Who generates the most waste?

New mapping service shows international waste streams

Overflowing waste binClick to enlarge
Statistically speaking, the amount of waste produced in Germany is about 456 kilos per capita (2012)
Source: eyetronic / Fotolia.com

Germany is a major importer of waste. The reason is that German waste technologies are very advanced, and for some materials, the best disposal processes are here. Another reason for waste import is that some waste incineration plants are not working to full capacity. What quantities are we talking about and where do they come from? The Federal Environment Agency's (UBA) new mapping service has the answers.

Interactive diagrams show how much waste is incurred per person in the districts across Germany. Statistically speaking, the amount of waste produced in Germany is about 456 kilos per capita (2012) although there are regional disparities. In the district of Mittselsachsen, for example, the per capita figure for waste in 2012 was only 251 kilograms. The key factors which impact the statistical quantity include commercial structure, for districts which are home to many business enterprises that dispose of their waste together with domestic waste often produce more waste overall.

The new mapping service of the Federal Environment Agency uses its own spatial data and data from the Federal Statistical Office and the Länder to illustrate waste volumes and waste imports and exports. Data on national and international waste import/export figures are shown when zooming out of the map. Time-series data can be used for easy comparison of data.

The mapping service can also be used to make global comparisons. For imports/exports of waste subject to notification, for example, one sees that activities are concentrated in the common European market. Germany imported more than 81,000 tonnes of waste from Sweden in 2012. Non-European states are smaller players, with exports of 4,430 tonnes to Turkey in 2012, and imports from USA and Brazil of 7,300 and 130 tonnes, respectively.

The application was developed by the Federal Environment Agency as part of European Year of Waste 2014.

Subsequent correction as at 2.9.2014 - 5:50 p.m.

The original press release erroneously stated that the Oberbergischer district in North Rhine-Westphalia was the leader in terms of per capita waste generation. In the meantime this has since proven to be incorrect, for the data submitted to us from the Oberbergischer district mistakenly also included the waste volumes of the neighbouring Rheinisch-Bergischer district. Both districts have been deleted from the map for the time being until new data is available.

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