BookBrowse Reviews Garbage Land by Elizabeth Royte

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Garbage Land

On the Secret Trail of Trash

by Elizabeth Royte

Garbage Land by Elizabeth Royte X
Garbage Land by Elizabeth Royte
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jul 2005, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2006, 336 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


The biggest problem is mindset: we're accustomed to the ease of the toss. Current Affairs

From the book jacket: Into our trash cans go dead batteries, dirty diapers, bygone burritos, broken toys, tattered socks, eight-track cassettes, scratched CDs, banana peels … But where do these things go next? In a country that consumes and then casts off more and more, what actually happens to the things we throw away?

Comment: New York's approximate 320 square miles contains 59 sanitation districts, employing 7,600 workers, working 6 days a week; one district is South Brooklyn which is divided into eleven garages.  The particular garage that Royte visits in the opening chapter of Garbage Land is broken up into five sections, each in turn served by three trucks.  In one morning, one truck collects about 20,000 lbs of garbage in less than 4 hours.  Multiply this one truck by the number of routes, then by the number of garages, then by the number of districts in New York, then extrapolate this number out to encompass the rest of the USA (let alone the rest of the developed world) - and that's an awful lot of garbage. 

Despite this, according to Royte, only 2% of waste is municipal waste (i.e. the sort the garbage trucks collect from homes, schools and businesses).  The remainder, about 12 billion tons a year, is from industry, mining, agricultural etc.

In a style reminiscent of Fast Food Nation, Royte investigates what happens to our garbage, balancing conversational reporting with technical details, covering both the economic and ecological perspectives of garbage.

'Starred Review. What her staggering expose tells us is that as the quantity, variety, and toxicity of our garbage increases, we must, like nature, evolve ways to reclaim and reuse everything we make.' - Booklist.

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

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Overstory
    The Overstory
    by Richard Powers
    Many glowing adjectives can be used to describe a novel by Richard Powers: brilliant, moving, ...
  • Book Jacket: American Histories
    American Histories
    by John E. Wideman
    In American Histories, a collection of 21 short stories, John Edgar Wideman draws America's present ...
  • Book Jacket: I Found My Tribe
    I Found My Tribe
    by Ruth Fitzmaurice
    Ruth O'Neill was only 28 when she married film director Simon Fitzmaurice in 2004. Changing her...
  • Book Jacket: The Art of the Wasted Day
    The Art of the Wasted Day
    by Patricia Hampl
    Patricia Hampl wants you to know that daydreaming is not a waste of a day. Nor is spending time ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Music of the Ghosts by Vaddey Ratner

A love story for things lost and restored, a lyrical hymn to the power of forgiveness.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Girl Who Smiled Beads
    by Clemantine Wamariya & Elizabeth Weil

    A riveting story of survival, and the power of stories to save us.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Leavers

The Leavers by Lisa Ko

One of the most anticipated books of 2017--now in paperback!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T E H N Clothes

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.