Travels in the Billion-Dollar Trash Trade
On Sale: November 12, 2013
Hardcover / e-Book
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How can garbage turn into gold? What does recycling have
to do with globalization? Where does all that stuff we throw
away go, anyway?
When you drop your Diet Coke
can or yesterday's newspaper in the recycling bin, where
does it go? Probably halfway around the world, to people and
places that clean up what you don't want and turn it into
something you can't wait to buy. In Junkyard
Planet, Adam Minter-veteran journalist and son of an
American junkyard owner-travels deeply into a vast, often
hidden, 500-billion-dollar industry that's transforming
our economy and environment.
Minter takes us from
back-alley Chinese computer recycling operations to
recycling factories capable of processing a jumbo jet's
worth of trash every day. Along the way, we meet an
international cast of characters who have figured out how to
squeeze Silicon Valley-scale fortunes from what we all throw
away. Junkyard Planet reveals how "going green"?
usually means making money-and why that's often the most
sustainable choice, even when the recycling methods aren't
With unmatched access to and insight on the
waste industry, and the explanatory gifts and an eye for
detail worthy of a John McPhee or William Langewiesche,
Minter traces the export of America's garbage and the
massive profits that China and other rising nations earn
from it. What emerges is an engaging, colorful, and
sometimes troubling tale of how the way we consume and
discard stuff brings home the ascent of a developing world
that recognizes value where Americans don't. Junkyard
Planet reveals that Americans might need to learn a
smarter way to take out the trash.
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