Best Countries For Recycling Waste

Segregation of waste is an important step in waste management.
Segregation of waste is an important step in waste management.

In order to combat the problem of landfill pollution, various recycling programs have been created in many different countries. This article will take a look at the best countries in the world when it comes to recycling waste.

World Leaders In Recycling

Leaders In Asia

The leading countries for recycling waste within Asia are South Korea, Singapore, and Hong Kong. These countries are all considered "land scarce". Recycling became a necessary way to preserve their limited space. South Korea implemented an electronics recycling scheme in 1992 which forced manufacturers into providing recycling options for electronic goods. The South Koreans foresaw an impending problem with this somewhat new electronic waste and Hong Kong has also followed suit with battery and electronic disposal bins at train stations and various other locations throughout the country. Singapore, on the other hand, only implemented their government led recycling program in 2001, and have made impressive progress in only 16 years.

European Leaders In Recycling Waste

Within Europe, there has been somewhat of a recycling revolution. Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and Ireland recycle 34% of their waste, respectively. Belgium is not far behind, at 31%. Norway and Sweden have become specialized in burning their waste as an inexpensive fuel for power. Both of these countries import waste from surrounding nations in order to power their incineration plants. Sweden powers 250,000 homes with incinerated waste and the country is running out of burnable waste, hence the need to import it. Switzerland charges for waste removal, and waste can only be disposed of through this means. There is also a complete ban on any new landfills in Switzerland, creating the necessary drive to recycle as much as possible. Ireland followed Switzerland, implementing waste and landfill taxes, as well as an electronics recycling scheme in 2005. Belgium is home to state-of-the-art shredders for cars and large items that may have been difficult to recycle in the past. These technologies have been sold to many other countries around the world. Belgium leads the way when it comes to recycling materials from cars; on average, a car can have 91% of it's material recycled when this technology is used.

The Marshall Islands

The Marshall Islands, located about halfway between Hawaii and The Philippines, recycles 31% of their waste. This is only due to an impending environmental crisis, as waste had The Marshall Islands pilled up on the tiny nation since World War 2. This nation has become one of the world leader's in recycling since the program started. The last country we will look at is Australia, which recycles 30% of it's waste. The Australian government initiated an electronic waste scheme (similar to South Korea, Hong Kong, Ireland) in 2012 in which manufacturers offered a recycling scheme for televisions, computers, and batteries. The Australian government, like others seen in this article, saw the damage waste disposal was doing to the environment and economy and acted accordingly.

All of the above countries would be considered modern societies today, and reflect a modern, sustainable view of the planet. The 10 countries mentioned were all subject to nation-wide, government initiated recycling projects. Many of these countries also laid blueprints, or plans, for their future recycling and waste management programs.

Sustainable Planet: A Goal For The Future

Earth is a finite space, meaning we only have so much land. This land must be cared for, as humans have accelerated the rate of destruction. Recycling is a great way to start becoming a completely sustainable society.

Best Countries For Recycling Waste

RankLeading Countries In RecyclingShare of Recyclable Waste Recycled
1South Korea 49%
2Singapore 47%
3Hong Kong45%
4Norway 34%
5Sweden 34%
6Switzerland 34%
7Ireland 34%
8Marshall Islands 31%
9Belgium 31%
10Australia 30%

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