Garbology

Garbology follows different stories of ways that cities, countries, towns, and people are dealing with their trash. Katherine and I divided up the book, first half and second half for our presentation, so here is my stuff on the second half.

In chapter seven; Humes goes into a story about trash trackers. These are people who will tag their trash electronically to see how far the trash travels before reaching its final stop. What these trash trackers have found is that trash makes a rather large carbon footprint. Most often what happens, for regular trash, is that these items we throw away will travel by truck for x number of miles, typically 10 or more, to be placed in the dump and left to rot and decompose. What Humes goes on to discuss in the next chapter is the fact that in these huge dumps and mountains of trash, the trash that ends up in the middle of these piles is entombed and creates perfectly preserved treasures. Electronic trash, as Humes discusses, often travels greater distances, its final destination being, most often, China. The trash trackers often lose track of their trash when it gets out of range for the devices. That being said this means that trash could travel the world a number of times before finally reaching where it needs to end up. This alone causes the emission of green house gases to go through the roof, as plane travel is creates the most harm to our environments. But, as the chapter points out, our trash travels far, and probably farther than most of the people who threw it all away.

1) what do you guys think might be some ways to stop our trash from traveling further than we do?

2) how can we use the trash that we create? Can we reduce our trash?

In chapter eight; the story that Humes goes into is one about dumps. Dumps, to people like archaeologists, are essentially treasure troves. As mentioned above, dumps don’t decompose as fast as we expect them to. They last. One example from the reading talked about how the team of archaeologists was pulling out newspapers from the 1950s that could still be clearly read as if it had been printed that day. The dumps we are creating, the things we throw away, will be tell future generations about us. What we bought, ate, wore, read, all of those things will be decomposing still in dumps in 50 plus years.

1) what are some of the things you guys feel like you throw away the most?

2) does what you throw away end up in the dump do you suppose?

3) how could archaeologist use  what we throw away to create our world now? What would they find?

In chapter nine; the story that Humes tells is about an art program in San Francisco that has artist come and work at the dump to use whatever it is they find in artwork for the city to enjoy. This program has hundreds of artist trying to gain entrance, and the artwork that this created. This is one of the ways that people have begun to deal with their trash. Every day, unfortunately, the “pit” as the dump is called is filled with 1,500 tons of trash. Even with 12 artists a year coming t the dump to help redirect some of the trash this is not going to make that much of a difference in the tons of trash that  people in San Francisco are throwing away.

1) if this was something that was impacted on dumps in big cities everywhere would it help make a difference on the amount of trash we throw away?

In Chapter ten; the story that Hume tells is of the founder of ChicoBags, Andy Keller. ChicoBags is a company that produces reusable shopping bags (and other bags in cool colors for a decent price if anyone is interested). Andy Keller got his idea for his company when he went to drop something off at the dump. When he was at the dump he noticed plastic bags flying flying all over the place. According to Humes this made Keller upset to the point were he was inspired to do something about it. So he began producing his reusable shopping bags, that now earns his company a profit of $5millon a year. Unfortunately only 5% of Americans choose to use his bags or bags like them over disposable plastic. So Keller , began to try and change  peoples minds on plastic. He made towers and costumes out of plastic bags as a way to teach students and other people about the risks that plastic plays to the environment. obviously the plastic companies didn’t like this. And filed lawsuits against the company . they failed (the lawsuits) but CHicoBags had to stop with their campaign to get rid of plastic. . This chapter also looks at the tax on plastic in Ireland. Anyone who uses plastic bags n Ireland at the grocery store are taxed  of 15 euro cents.

1) could a tax like that here work?

Chapter 11 talked about how the greenest city in the country was Portland, although they have a major trash issue. The greenest country in the world is Sweden. Their trash problem is minimal to none in comparison to ours. THE reason for this is because Sweden creates energy from its trash. How? By burning it. Only one state in the US doesd this same technique and that is Connecticut.

Chapter 12 talks about ways to stop producing trash through the story of a woman and her family and how happy they have become. This chapter also gives pointers on what yo can do to stop producing trash.

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