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The v-p of a New York City waste transfer station recommends, "You want to solve the garbage problem? Stop eating. Stop living." Indeed, to ponder waste disposal is to confront the very limits of our society. Where does it all go? Most of us are content to shrug off the details—as long as it's out of sight (and smell). Not so journalist Royte, whose book in some ways (including its title) echoes Fast Food Nation. That McDonald's is more immediately engaging a subject doesn't make, say, the massive, defunct Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island, N.Y., any less compelling. Royte nicely balances autobiographical elements (where does her Fig Newmans carton end up, anyway?), interviews and fieldwork with more technical research. Her method yields palpable benefits, not least a wealth of vivid refuse-related slang (maggots are known as disco rice). The details unavoidably venture into the nauseating on occasion, and some might find the chemistry of trichloroethane and other toxins a bit dull. As the NIMBY logic of waste disposal forces its practitioners into secrecy, Royte is obliged to engage in some entertainingly furtive skullduggery. All in all, this is a comprehensive, readable foray into a world we'd prefer not to heed—but should.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Royte is a journalist with a nose for the "sordid afterlife" of trash, thoroughly at home in the putrid world of "Coney Island whitefish" (used condoms); "disco rice" (maggots); and—the darling of American consumer culture and the nemesis of waste activists—"Satan's resin" (plastic). Her book takes the form of a quest for the surprising final resting places of her yogurt cups, beer bottles, personal computer, and organic-fig-cookie packaging, and leads to an impassioned attack on overconsumption in America. If Royte does not quite demonstrate the muckraking skills of an Eric Schlosser in "Fast Food Nation," she does expose the feculent underside of our appetite for things and challenges her readers to disprove the resigned assessment of a former New York sanitation commissioner: "In the end, the garbage will win."
Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Fascinating book! I learned a lot reading this and I thought I knew a lot about recycling, composting, etc.Published 18 days ago by D Hall
The last 100 pages is much better than the first 100 pages. Overall good very informative read. Slightly repetitive. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Danielle
I believe that every Fourth grader should visit a WasteWater treatment plant, a recycling MRF, a landfill, and a factory farm. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Jacquelyn A. Ottman
After reading this it makes me more aware of the trash on the street! This book made me even more aware. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Tanya
A good attempt by the author to actually trace the flow of her own garbage and other waste through the system of collection, processing, and final disposal. Read morePublished 9 months ago by David Ecale
I like to think I know quite a bit about what happens to the trash and recyclables I throw out but there was a lot in here I never knew and some I am truly appalled to know. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Lois Field
It was an interesting read but not quite as fact filled as I would have hoped and could have been halved in size with a little less rambling but at the same time the rambling made... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Dave Littlefield