New figures from OECD reveal world’s recycling leaders

Germany is the top recycling nation

A new highly-detailed data report produced by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development shows the municipal recycling rates for its member countries.

The report shows the good, the average and the ugly; from the current leader, Germany, topping the table with a 65% recycling rate; to the USA, which is lagging behind many European countries, with a 35% recycling rate; and then to the struggling Turkey, which recycled a pitiful 1% of the nation’s municipal rubbish in 2013.

Here is a list of the top OECD nations that are leading the recycling race. (The results were collated by OECD and reflect the municipal waste that was recycled and composted in 2013):

  1. Germany (65%)
  2. South Korea (59%)
  3. Slovenia (58%)
  4. Austria (58%)
  5. Belgium (55%)
  6. Switzerland (51%)
  7. Sweden (50%)
  8. Netherlands (50%)

12. United Kingdom (43%)

In contrast, the following is a list of the OECD nations that are currently at the bottom of the recycling pile:

  1. Turkey (1%)
  2. Chile (1%)
  3. Mexico (5%)
  4. Slovakia (11%)
  5. Japan (19%)
  6. Greece (19%)
  7. Israel (19%)
  8. Czech Republic (24%)

According to Forbes, a report produced by Eurostat claims that Germany sent just 63.8million tonnes out of 353million tonnes of municipal waste to landfill in 2012 and just 11 million tonnes went to the incinerators. The remainder was either recycled or used for energy recovery.

There is a suggestion that Germany’s recycling success is partly due to its plastic bottle and aluminium can deposit system. One can often see unemployed/homeless people rooting around inside bins for any discarded bottles and cans. However, such systems are also used in Canada, where the recycling rate is just 24%.

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