SOCIAL SCIENCES

Secondhand: Travels in the New Global Garage Sale

Bloomsbury. Nov. 2019. 304p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9781635570106. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781635570120. BUS
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We all have too much stuff, and this engaging new work by Minter (Junkyard Planet: Travels in the Billion-Dollar Trash Trade) is a behind-the-scenes peek into what happens when we finally decide to clean house. The author begins by outlining the history of our love affair with accumulating and the rise of downsizing services as the population ages, particularly in the United States and Japan. He follows items into a Goodwill store and meets sorters who decide what is likely to sell and what gets baled and shipped overseas. It’s not just clothes, though; electronics recycling is another huge sector, encouraged in part by companies such as Apple, which was a pioneer in engineering items that deliberately could not be repaired. He notes there is a small trend once again focusing on durability and quality, but with the continued success of fast-fashion and the continued trend toward downsizing and decluttering, the secondhand trade is likely to be booming for a long while.
VERDICT Well written and packed with intriguing details, this is a great look at a global industry to which virtually all of us contribute, in one way or another

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