Here’s a scary stat: According to a report from the World Bank, urban residents generate 1.3 billion tonnes of trash globally per year. That’s 1.2 kg per person, per day. What’s worse, these numbers are expected to jump to 2.2 billion tonnes per year in 2025, or 1.4 kg per person per day.

And the biggest offenders? High-income countries just like Canada. In fact, OECD countries (The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) produce almost half of the world’s waste. It makes sense if you think about it. The higher the disposable income, the more stuff people buy—and throw away. And as living standards rise and urban populations grow, the problem is only going to get worse.

Here’s a rundown of the 10 OECD countries with the worst trash habits. Numbers are current waste production per capita (kg/capita/day) vs 2025 projected waste production per capita (kg/capita/day).

#1. New Zealand

Current: 3.68
Future: 3.00
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photo credit: Living on the Edge via photopin (license)

#2. Ireland

Current: 3.58
Future: 3.00

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photo credit: 420m via photopin (license)

 

#3. Norway

Current: 2.8
Future: 2.3

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photo credit: Tore Thiss Fjeld via Flickr

#4. Switzerland

Current: 2.61
Future: 2.3

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photo credit: Pier-Luc Bergeron via Flickr

#5. United States

Current: 2.58
Future: 2.3

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photo credit: Les Halnes via Flickr

#6. Austria

Current: 2.40
Future: 2.15

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photo credit: Diego Cambiaso via Flickr

#7. Denmark

Current: 2.34
Future: 2.15

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photo credit: Nelson L via Flickr

#8 Canada

Current: 2.33
Future: 2.2

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photo credit: Steve Olmstead via Flickr

#9. Italy

Current: 2.23
Future: 2.05

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photo credit: Irene Grassi via Flickr

#10. Australia

Current: 2.23
Future: 2.1

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photo credit: Wyncliffe via Flickr

How can you help?

Well for one, avoid making garbage in the first place. Make small changes in your daily habits such as:

  • choosing products with less packaging
  • avoiding disposable plates, cups, cutlery, etc.
  • choosing tap water over bottled water
  • carrying your own reusable shopping bags
  • recycling as much as possible
  • composting your organic waste (not sure how it works?)

And when you do find yourself burdened by garbage despite your best efforts (because hey, trash happens), always deal with it in a responsible and environmentally friendly manner. Canada may be one of the top garbage producing countries in the world, but that doesn’t mean it always has to be that way. Victoria BC is a pretty green place (we produce less waste and recycle more than the Canadian average!) and we’re dedicated to keeping it that way.

Here at Pete’s Haul a Day, we don’t just pick up your junk. We divert 100% of all recyclables from being dumped at the CRD Landfill. What’s more, we also separate the reusable items and donate as much as possible to the less fortunate in our community. It’s a win for you, and a win for the planet!