Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Garbage Land

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Garbage Land

On the Secret Trail of Trash

by Elizabeth Royte

Garbage Land by Elizabeth Royte
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  • First Published:
    Jul 2005, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2006, 336 pages

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Here are a few suggestions, edited from Royte's site, on how each of us can make a difference:

  • Support recycling industries by buying goods made or packaged in recycled content.
  • Don't buy individually wrapped single servings; buy in bulk whenever possible.
  • When possible, compost food and yard waste.*
  • Visit Ecocycle for practical advice on stopping junk mail.
  • Visit Earth911 for lots of information on recycling, including where to dispose of cellphones, batteries etc.
  • Visit NewDream.com for inspiration and advice on all things recycling.
  • Donate used computers to nonprofits such as Cristina.org.
  • Find a responsible e-waste recycler at ban.org.
  • Launch an environmental purchasing program in your workplace, e.g. cleaning products, stationery, renewable energy etc.
  • In some parts of Europe manufacturers are required to recycle many items such as computers and cars - encourage local and federal governments to do the same in the USA, to give manufacturers an incentive to design goods that last longer, are easily recycled, contain fewer hazardous materials and are wrapped in reusable materials.

*If you have even a modest sized yard, a compost heap (or two - one to fill, while the other is breaking down) is easy to maintain.   For smaller yards, vermicomposting (composting with worms) is a painless way to dispose of left over foods, peelings etc, and especially fun if you have children.   My husband built us a worm bin a few years ago that resides on our patio (I drew the line at the coffee table version that he was keen on - apparently, done properly, vermicomposting doesn't smell and doesn't attract bugs - but there are limits, and a wormbin in the living room was mine!).

This article was originally published in August 2005, and has been updated for the August 2006 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

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