Waste Atlas is a crowdsourcing open source map that visualizes municipal solid waste management data across the world for comparison and benchmarking purposes.

After 15 months of effort from more than 1,000 scientists around the world, the first Waste Atlas Report (www.atlas.d-waste.com) was published this past fall. This is an important milestone in the global waste management community because scientists from 93 different countries cooperated to compile data from 162 countries, 1,800 cities, and more than 1,800 facilities.

Results are in

After analyzing almost 60,000 documents, the report concludes that more than half of the world’s population does not have access to regular refuse collection services. The negative health effects are immeasurable.

Other Waste Atlas 2013 Report findings are more easily quantified, but no less shocking. Every human being generates an average of about 270 kg of solid waste every year, but only 15.4 percent of this refuse is recycled in official schemes. (Until this study, there was no way to quantify the contribution of informal recyclers.)

Furthermore, for every dollar spent in the global marketplace, about 47 grams of waste is produced—with worldwide municipal solid waste generation totaling about 1.9 billion tonnes per year. At least 37 percent of this waste is disposed of at dump sites.

D-Waste’s newest software tools include the app that allows measuring distances from facilities and dumpsites. These and other apps under development to verify content and assure quality will continue to make D-Waste essential in measuring the impact of waste.