From Journalist Edward Humes, Compelling If Unsettling "Trash Talk" about America's Biggest Export
On this installment of ST, we speak by phone with the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Edward Humes, whose previous books include "Force of Nature" and "No Matter How Loud I Shout," and whose latest book, just recently out in paperback, is "Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash." This book presents an unsettling yet fascinating and highly detailed profile of America's biggest export, its most prodigious product, and perhaps its greatest legacy: garbage. Trash, after all, is the largest thing we make; the average American is on track to produce about 102 tons of garbage over his or her lifetime --- a heaping pile of you-know-what that comes out to, according to Humes, about $50 billion in squandered riches, which each of us literally throws away annually. "Garbology" basically follows the curb-to-landfill trail of that 102 tons of trash, telling readers exactly what's in it, how much we pay for it, why we manage to create so much of it, and how some families, communities, businesses, and even nations are finding new ways to convert this waste into profit and prosperity. This is a book that, as a critic for Kirkus Reviews wrote, "offers plenty of surprising, even shocking, statistics. . . . [It's] an important addition to the environmentalist bookshelf."