Garbology

Garbology

Our Dirty Love Affair With Trash

eBook - 2012
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Penguin Putnam
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.

Garbology
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.

Baker & Taylor
"A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist takes readers on a surprising tour of the world of garbage. Trash is America's largest export. Individually, we make more than four pounds a day, sixty-four tons across a lifetime. We make so much of it that trash dominates America's place in the global economy--now the most prized product made in the United States. In 2010, China's number-one export to the U.S. was computer equipment. America's two biggest exports were paper waste and scrap metal. Somehow,a country that once built things for the rest of the world has transformed itself into China's trash compactor. In Garbology, Edward Humes reveals what this world of trash looks like, how we got here, and what some families, communities, and other countries are doing to find a way back from a world of waste. Highlights include: Los Angeles's sixty-story garbage mountain, so big and bizarrely prominent that it has spawned its own climate, habitat, and tour business. The waste trackers ofMIT, whose "smart trash" has exposed the secret life and dirty death of what we throw away. China's garbage queen, Zhang Yin, who started collecting scrap paper in the 1990s and turned it into a multibillion-dollar business exporting American trash to make Chinese products to sell back to Americans. Artisan Bea Johnson, whose family has found that generating less waste has translated into more money, less debt, and more leisure time. As Wal-Mart aims for zero-waste strategies and household recycling has become second nature, interest in trash has clearly reached new heights. From the quirky to the astounding, Garbology weighs in with remarkable true tales from the front lines of the war on waste. "--

Publisher: 2012
ISBN: 9781101580370
Branch Call Number: E-Book

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belalin
Jan 12, 2017

Worth reading. The only way we can save the planet and ensure that our children enjoy a decent lifestyle is to just stop buying things we don't need and wasting. It takes a half gallon of gas to produce 500 plastic bags. It is estimated that the US alone uses 150 million gallons of gas a year to produce plastic shopping bags. Do you have debt; its estimated that a family of 4 actually waste 40% of its income. Even if you only waste 10 or 20% of your income wouldn't you want to know how to save this. The solutions are not the same for everyone but this book could help you rethink your lifestyle and improve your finances.

leafsfan67 Sep 14, 2012

Did you know that almost every beach in the world contains billions of tiny bits of plastic? Or that a dump in California has an artist-in-residence program? This is a very readable book, filled with fascinating (and sobering) information.

s
steph_peregrine
Jun 19, 2012

An eye-opening, if depressing, look at the wastefulness and environmental impact of our disposable-plastic culture. It does end on a slightly more optimistic note with some profiles of individuals who are trying to make a difference. Very interesting!

FRANCYNE PELCHAR May 14, 2012

very informative and well-researched overview of what and why we throw away. statistics on how usa compares to other nations in trash production.

f. pelchar

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