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Use Less Stuff Paperback – November 3, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (November 3, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449001687
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449001684
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,317,448 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The authors make the case, after serious study--including Rathje's archeological analysis of landfills over the years as the director of the Garbage Project--that recycling, while not a bad thing, has limits and will not truly solve the problems of waste production and resource depletion unless other patterns of consumption and use are changed. The key, in so many words, is to use less stuff to begin with!

A concerted effort to reduce consumption coupled with the creative reuse of materials are truly the only long-term solutions. Readers are given a wide range of simple activities that will help reduce the use of raw materials and resources, such as turning down the heat before a party (allowing the guests to generate their own heat), buying highly concentrated forms of products like juice and detergents to minimize packaging, using Web pages to post notices rather than flyers, and simply leaving unused hotel amenities for the next guest.

Although they give an extensive list of practical suggestions, perhaps the authors' main service is to encourage a way of thinking about resources that translates into significant lifestyle choices with a consciousness of resource use, thereby permitting the reader to devise his or her own simple techniques and strategies to use less, waste less, reuse materials, and conserve raw materials and energy in their own creative ways. This is a very practical book filled with tips and techniques, but it is also a very hopeful book, showing people how to work in a daily way to conserve resources and help the environment. --Mark A. Hetts

From the Inside Flap

Q: What do all of the previous civilizations that practiced recycling have in common?
A: They're extinct.

Let's face it. Recycling has its limits. But so does our Earth. As environmentalists Robert Lilienfeld and William Rathje explain, the answer to our twenty-first century garbage crisis is both simple and practical--use less stuff. This groundbreaking consumer guide suggests helpful money- and energy-saving tips for everyone who cares about how we live today and tomorrow. Learn to reduce and reuse with creative suggestions for all areas of your life, including:


At home: Turn down the heat before guests arrive for a party--the extra body heat will warm up the room
During the holidays: Save gift boxes to use the following year
At the store: Buy products that come in concentrated formats--like juice and detergent
At the office: Donate or sell old office equipment
At school: Post announcements on a school Web site
In the great outdoors: Bring magic markers to your picnic so guests can label their cups and plates

And many more!

Start a war on waste and help save the planet!

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Barb Muessig, APR on January 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
Check out this different approach to the subject of environmental awareness. The authors do a unique job of educating and influencing while providing you with good, easy-to-implement ideas, and entertaining perspectives. I've used ideas from it in my day-to-day life, shared learnings with others, and used it as a tool in my work with corporate America in the area of reaching employees with the whole life approach to environmentalism...at work and at home. This book goes far beyond recycling to looking at our earth from a sustainable development perspective -- a perspective we'll all benefit from considering.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Ho on December 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
The authors of the book argue that as good as recycling is, reducing the amount of resources we consume is even better. The second half of the book is mostly ideas on how to do so.
Unlike most of the "cheapskate" books out there, with silly ideas such as "take the bus instead of driving", "don't shower every day", "become a vegetarian", and "replace your lawn with a rock garden"; the authors suggest that reducing consumption doesn't mean reducing your standard of living or changing your life.
The novelty of this book is that seemly environmentally unfriendly advice such as "go ahead and run your car with A/C", "throw the 10lb worth of paper away instead of driving your car to the recycling depot", "buy prepared convenience food instead of fresh produce if you don't have the time", and "buy smaller packages instead of bulk if you can't use it all" is actually more ecologically friendly than their sacred cow alternatives.
Overall, this book is enjoyable because it suggests lifestyle ideas that will maintain or increase quality of life, while still being good for the planet.
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By Sue in Arkansas on November 23, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent. I couldn't put it down. Best part is that "recycling" is not nearly as green as "using less stuff".
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