Our Dirty Love Affair With Trash

Book - 2012
Average Rating:
Rate this:
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.
Publisher: New York : Avery, c2012
ISBN: 9781583334348
Branch Call Number: 628.442 HUM 2012 23
Characteristics: 277 p. : ill. ; 24 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
DBRL_ReginaF Oct 06, 2018

This is everything you never knew you needed to know about garbage.

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.

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!


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

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at SCL

To Top