Top 5 least green cities for recycling in the world

By Editor


Waste collection experts have compiled a list of the top five least green cities across the world for recycling.

1. Mexico City

While recycling initiatives have been launched in Mexico City, it has yet to run a smooth system and relies on private waste management. The city closed its largest landfill site, where over 70 million tonnes of waste are already buried and causing environmental problems, almost a decade ago, leading to illegal dumping grounds forming and streets piled high with waste. Just 15 percent of the city’s waste was recycling, leaving much room for improvement.

2. Beijing

In 2017, China’s Beijing, with a population of 21 million, incinerated or sent to landfill almost all (95 percent) of its waste according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics – a shocking number for a city which has so many citizens. Despite historically poor recycling rates, China’s ban on importing landfill waste from other countries in 2017 has led to improved efforts to responsibly process its own waste, and the only way is up for Beijing’s figures.

3. Kolkata

India’s Kolkata has recycling rates well below the international average. While India recycles approximately 60 percent of its plastic waste, the city of Kolkata is growing so quickly that it struggles to implement effective recycling collection and processing, leading to a growing problem with landfill in the area. It’s a problem which faces many fast-developing cities, who are under both ethical and legal pressure to meet increasingly important global targets.

4. New York

It isn’t only developing cities which are wasteful, however. The Big Apple, despite aggressive recycling drives across the city, fail at the most important hurdle – producing less waste in the first place. According to Grow NYC, in 2019 the city’s residents produced 12,000 tonnes of waste per day, which it farms out largely to nearby landfills.

5. Kuwait

Kuwait City’s citizens generate twice the global average of waste per day and less than 10 percent of it is recycled. Grassroots movements to improve recycling in the city have been introduced, but it has a long way to go.

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