climate in unprecedented and sometimes irreversible ways. It warned of the impact of doing nothing, from extreme heat waves to droughts and flooding. But it also offered some hope. If we cut greenhouse gas emissions, it could stabilise global temperatures. But we have to act now.

Read more

Festival Litter: Summer Rubbish Roundup

Festival Litter

When the festival last took place in 2019, there was litter lying on the site for over a week. The organisers said they would introduce incentives to tackle the problem of festival litter. This year, all camping tickets included a £5 refundable ‘litter bond’. 

Festival-goers could get it back if they filled up a bin bag with litter before they left. As a result, people collected two industrial-sized skips worth of rubbish.

A local charity, Mandalay Wellbeing, also got involved, collecting discarded tents for vulnerable people.

Read more

What Does The Code Red For Humanity Mean To Me?

Code Red For Humantiy

Described by the UN Secretary-General as a “code red for humanity,”. The latest climate report released by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) provides a sombre assessment of our planet’s future. 

Released just in time for the COP26. The UN climate change conference is set to take place in Glasgow later this year. The much-anticipated report provides a comprehensive and detailed picture of how human activity is causing climate change. Its findings make for sobering reading.

But what does it mean to us? How can we help avoid a future of extreme heatwaves, severe flooding, and devastating droughts? In this article, we’ll highlight some of the key points raised in the IPCC climate change report and explain what code red for humanity means for you.

Read more

Make Money From Your Recycling

Recycle

We all know that it is important to recycle for the well-being of our planet. But did you know that you could make money out of it? Your empty cosmetics bottles, designer shoe boxes, and old mobile phones could be worth a fortune, and you could even cash in on empty cans and toilet roll tubes.

When it comes to recycling, one man’s trash really is another man’s treasure, so before you fill up your recycling bins this weekend, check out our guide below.

Read more

What Can Be recycled? 10 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Recycle 

What Can Be Recycled
The current UK recycling rate is hovering around 45%. While this is not bad, we could do better. However, even the avid recyclers among you will admit that you sometimes struggle to work out what can be recycled. It turns out that you can recycle more than you think, and some of the items might surprise you. Here are 10 things you didn’t know you could recycle.

Read more

Greenest Cities: Adelaide, Australia 

Greenest Cities
When it comes to sustainable living, some cities just lead the way. Adelaide in Australia is no exception. One of Australia’s greenest cities, it's home to 50% of South Australia’s native plant species as well as 75% of the native birds.   Because of its natural resources, Adelaide is in an area designated as a Natural Resource Management Region. Here’s how it’s become one of the world’s greenest cities.

Read more

ASDA's Clothes Recycling Scheme 

ASDA's Clothes Recycling Scheme 

George at ASDA has launched a clothes recycling scheme that will give customers rewards for bringing back their unwanted clothes. In partnership with Yellow Octopus Group which helps businesses become more sustainable. ASDA Northern Ireland has a scheme where customers receive a 10% off voucher which they can use online at George. Customers just have to locate a participating store then they can get a label or QR code so they can drop off their old and unwanted items. 

Read more

Laughing Gas Canisters: What You Can Do When You Find Them and how to recycle them?

Laughing Gas Canisters

Discarded laughing gas canisters are becoming an increasingly familiar sight on our pavements and in our parks. These small steel bottles contain nitrous oxide or ‘laughing gas’ which has become a recreational drug of choice for party and festival-goers.

Nitrous oxide is a light anaesthetic in dentistry or to charge whipped cream aerosols. As a drug, the gas it provides is transferred from the canister into a balloon and inhaled. The high that users get is brief, so you’ll often find a large number of discarded canisters in the same place.

Read more