WASHINGTON, June 6, 2012 —A new, far-reaching report on the state of municipal solid waste around the world predicts a sharp rise in the amount of garbage generated by urban residents between now and 2025. The report estimates the amount of municipal solid waste (MSW) will rise from the current 1.3 billion tonnes/year to 2.2 billion tonnes/year, with much of the increase coming in rapidly growing cities in developing countries. The annual cost of solid waste management is projected to rise from the current $205 billion to $375 billion, with cost increasing most severely in low income countries.
The report, What a Waste: A Global Review of Solid Waste Management, for the first time offers consolidated data on MSW generation, collection, composition, and disposal by country and by region. In itself, this is an accomplishment because, as the report states, reliable global MSW information is either not available or incomplete, inconsistent, and incomparable. Nevertheless, the authors of the report point to a looming crisis in MSW treatment as living standards rise and urban populations grow.