How much garbage do we generate?

This blog focuses on domestic or municipal solid waste (MSW), which is the different types of waste that we generate directly as a result of our behavior, individually or as a family, and regarding which we have more capacity, freedom, and possibility to influence in terms of management or recycling

Among the different existing definitions of waste, the most thorough could be the following: “Any substance or object which the owner discards, has the intention of discarding or is obliged to discard. The reason for wanting to discard said substance or object is usually associated with the fact that its owner considers it not valuable enough to retain.”

Waste is any substance or object that its owner discards, intends to discard or is obliged to discard

Let’s take a look at the amount of municipal waste that we produce or generate in different areas:


Regarding the total amount of waste, in Catalonia,[1] in 2012, almost 3.6 million tons of municipal waste was generated. The same year in Spain,[2] moreover than 21 million tons were generated, in Europe[3] (EU27), more over than 212 million tons and in the cities of the world,[4] a total of 1,300 million tons is was estimated in 2012.


Concerning quantity per inhabitant, in Catalonia, in 2012, over 1.31 kilos of municipal waste was generated per inhabitant per day. In Spain, almost 1.28 kilos per inhabitant per day were produced. In Europe (EU27), around 1.34 kilos and the cities of around the world, a generation of 1.20 kilos per inhabitant per day is estimated.

With almost 3.6 tons of municipal waste generated per year in Catalonia, the Camp Nou, the stadium of the F.C. Barcelona stadium, could be filled 12 times (70 stadiums with all the waste generated in Spain).

Want to know more?

 The book Stop garbage. The truth about recycling, Alex Pascual, February 2019

[1]. Agència de residus de Catalunya, Estatistics statistics from 2012 

[2].Annual. Annual report 2013 Ministerio de Agricultura, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente, Spanish Government. And EUROSTAT

[3]. EUROSTAT. Official statistics. European Union

[4]. “What a Waste,” World Bank report, 2012

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