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Hedy Reviews “Garbology”

By Library Staff

Why do we have so much trash and what might we do to make less of it?  Those are the questions Humes attempts to answer in this provocative book.  There was a lot to interest me here: the overwhelming amount of very tiny pieces of plastic in the oceans (“There’s really nothing to debate about who and what is turning the oceans into plastic soup, as plastic is a completely man-made substance. It doesn’t come from trees, volcanoes, space or bugs. It’s all ours, and it enters the oceans through only one of three ways: accident, negligence or deliberate dumping”); the drawbacks of plastic bags (“Flocks of flying immortal bags are a signature element and a unique hallmark of the disposable age of plastic…”); garbage dump artists-in-residence; the story of Chico-Bags (My son and daughter-in-law gave me one as a gift years ago.  I hadn’t known its story, but it’s a fascinating one); and the story of TerraCycle (“worm poop fertilizer”).

Having been stuck for 24 hours in the Atlanta airport recently, my husband and I were on the verge of finally purchasing a cell phone.  It’s so hard to find pay phones these days.  But I was reading “Garbology” at the time and cell phones make up the biggest category of e-waste by far, so we’re still holding off and exercising our wits and powers of planning ahead instead.  It’s more challenging every year.

The author suggests five things anyone can do to be less wasteful.

1. Refuse.  For example, say no to promotional gimicks like keychains and pens.

2. Go Used and Refurbished.

3. Stop Buying Bottled Water.

4. No More Plastic Grocery Bags.

5. Focus on Cost of Ownership.  Save up for something really good rather than purchasing something of inferior quality right away and having to throw it away before long.

[628.44 HU] “Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash” by Edward Humes, 2012, 325 pages