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A Pulitzer Prize?winning journalist takes readers on a surprising tour of America?s biggest export, our most prodigious product, and our greatest legacy: our trash
The average American produces 102 tons of garbage across a lifetime and $50 billion in squandered riches are rolled to the curb each year. But our bins are just the starting point for a strange, impressive, mysterious, and costly journey that may ...
A Pulitzer Prizewinning journalist takes readers on a surprising tour of America’s biggest export, our most prodigious product, and our greatest legacy: our trash
The average American produces 102 tons of garbage across a lifetime and $50 billion in squandered riches are rolled to the curb each year. But our bins are just the starting point for a strange, impressive, mysterious, and costly journey that may also represent the greatest untapped opportunity of the century.
In Garbology, Edward Humes investigates trash—what’s in it; how much we pay for it; how we manage to create so much of it; and how some families, communities, and even nations are finding a way back from waste to discover a new kind of prosperity. Along the way , he introduces a collection of garbage denizens unlike anyone you’ve ever met: the trash-tracking detectives of MIT, the bulldozer-driving sanitation workers building Los Angeles’ Garbage Mountain landfill, the artists residing in San Francisco’s dump, and the family whose annual trash output fills not a dumpster or a trash can, but a single mason jar.
Garbology reveals not just what we throw away, but who we are and where our society is headed. Waste is the one environmental and economic harm that ordinary working Americans have the power to change—and prosper in the process.
Garbology is raising awareness of trash consumption and is sparking community-wide action through One City One Book programs around the country.
It is becoming an increasingly popular addition to high school and college syllabi and is being adopted by many colleges and universities for First Year Experience programs.
Introduction: 102 Tons (or: Becoming China's Trash Compactor) 1
Part 1 The Biggest Thing we Make
1 Ain't No Mountain High Enough 19
2 Piggeries and Burn Piles: An American Trash Genesis 36
3 From Trash TV to Landfill Rodeos 53
4 The Last and Future Kingdom 75
5 Down to the Sea in Chips 97
6 Nerds vs. Nurdles 115
Part 2 The Trash Detectives
7 The Trash Trackers 131
8 Decadence Now 143
Part 3 The Way Back
9 Pick of the Litter 169
10 Chico and the Man 187
11 Green Cities and Garbage Death Rays 221
12 Put-Downs, Pickups and the Power of No 240
Epilogue: Garbage In, Garbage Out 256
Posted January 28, 2013
“Garbology” will teach you more about trash, waste, and garbage in America than you ever thought there was to know about this subject. For example, waste is big business. Landfills were originally a temporary solution that became a permanent practice. The US is one of the most wasteful nations on the planet. Our current rate of waste production cannot be sustained for much longer. Recycling isn’t nearly as helpful as most people think it is. And all of this is evidence of American selfishness, indulgence, and obliviousness.
Humes’ writing is entertaining and informative. He weaves his narrative so well that it’s quite easy to forget that you’re actually reading about garbage. He also structures this book very effectively—he tells a great deal about the history of waste management in the US, he examines the current garbage crisis, and he offers very practical solutions.
Obviously, this book is not for everyone. If you like non-fiction, however, give this one a try. You’ll probably enjoy it.
Posted July 15, 2012
No text was provided for this review.
Posted March 17, 2013
No text was provided for this review.