AirTalk for April 18, 2012

Can our garbage be used for good?

By Edward Humes

Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash

Climate change, peak oil, high energy costs, straining budgets – these are just some of the global problems tied to our collective approach to trash. Each of us can potentially produce 102 tons of garbage in our lifetime; over seven pounds a day, every day.

Here in Los Angeles, we’re home to a garbage pile taller than many of our high-rises, known as the “Disneyland of Dumps.” But is wastefulness a choice or an inevitability? In his new book, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ed Humes writes that it’s one of the few societal, economic and environmental problems over which we as individuals can exert control.

According to Humes, more energy could be generated from America’s trash than all current renewable energy sources combined. Homemakers, artists, entrepeneurs, even whole countries, such as Denmark, have found innovative ways to conquer the mountains of trash that consume our lives and planet on a daily basis.

How have they done it? How much trash do you make? What could you save by reducing your output?

Guest:

Edward Humes, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and Author of “Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash” (Avery Books); his previous books include Force of Nature, Eco Barons, and the PEN Award–winning No Matter How Loud I Shout


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