America's Biggest Export: Trash...and Who Profits (Encore presentation.)

Jun 18, 2013

On this installment of ST, we listen back to our conversation with the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Edward Humes, who joined us earlier this year to talk about his latest book, which was at that time just out in paperback: "Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash." This book presents a fascinating and highly detailed profile of America's biggest export, its most prodigious product, and perhaps its greatest legacy: garbage. Trash, after all, is the largest thing we make; the average American is on track to produce about 102 tons of garbage over his or her lifetime --- a heaping pile of you-know-what that comes out to, according to Humes, about $50 billion in squandered riches, which each of us literally throws away annually. "Garbology" basically follows the curb-to-landfill trail of that 102 tons of trash, telling readers exactly what's in it, how much we pay for it, why we manage to create so much of it, and how some families, communities, businesses, and even nations are finding new ways to convert this waste into profit and prosperity.