GONE TOMORROW : The Hidden Life of Garbage

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9781565848795: GONE TOMORROW : The Hidden Life of Garbage
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Eat a take-out meal, buy a pair of shoes, or read a newspaper, and you’re soon faced with a bewildering amount of garbage. The United States is the planet’s number-one producer of trash. Each American throws out 4.5 pounds daily. But garbage is also a global problem; the Pacific Ocean is today six times more abundant with plastic waste than zooplankton. How did we end up with this much rubbish, and where does it all go? Journalist and filmmaker Heather Rogers answers these questions by taking readers on a grisly, oddly fascinating tour through the underworld of garbage.

Said to “read like a thriller” (Library Journal), Gone Tomorrow excavates the history of rubbish handling from the 1800s to the present, pinpointing the roots of today’s waste-addicted society. With a “lively authorial voice” (New York Press), Rogers draws connections between modern industrial production, consumer culture, and our throwaway lifestyle. She also investigates controversial topics like the politics of recycling and the export of trash to poor countries, while offering a potent argument for change.


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Review:

"Covers fascinating, stinky terrain." —The New York Times

"Cogent and beautifully written . . a compelling commentary on the state of contemporary society." —David Harvey

"Consistently engaging . . . an intriguing look into an often misunderstood and overlooked industry." —Publishers Weekly

"Out of sight, but, thanks to Heather Rogers, not out of mind. We spend an awful lot of time thinking about getting and spending, and next to none about disposing—this splendidly documented book is just the thing we need." —Bill McKibben

Synopsis:

Every day a phantasmagoric rush of spent, used and broken riches flows through our homes, offices, and cars. The United States is the planet's number-one producer of rubbish; the average American discards over 1600 pounds annually. As The Observer article shows the UK is not much better. But where does all that rubbish go? The full bin placed on the pavement might seem like the end of the line, but it actually marks the beginning of what many now euphemistically call the "waste stream." In Gone Tomorrow, Heather Rogers guides us through the grisly, oddly fascinating world of trash. Part expose, part social commentary, award-winning journalist Rogers exposes the connections between modern industrial production, consumer culture, and our disposable lifestyle. To investigate the roots of our waste-addicted culture, Rogers excavates the history of rubbish handling from the 1800s - an era of rubbish-grazing urban hogs and dump-dwelling rag pickers - to the present day, with its brutally violent mob-controlled cartels and high tech "mega-fills" operated by billion-dollar corporations. Rubbish production in the West has doubled in the last thirty years.

About 80 per cent of our products are used once, then thrown away. 95 per cent of all plastic, two thirds of all glass containers, and 50 per cent of all aluminium beverage cans are never recycled; instead they just get burned or buried.

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Publisher: The New Press, 2005
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