High Waste Generation and Low Level Recycling in Iran

Iranians throw our about a half kilo of trash, per person, per day. That’s high for a developing country.

There is a growing rate of waste generation in Iranian cities. According to the R&D Deputy of the Environment and Sustainable Development Committee of Municipality of Tehran, every resident of Tehran produces 320 kilograms of solid waste per year. In other words, every person produces 6 times more trash than his/her own body weight. This amount has had a growth of 1.1 percent between the year 2001 and 2006. Also the average waste generation in Esfahan, the third biggest city of Iran, is between 0.55 to 0.6 kilogram of trash per person, per day.

Although this statistic sounds worrying, there is still a huge difference between waste production in Iran and in the more developed and western countries. In America it’s about twice the amount of Iran. In 2000, the record in municipal waste generation in the US was 760 Kgs per person per year; Australia  was 690 Kgs, the United Kingdom was 560 Kgs and for comparison Japan was 410 Kgs. But while the waste generation (Kg/capita/day) is estimated to be 0.4 to 0.9 Kg/per capita/per day in low-income countries, 0.5 to 1.1 in medium-income countries, and 1.1 to 5 for high-income countries, the figure is 0.66 for Iran. Quite high. Of course the statistics seems reasonable but using recycling methods and the percent of recycled waste in countries like Germany and Japan is quite different than in low waste generating countries. Strategies like paying for transferring the trash in Japan pushes people to recycle the trash on their own. Not the case in Iran.

Measures are done to recycle the urban waste of Tehran in a sustainable way. Yet, 90% of the waste is buried and only 2% is recycled. There is still a long way to reach the percentage of recycling in countries like Austria with about 60% and United Kingdom with 17.7%. Countries like Iran need more solutions for recycling urban waste like the bottle recycler I’ve pictured below.

Read more on recycling in the Middle East:

Canadian Man Revolutionizes Sharjah, UAE With Recycling

Lebanon Launches New Recycling Campaign, “Think Before You Throw”

Above image via parapet

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2 thoughts on “High Waste Generation and Low Level Recycling in Iran”

  1. Do you have any idea what the figures are for Oman or the rest of the GCC – I have often thought its comparable to western Europe

    1. Hi “Oman Holidays”,

      I can offer you two online resources.

      The first one is a 66-page report. page 12 may be of help (about the Arab countries of the region:

      The second one is about Oman. Look at the graph on page 4:

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