START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good

5 Things To Know About the Global Garbage Heap (Slideshow)

5 Things To Know About the Global Garbage Heap (Slideshow)
  • 1 of 5

The World Bank has issued a report about municipal solid waste (MSW) — garbage — and the findings are definitely not tidy.

This year, the world is on track to generate 2.6 trillion tons of garbage – about the weight of 7,000 Empire State Buildings, as as The Atlantic observes.

(1) We Each Generate 2.6 Pounds of Garbage a Day

Garbage outside the rear of Rigby House

The very notion of all that trash is alarming in and of itself. But we are producing more garbage at a faster rate than ever. The garbage produced by urban dwellers is “growing even faster than the rate of urbanization,” says the World Bank:

Ten years ago, 2.9 billion urban residents generated about 0.64 kg (about 1.4 pounds) of garbage per person per day (0.68 billion tonnes per year).

But today, 3 billion urban dwellers generate 1.2 kg (about 2.6 pounds) — almost twice as much — garbage a day.

In just over a decade, by 2025, the World Bank predicts an increase of 4.3 billion urban residents who will generate 1.42 kg (about 3.1 pounds) per day of municipal solid waste (2.2 billion tonnes per year).


Photo by Alan Stanton

  • 1 of 5

Read more: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Photo by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it


+ add your own
7:29PM PDT on Sep 30, 2012

sad, and scary

8:51AM PDT on Aug 29, 2012

so sad. if we all did our part, truly did our part, it would at least help. but so few really want to make a difference, and few even acknowledge there is a problem

8:58AM PDT on Aug 14, 2012

Marie W, I am sure that your remark was stated as a display of your despair over our growing problem, but more police...I fail to find a that to be a solution.

Man has lost his capacity to foresee and to forestall. He will end by, destroying the Earth. Albert Schweitzer

We are lucky to be so close to the City of Tucson, their recycle program is continuing to expand.

Now if we could get people to actually read the sign that states what is or is not recyclable, you see our program co-mingles everything, so humans must sort the majority of the product.

After all, it is easier to drive a car into a ditch, than to get it out.

Did any of you see that, I said "product," and it is.

As I stated earlier, our household produces less than 2.6 lbs of "garbage" every two weeks, and yet, if there were a market, we could cut that in half.

5:14AM PDT on Aug 14, 2012

Pamela K. Unfortunately, trying to tax garbage as it is disposed of is more likely to provoke illegal dumping than it is to reduce the amount of garbage generated. It would help more to tax everything on a dry-weight (to avoid taxing water) basis to pay for the eventual cost of disposing of the remains. I already dump in my recycle bin more litter that I pick up along my way than I throw away trash and garbage remaining from stuff I buy.

5:11PM PDT on Jun 12, 2012

Just as the golf course down the street is averaged into your water usage and the bridge repair across town is averaged into your usage of cement, much of that 2.6 lbs of refuse per day is generated by others on your behalf.

I recycle everything but garbage and kitty litter. Composting the former is considered to be a public nuisance and the latter a public health risk. Nonetheless, I consider the 2.6 lb average to be low.

It is just this element of indirect waste generation and indirect consumption that makes pure population numbers so important. One cannot make up for adding a child by recycling one's cans and bottles.

1:58PM PDT on Jun 12, 2012

I don't have 2.6 pounds of garbage in a week, much less a day. I recycle everything possible. Lucky for me, the city where I live has a terrific recycling program that actually picks up recycling along with trash every week. My trash can is virtually empty every week, while my recycle can is fairly full.

10:53AM PDT on Jun 12, 2012

In our home, we do not "generate" 2.6 lbs. in 2 weeks and that is for 2 people, it is not hard to do.

Go to the Care2 article: 10 Tips for Creating a Zero Waste Home You will find some rather good examples.

We live on 160 acres, in an Intentional Community, several times a month we have a community dinner. We always take with us our own utensils, plates, cups, etc., we are often ask why we do that. As of recent, I see that fewer people are falling back on throwaways. Result: Lesser impact

When we go to Tucson, we always prepare our own lunch, we carry 5 liters of water (from our own water filtration system), in Stainless Steel bottles. Besides it is difficult to eat well in the run. Result: No waste

We carry 5 cotton/poly bags in our Samurai, so that they are always at the ready.

It is not so hard to do.

12:33PM PDT on Jun 11, 2012

Interesting post. Thanks.

3:25AM PDT on Jun 11, 2012


9:21PM PDT on Jun 10, 2012

All one hears in this nation is consume, consume, consume. People spend hours stuck to the boob tube listening to all those commericals telling them all sorts of crap to pander to the person's ego and the advertisers pocketbook. Few truly question what they are told. Fewer still demand quality products that are reliable, durable and can be rebuildable. Too many are struck with the latest fad, there to impress, if only for a moment.
If people really cared about this earth they would go out of their way to learn to do different things to mitigate their personal impact. Nowadays, plenty of people take far too much for granted and far too many chose to remain apart of the problem rather than make the changes that would curtail so many environmental problems.
I have little faith in the species ability to rise above its knuckle dragging approach to so many problems it and it alone have brought to this planet. Garbage seems to be the best monument of Homo sapien for everywhere man goes so does his trash.
Innovation and technology have only added to the problems. There are more educated people in the US today that at anytime in its history but that doesn't seem to change the dynamic either. If man would expend as much time caring for this planet as he does worshipping himself and his supposed intellect, the planet would be in much better shape.

add your comment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

Care2 - Be Extraordinary - Start a Care2 Petition
ads keep care2 free

Recent Comments from Causes

"Did you hear the one about a group of protesters calling for an end to discriminatory killings by the…

Wonderful! Thank you President Obama!

meet our writers

Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches and writes about ancient Greek and Latin and is Online Advocacy and Marketing... more
ads keep care2 free

Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.

site feedback


Problem on this page? Briefly let us know what isn't working for you and we'll try to make it right!