Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash
On Sale: April 19, 2012
Hardcover / e-Book
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Paperback (March 2013)
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.
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