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These are 10 countries that produce the most trash:
1. The United States
As of 2006, the United States produced around 236 million tons of waste annually. In 2007, the United States produced 254 million tons of garbage. Alarmingly, the average American throws away nearly 7 pounds of trash on a daily basis, according to PlanetThoughts. The U.S. consumes 30 percent of the world's resources despite making up only 5 percent of the world's population. It also produces 30 percent of the world's waste. In only a year, Americans throw away around 26,800,000 tons of food, 8,550,000 tons of furniture and furnishings, 6,330,000 tons of clothing and footwear, and tons of other waste. Food, furniture and furnishings, and clothing and footwear are discarded the most. Unfortunately, 80 percent of all products that are produced in the United States are used only once and then discarded, and 95 percent of plastic and 50 percent of all of the aluminum beverage cans that are thrown away never get recycled.
Russia, which is not too far behind the United States, produces over 200 million tons of garbage every year. As of 2000, the amount of waste produced annually by Russia was estimated to be around 207.4 tons. The number has likely increased significantly between 2000 and now due to a growing middle class and capitalist society.
Japan produces around 52.36 million tons of trash every year. Despite being number 3 on the list, recycling rates in Japan are high. In 2006, the recycling rate was 95 percent for steel cans, 90 percent for glass bottles, 89 percent for aluminum, 60 percent for paper, and 38 percent for paper containers for liquid.
Germany produces approximately 48.84 tons of garbage each year. But each German citizen produces about 1/3 of the amount of garbage that the average U.S. citizen does.
5. The United Kingdom
In the U.K., the amount of trash produced is even less than in Germany. Like Germans, the average British citizen produces less than 1/3 of the amount of trash produced by the average American. The United Kingdom's 60 million people produce around 34.85 million tons of trash every year.
Mexico has an annual waste production of around 32.17 million tons. A likely reason why Mexico's annual waste production is not higher is because Mexico's economy does not allow for as much consumption as wealthier countries.
Like Mexico, France also produced an estimated amount of 32.17 million tons of trash. As a whole, France views recycling as important.
Italy produces around 29.74 million tons of waste annually. Unfortunately, there is a trash crisis in the Naples area that has been going on for the past 15 years. The crisis is now being dealt with, but it has not been an easy task.
Spain produces 26.34 million tons of waste every year, which is about 1/3 the weight of garbage produced by each American.
Turkey produces 25.99 million tons of garbage. This is only about half as much as the amount of garbage produced by the Japanese.
Although China was not included in the top 10 as of 2006, the amount of garbage produced in China is rising. China is estimated to produce an annual amount of over 220 million tons of municipal waste. According to waste management expert Nie Yongfeng, paper, plastic, and other garbage has reached around 300 million tons a year.
Urbanization, population growth, and increasing affluence have all contributed to China's waste production. Cities in China are full of garbage, and city officials are having trouble managing this problem.
Zhanglidong, a village in China, is now filled with garbage from the city of Zhengzhou. Resident Wang Xiuhua said, "Life here went from heaven to hell in an instant."
The population of the United States is only about a quarter the size of China's, yet the amount of garbage produced by the U.S. on an annual basis is close to the amount that China produces.
Trash Planet: China warns that the amount of garbage produced in China is expected to rise greatly, however. According to the World Bank, China will produce approximately 533 million tons of waste by 2030, which is a staggering amount. Unfortunately, consumption of packaged foods increased by 10.8 percent each year between 2000 and 2008. The packaged-food market is expected to increase to $195 billion by 2013. Preventative actions must be taken. Otherwise, China's environmental problems are going to escalate dramatically.