Gone Tomorrow: The Hidden Life of Garbage

Overview

Eat a take-out meal, buy a pair of shoes, or read a newspaper, and you’re soon faced with a bewildering amount of garbage. The United States is the planet’s number-one producer of trash. Each American throws out 4.5 pounds daily. But garbage is also a global problem; the Pacific Ocean is today six times more abundant with plastic waste than zooplankton. How did we end up with this much rubbish, and where does it all go? Journalist and filmmaker Heather Rogers answers these questions by taking readers on a grisly,...

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Gone Tomorrow: The Hidden Life of Garbage

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Overview

Eat a take-out meal, buy a pair of shoes, or read a newspaper, and you’re soon faced with a bewildering amount of garbage. The United States is the planet’s number-one producer of trash. Each American throws out 4.5 pounds daily. But garbage is also a global problem; the Pacific Ocean is today six times more abundant with plastic waste than zooplankton. How did we end up with this much rubbish, and where does it all go? Journalist and filmmaker Heather Rogers answers these questions by taking readers on a grisly, oddly fascinating tour through the underworld of garbage.

Said to “read like a thriller” (Library Journal), Gone Tomorrow excavates the history of rubbish handling from the 1800s to the present, pinpointing the roots of today’s waste-addicted society. With a “lively authorial voice” (New York Press), Rogers draws connections between modern industrial production, consumer culture, and our throwaway lifestyle. She also investigates controversial topics like the politics of recycling and the export of trash to poor countries, while offering a potent argument for change.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Covers fascinating, stinky terrain." &#8212The New York Times

"Cogent and beautifully written . . a compelling commentary on the state of contemporary society." &#8212David Harvey

"Consistently engaging . . . an intriguing look into an often misunderstood and overlooked industry." &#8212Publishers Weekly

"Out of sight, but, thanks to Heather Rogers, not out of mind. We spend an awful lot of time thinking about getting and spending, and next to none about disposing—this splendidly documented book is just the thing we need." &#8212Bill McKibben

Library Journal
In this readable and well-researched study, writer, journalist, and filmmaker Rogers tackles garbage and the social, economic, political, and technological waste disposal choices and dilemmas that our communities face. Americans dispose of more than 700 billion pounds of paper, glass, plastic, wood, food, metal, clothing, electronics, and other refuse annually. The author examines the available options in dealing with this issue-e.g., feeding organic garbage to pigs, dumping in landfills, burning and incineration, exporting to other states or countries, and recycling and reusing disposables-and discusses their benefits and drawbacks. Her account of the criminal elements that once controlled New York City's garbage industry and how the city cleaned it up in the 1990s by establishing a garbage corporation reads like a thriller. Of particular note is Rogers's hard look at consumer habits, industrial imperatives, and the attitudes and lifestyles that generate extraordinary amounts of waste and pose a threat to the health of the planet. For on-site observations of garbage and the individuals who make their living from it, don't overlook Elizabeth Royte's Garbage Land: On the Secret Trail of Trash. Both books complement each other, offering readers a panoramic view of the garbage industry. Recommended for most collections.-Irwin Weintraub, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., New York Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595581204
  • Publisher: New Press, The
  • Publication date: 9/19/2006
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 405,988
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author


Heather Rogers is a journalist and filmmaker. Her documentary film Gone Tomorrow (2002) screened in festivals around the globe. Her writing has appeared in The Nation, Utne Reader, Z Magazine, the Brooklyn Rail, Punk Planet, and Art and Design. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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