Review of Garbology

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  • Analytical
  • Eye Opening
  • Concrete Examples


Journalist Edward Humes follows the trail of garbage from product production to waste collection to landfill, incinerator or ocean. A diligent researcher, he develops intriguing portraits of his subjects in great detail. His reporting uncovers normal daily practices that have an enormous negative environmental impact. Humes’s shocking overview could foment changes in how you live, what you buy and how you eat. He can help managers and decision makers reconsider their business practices so their companies learn to dispose of trash in a more environmentally sensitive way. He ends many sections with a quick-facts page that helpfully sums up the  important ideas. Humes’s detailed presentation of a solvable dilemma will intrigue managers, purchasers, supply-chain officers, entrepreneurs, retailers and every citizen who wants to live more cleanly.

About the Author

Edward Humes has written 11 nonfiction books, including Force of Nature: The Unlikely Story of Walmart’s Green Revolution, and has received a Pulitzer Prize and a Pen Center USA award. He contributes to The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles magazine.


Trash Day

Residents of the United States, Humes reports, on average, discard more than seven pounds of trash daily, more than any other people on Earth. Their individual lifetime total will add up to about 102 tons of garbage. The author contends that studying a nation’s trash yields precise measurements of its prosperity. The United States has only 5% of the world’s population, but produces 25% of the globe’s trash.

Humes offers the following figures from a sample of American waste:

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