The United States has a reputation of being a consumerist, throw away culture. Millions of dollars worth of turkey are thrown away each year after the Thanksgiving holiday and millions of plastic bottles are thrown away every hour. So you if you were to guess the most wasteful country in North America it’s understandable if you guessed the United States. But you would be wrong.
A newly released study from the Canadian nonprofit Conference Board of Canada says when it comes to municipal waste, Canadian residents throw away more trash, 777 kg per capita, when compared to 15 other developed countries, including the U.S. Not that the U.S. should be celebrating. It came in second to last. And, of course, it produces more waste overall than Canada with its significantly larger population. Still, both are well above the 578 kg per capita average of the countries measured and produce nearly twice as much as Japan.
In Canada, municipal waste has been on the rise. And while some of this can be attributed to urbanization, consumption culture, and per capita income that’s been steadily rising since the 1980s, countries going through similar changes have done so without increasing municipal waste.
“In other OECD counties where urbanization and disposable household income are also high, however, municipal waste generated per capita is substantially lower than in Canada,” the report said. “Japan, for example, generated 377 kg per capita of municipal waste in 2008, while Norway generated 470 kg per capita in 2009.”
And if Canada doesn’t want all that waste, I bet Sweden could use it.
Image: Conference Board of Canada
[h/t Discovery News]