With the 2018 FIFA World Cup in full swing, Fresh Start Waste Services has delved into stacks of data to see how each participating nation is performing when it comes to recycling.
The Manchester-based waste management company has taken the most reliable metric available, the recycling rate for Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), and found that Germany leads the way on 66%, with only 1% of its refuse going into landfill sites. South Korea takes the runner-up spot with 59%, while Belgium – spearheaded by widespread home composting in Flanders – completes the podium on 55%.
Despite claiming a recycling rate of 99%, around half of Sweden’s MSW is incinerated and doesn’t count as being recycled in official Eurostat figures.
England is one of the most significantly improved recycling nations on the planet, taking its rate up more than 20 percentage points between 2004-2014 (from 23% to 45%), alongside Poland which has gone from 6% to 32% in the same time frame.
While some of the lower ranked developing nations don’t have great sets of data on the face of it, there are innovative community schemes in places such as Morocco, Mexico and Nigeria, while the Zabbaleen people of Egypt, have been keeping the streets of Cairo largely free from waste for decades.
These largely informal practices mean that their estimated recycling rates are likely to be much higher than the official figures.
A full write up on each nation is available on our Recycling World Cup blog here.