Who Generates the Most Waste?

by Global Trash Solutions

When it comes to waste, everyone generates some level of it. From household to business waste, it is a part of our daily lives and routines. You might be surprised to discover who is generating the most waste, aside from households.

No, it is not restaurants and fast-food chains. That might seem like an obvious answer, but this industry is not the largest producer of waste. Nor is the retail industry. Factories and manufacturing plants also don’t generate the most waste.

Give up? The construction industry is the industry that generates the most waste. Metal, paper, plastics, rubber, wood, glass, and more all get used in construction. All of the “odds and ends” left after a construction project end up getting tossed out and into the trash.

What State Generates the Most Waste?

Pollution concept. Garbage pile in trash dump or landfill.

Right off the top, you might think states with big cities like New York, California, Texas, Nevada, or Florida would be among the top five states that generate the most waste—but you would be wrong.

According to research conducted by the EPA Landfill Methane Outreach Program, and using U.S. Census data, the top five states that produce the most trash per capita include:1

  1. Michigan
  2. Indiana
  3. Illinois
  4. Pennsylvania
  5. Ohio

Florida ranked 40th and New York ranked 41st. The state that produces the least amount of waste was Connecticut.

What Waste Management Solutions Could Help Reduce Waste Generation?

There are all sorts of waste management solutions that can help to reduce the amount of waste being generated in the United States, from recycling more waste materials to developing more eco-friendly packaging solutions that are not harmful to the environment.

While some states have put initiatives in place to move to “zero waste” in the near future, in the meantime, everyone can do their part to help cut down on waste generation.

At Home Solutions

Sort your trash so that recyclables do not end up in landfills. If you have a yard, make sure food scraps end up in a composting pile instead of the trash. You could also repurpose waste materials like tin cans and plastic bottles and use them for other things around the house like growing an indoor herb garden.

The man throws leftover vegetables from the cutting board

Additionally, take the time to educate yourself about the right ways to recycle and what materials you can recycle. Many people do not know how to recycle correctly.

Business and Industrial Solutions

Review your current trash and waste management processes with help from a waste management consultant. Identify processes that need improving to reduce waste generation. For instance, compacting waste reduces the amount of wasted space taken up in landfills.

Baling is also a great idea to enhance or start recycling efforts for a wide range of materials, including cardboard, paper, and plastics.

If everyone does their part, then the amount of waste being generated can be reduced and the U.S. can be on its way to “zero waste.”

For further information about solutions to waste management for your business and to discover how you can cut your waste management expenses, please feel free to contact Global Trash Solutions at 866-760-8194 to speak with one of our waste management consultants today!

We also offer waste broker services, compactor and baler repair, and compactor and baler equipment sales.


  1. https://www.epa.gov/lmop

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