Garbology Notes

I really enjoyed the introduction to this book: all of the numbers and statistics (such as, if we filled garbage trucks with all of the trash that we accumulate in the US  in a year, the line of trucks would stretch half the distance to the moon – 115,000 miles) really grabbed my attention. I don’t think most people are aware of just how much we throw away (7 pounds per day, per capita), so these numbers certainly opened my eyes to the need for something to be done about this problem.

It was also interesting to read about how ancient Greek and Roman cultures dealt with the issue of waste. It was a problem for them too, though I wonder what most of their waste consisted of – it was probably very different kinds of trash that were more biodegradablethan the plastics etc. that we use so often today.

One of the most important questions that the book grappled with was about how we have to consume so much in the United States – with 5% of the world’s population, we generate a quarter of the world’s trash. Whereas this was once a saving-oriented society, we have become consumption-oriented. If we are to make any significant changes to the amount of trash we make, this mass consumption will certainly have to be reduced. Like I have already said, though, most people are unaware of the amount of stuff that they throw away. Maybe instead of having shows like Hoarders, we should focus on normal people (who generate 7 pounds of trash per day) and try to get them (us) to realize exactly what we are doing when we throw so much away.


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