Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Edward Humes

From a Q & A with Edward Humes, author of Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash:

Why did you decide to write about garbage?

Everybody knows waste is a problem. But did you know trash is now America’s biggest export? That one of the tallest structures in Los Angeles is a mountain of garbage? That the average American is on track to make 102 tons of trash in a lifetime, twice what we were rolling to the curb in 1960?

Garbology began with a simple question: Is there a way back from our disposable economy, this addiction to waste? The short answer is: yes. I found a growing number of families, communities, and businesses doing just that -- cutting waste and prospering in the process. Garbology is their story.

What was the most surprising thing you discovered during your research?

The most surprising part of the story is just how wasteful we are without really knowing it -- the true numbers are much worse than the official line. Almost as surprising: Being less wasteful is liberating, timesaving, and wealth-creating. Waste is one of the few big societal, economic and environmental problems ordinary people can fix.

Did researching garbage make you more aware of your own trash habits? Do you throw out more or less now?

Absolutely. My family has made a real effort to cut down on waste by refusing the trashiest stuff (plastic shopping bags, excessive packaging, non-recyclable products, disposables) and repurposing or recycling the rest. It's...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue