Spend any time in Germany and it should come as no surprise that Germans are good at recycling… crazy good compared to American standards. In fact Germany is highly regarded as the top recycling country in the world, and according to a 2017 year-end report from eunomia and the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) there is proof of this statement, but it may not last through 2018.
When you look at a chart of the top 25 recyclers, it becomes clear that Europe and Asia have their act together with Germany, Austria, South Korea, Wales and Switzerland leading the pack. The United States if nowhere near the top, which honestly shouldn’t be a shocker.
German households alone have a recycling rate of 57% and has a Municipal solid waste (MSW) recycling rate of 56.1% according to eunomia. They are able to achieve such a high rate thanks to governmental policies that not only encourage recycling but also provide proper funding, accessibility and incentives to make it happen.
Other governments are catching on to Germany’s successes though and closing the gap, including Wales, which is pushing to achieve zero waste by 2050. At its current rate, Wales is expected to surpass Germany by the end of 2018.