Total Garbage: How We Can Fix Our Waste and Heal Our World

Regular price $ 28.00

by Edward Humes

Avery Publishing Group

4/4/2024, hardcover

SKU: 9780593543368


An investigative narrative that dives into the waste embedded in our daily lives--and shows how individuals and communities are making a real difference for health, prosperity, quality of life and the fight against climate change, by a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist

What happens to our trash? Why are our oceans filling with plastic? Do we really waste 40 percent of our food 65 percent of our energy? Waste is truly our biggest problem, and solving our inherent trashiness can fix our economy, our energy costs, our traffic jams, and help slow climate change--all while making us healthier, happier and more prosperous. This story-driven and in-depth exploration of the pervasive yet hard-to-see wastefulness that permeates our daily lives illuminates the ways in which we've been duped into accepting absolutely insane levels of waste as normal . Total Garbage also tells the story of individuals and communities who are finding the way back from waste, and showing us that our choices truly matter and make a difference.

Our big environmental challenges - climate, energy, plastic pollution, deforestation, toxic emissions--are often framed as problems too big for any one person to solve. Too big even for hope. But when viewed as symptoms of a single greater problem--the epic levels of trash and waste we produce daily--the way forward is clear. Waste is the one problem individuals can positively impact--and not just on the planet, but also on our wallets, our health, and national and energy security. The challenge is seeing our epic wastefulness clearly.

Total Garbage will shine a light on the absurdity of the systems that all of us use daily and take for granted--and it will help both individuals and communities make meaningful changes toward better lives and a cleaner, greener world.


"This timely, highly recommended book makes a strong case for taking practical steps to reduce nonrenewable consumption and waste." -- Library Journal, starred review

"Humes is back to make you want to read about waste again. Total Garbage is like a constellation of stories about people who shine brightly on their own, and yet together illuminate a path forward on one of the most pressing issues of our time, making waste obsolete." -- Dr. Jenna Jambeck, MacArthur genius grantee and coauthor of Plastics

"This brilliant book will first make you angry and then motivated to do more to protect this blue planet on which we all depend. It exposes the bafflingly wasteful practices that have become commonplace in modern society and goes further to provide clear ways we can act right now to solve our most pressing environmental problems. From passive houses, induction stoves, refillable bottles, electric golf carts, and new laws that would force firms away from disposable, single-use packaging, we see here a mix of individual and collective actions that can make a real difference in the real world. The gas industry and businesses hoping to preserve the status quo will probably call this book total garbage, but don't buy what they're selling. The stories told here will open your eyes to the possibilities of a future in which kids don't get asthma from indoor gas ranges and where we avoid eating a credit card's worth of microplastics every week. There is hope in these pages, which is something those of us living on this warming planet need now more than ever." -- Bart Elmore, professor of environmental history at The Ohio State University and author of Citizen Coke: The Making of Coca-Cola Capitalism and Seed Money: Monsanto's Past and Our Food Future

About the Author:

Edward Humes is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author whose sixteen previous books include The Forever Witness, Mississippi Mud, Garbology, and the PEN Award-winning No Matter How Loud I Shout. Ed and his family, including their rescued racing greyhounds, live in Southern California.