How Do Other Countries Manage Their Waste?

14th May 2015

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It would be easy to assume that most countries had similar waste disposal procedures to the UK, but this in fact is not the case. Here, we will look at some other common practices from around the world.

Photo by digital art courtesy of

Photo by digital art courtesy of

In Sweden a whopping 99% of their waste is recycled, to the point where they actually import waste from the UK and other countries in order to their waste-to-energy plants. These plants, however, are somewhat controversial because they work by burning waste, which releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The positive trade off of this is that burning the waste means that methane is not being released and the US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that pound for pound, the impact of methane on climate change is 25% greater than that of CO2. Plus, the steam generated by the incinerating waste is then used to produce electricity.

Kazakhstan is the ninth biggest country in the world but only approximately 1% of their waste is recycled, leaving a huge amount that is being buried or dumped and is in turn polluting the air and water. There is a cross-government target to generate half of the country’s energy from renewable sources by 2050 and the hope is that big improvements in waste management will be made.

In Hong Kong, there is a mandatory policy for corporate or industrial refuse is separated in order to put as much as possible into recycling bins. This practice is also mandatory in Germany, Singapore, the Netherlands and Spain.

Recycling in America is largely the responsibility of individual states, so procedures differ throughout the country but include bans on certain recyclable products such as aluminium cans from being placed in landfill and the cost of household waste management services being dependant on the amount of waste generated by individual households.

Thumbnail for What does Zero #Waste mean to you? Interesting points via @sarahjuliel

As you can see, there are many different waste disposal services and methods across the world and this is just a small selection. We are industry experts in the UK and can advise you and your company as to what you need to be doing to be in-line with current UK legislation so get in touch today.

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