Total Garbage: How We Can Fix Our Waste and Heal Our World

Avery. Apr. 2024. 288p. ISBN 9780593543368. $28. SCI
Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Humes (The Forever Witness) returns to the environmental issues he wrote about in previous books, such as Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash. Plastic waste in the air, soil, and water is a global problem that didn’t exist 100 years ago, but now it’s widespread. As a way of approaching the topic, Humes details the history of packaging in the U.S. and what society can learn from a time when people didn’t produce as much waste. He discusses new and old strategies for dealing with multiple types of trash and adds “repair, repower, and rethink” to the traditional three r’s (“reduce, reuse, recycle”). Real-life success stories abound: a father and son recycling project in Seattle, a chef in Pennsylvania devoted to safer and greener kitchens, and a nonprofit that grows front-yard produce gardens in Los Angeles. Humes shows that reducing pollution has health, environmental, and economic benefits and argues that each person can affect change in their household and community, while businesses and coalitions that change policies nationwide can make an even larger impact.
VERDICT This timely, highly recommended book makes a strong case for taking practical steps to reduce nonrenewable consumption and waste.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing