Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash

Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash

by Edward Humes
4.8 5

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Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash by Edward Humes

A Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist takes readers on a surprising tour of the world of garbage.

Take a journey inside the secret world of our biggest export, our most prodigious product, and our greatest legacy: our trash. It’s the biggest thing we make: The average American is on track to produce a whopping 102 tons of garbage across a lifetime, $50 billion in squandered riches rolled to the curb each year, more than that produced by any other people in the world. But that trash doesn’t just magically disappear; our bins are merely the starting point for a strange, impressive, mysterious, and costly journey that may also represent the greatest untapped opportunity of the century.

In Garbology, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Edward Humes investigates the trail of that 102 tons of 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’ immense Garbage Mountain landfill, the artists in residence at San Francisco’s dump, and the family whose annual trash output fills not a dumpster or a trash can, but a single mason jar.

digs through our epic piles of trash to reveal not just what we throw away, but who we are and where our society is headed. Are we destined to remain the country whose number-one export is scrap—America as China’s trash compactor—or will the country that invented the disposable economy pioneer a new and less wasteful path? The real secret at the heart of Garbology may well be the potential for a happy ending buried in our landfill. Waste, Humes writes, is the one environmental and economic harm that ordinary working Americans have the power to change—and prosper in the process.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101580370
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/19/2012
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 30,976
File size: 2 MB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Edward Humes is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and author whose eleven previous books include Force of Nature, Eco Barons, and the PEN Award–winning No Matter How Loud I Shout. He lives in Seal Beach, California.

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Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
WorldReader1111 9 months ago
I truly enjoyed 'Garbology,' as to grant it the rare five stars. It is, in my opinion, well-written as a piece of literature, with a good, easy-to-read format. Plus, the author manages to inject some humor and personality into the text, managing to avoid the wooden academic tone of many such books (and, to help lighten the often-somber subject matter). Likewise, the book is comprehensive, researched, and diverse, as to present sound arguments for the author's theories and conclusions (which, I might add, are largely neutral, objective, and unbiased, to a commendable degree). For these reasons, I consider 'Garbology' to be, from a purely literary perspective, valid and respectable. In terms of substance and overall value, 'Garbology' is, in my opinion, equally successful. The book covers a lot of territory in its relatively short length, and all of it was, for me, highly interesting and engaging. Indeed, we are sufficiently informed about the present state of the garbage crisis, and from many different angles; however, there is, by extension, a whole other dimension to the text's exploration of these issues. By examining the overt topic and its asides, we are treated to an overview of the human experience in general, touching on everything from the political to the social to the historical to the cosmic, with psychological studies throughout -- a veritable smorgasbord of food-for-thought (and none of it unappetizing, so to speak). Lessons abound (and all from a discussion of trash, no less); but, if nothing else, 'Garbology' serves as the perfect object lesson in there being consequences of our actions, as perhaps nothing else could be. For this reason alone, the book is, I believe, an important read for just about anyone, its other qualities notwithstanding. If I had to list a negative, it would be that 'Garbology' at times relies a bit too heavily on statistics and similarly one-dimensional data to make its case (or so I read it as, anyhow). Though, this was a minor point, and it failed, ultimately, to detract from the book's overall thrust. In the end, I finished 'Garbology' feeling informed and enriched. Good stuff. My sincere thanks goes out to this book's author, subjects, and publisher. I am grateful for, and have benefited from, your work and service.
Anonymous 10 months ago
Told me much I already knew and much I didn't about the horribly wasteful lives most Americans live , and the global consequences of it. Once again, references to Denmark's advanced culture made me want to join my husbands relatives living there - but that wouldn't solve the problem here , would it. Loved reading about the people who are making a difference , especially Bea Johnson - bought her book. Read this book ! Then ,hopefully, make changes yourself that might help save the world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JimRGill2012 More than 1 year ago
“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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago