I found somewhat contradicting reports. When we look the amount of waste produced per person per year Denmark is the first with 560kgs, Netherlands second 530kgs, the UK with 480kgs, the US 460kgs, Belgium and Switzerland with 450kgs.
On the other hand according to Forbes, the list regarding with total annual waste production, the US is the leader with 236 million tons, Russia second 207.4 million tons, Japan 52.3 million tons, Germany 48.8 million tons, and the UK 34.8 million tons.
I think it depends on how you define “wasteful.” Statistics regarding per capita waste production are helpful I think, but it is interesting that the top 6 waste producers that Seppe mentioned (Denmark, Netherlands, UK, USA, Belgium, Switzerland) are all very advanced countries with high standards of living and large numbers of consumer goods, so naturally their per capita waste production is going to be highest. If you’re looking for a tendency, however, I think you should focus not on per capita waste production, but on that figure as measured against the country’s wealth as a whole. In that regard, Russia emerges as a potential candidate. In the second group of statistics Seppe produces here, from Forbes, note that of the five leaders–US, Russia, Japan, Germany and the UK–all are, again, advanced economies with high living standards, except one, Russia. The fact that Russia can produce almost as much waste as the United States with a far lower general standard of living (meaning less consumer goods, less packaging, less food waste, etc.) I think to me illustrates that there is probably less of a tendency to conserve, recycle and reduce waste in Russia than there is in the generally more eco-friendly US, Japan, UK and Scandinavia. Part of the problem is that most of Russia’s infrastructure dates from the Soviet era where factories, mines and power plants were built with absolutely no concern for the environment, and the Russian economy does not have the resources to change over to more efficient modes of production and use.
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