These six countries form the world’s top for recycling more than 50% of their garbage

Maybe since humans learned to live in society, they have been generating waste. The rubbish left behind by the inhabitants of the Castroites, for example, now helps historians and archaeologists to discover what their diet was like. And, when a medieval palace is restored, it is quite common for workers to trip over a place where all the waste was accumulated.

Although garbage and waste generation have been a constant throughout history, the current situation is much more complicated than at that time. The appearance of new materials, which have accustomed citizens to a use-and-throw consumption practice and that are very resistant to the pass of time, as the plastic, means that waste is not simply the echo of the passing of citizens around the world but rather an environmental burden.

Therefore, it is increasingly important to implement recycling policies and accustom citizens to comply with them. However, not many countries are getting good grades on this issue. Few are the states that have achieved in recent years to reach remarkable recycling figures. Only, more or less, half a dozen countries now manage to recycle at least half of their waste.


What statistics say?

According to data from the World Bank, only six countries manage to reach recycling levels that exceed 50%. These are, according to this statistic, Switzerland, Sweden, Austria, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, thanks to very clear policies and a very important social work. Of the recyclable materials, Switzerland does it with 100%, Sweden stays at 99%, Austria at 63%, Germany at 62%, Belgium at 58% and the Netherlands at 51%.

Other statistics are slightly different and cover garbage in a much more general way. This is what happens with the data of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) – updated to December 2018, a few months ago – that also ranks the countries that best do their homework in recycling. According to OECD data, Germany is the country that does things best. Their statistics suggest that a 68% of waste generated by German municipalities is recycled.

In the recycling ranking, Germans are followed by South Korea (59%), Slovenia and Austria (tied at 58%), Belgium (55%) and Switzerland (51%). Other countries are positioned in a remarkable way based on data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. In a 50% recycling rate are Sweden and the Netherlands, 48% in Luxembourg, 45% in Iceland and 44% in Denmark.


How they manage to convince their citizens to recycle

Whoever wins the recycling ranking, it is quite clear that both Switzerland and Germany are doing well. As they explain in the analysis of the OECD, Germany has done extensive education work in recycling and penalizes the excess production of garbage.

For its part, Switzerland has introduced clear laws on the subject and places fines, sometimes very large, on those who skip the rules. Everything that cannot be recycled becomes a source of energy through energy recovery.