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World Waste Index: Germany in 3rd place

Germany is the third most efficient waste management country in the world, after South Korea and Denmark.

The study by Slovakian IT and hardware manufacturer Sensoneo analyzes data from 38 member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and ranks the waste management efficiency of countries worldwide. It first appeared in 2019. The latest World Waste Index shows that there are still major national differences in the amount of waste generated and in disposal and recycling routes. According to the analysis, Germany is the third most efficient waste economy in the world, after South Korea and Denmark. However, at 632 kilograms per capita, Germans produce a comparatively large amount of waste; the global average is 527 kilograms a year, according to the World Waste Index. Most waste is generated in the United States. According to the index, each U.S. citizen currently produces 811 kilograms of waste, about half of which ends up in a landfill and 95 kilograms of which is incinerated. U.S. residents produce two kilograms more trash today than they will in 2019, while in Germany, the amount of trash per capita has decreased by one kilogram over the same period, according to the analysis, despite the fact that the Covid 19 pandemic has made the use of numerous disposable items, such as medical masks and Covid rapid tests, essential. 302 kilograms reportedly went to recycling in Germany, while 204 kilograms were incinerated. This makes Germany's recycling rate the highest in the world, but not without controversy among experts because of its input-related measuring point. In the ranking, Germany benefits above all from the visible deterioration in waste disposal in other countries, such as Iceland, the Czech Republic and Israel. According to the current study, Turkey is the world's biggest "waste sinner nation" - as it was in 2019. Despite improvements in recycling (47 kilograms per capita) - as recently as 2019, no waste was recycled at all in Turkey, according to the index - the country's progress would not outweigh the amount of waste disposed of illegally (176 kilograms per capita). Other findings of the study include waste treatment: Waste incineration is preferable to landfilling from an environmental standpoint, according to the authors. Only 17 of 38 countries would thermally recycle more waste than they landfill on a proportional basis, namely Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Only in Switzerland, however, where per capita waste generation is relatively high at 706 kilograms, is no waste landfilled at all. Of the 706 kilograms per inhabitant, 333 kilograms went to thermal processes and 210 kilograms to recycling in the case of the Swiss.


  • (Mar. 18, 2021)
  • Euwid Recycling und Entsorgung 12/2022 (Mar. 23, 2022)
  • Photo: © Reclay Group

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