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Junkyard Planet

Travels in the Billion-dollar Trash Trade

Minter, Adam

(Book - 2013)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Junkyard Planet
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"When you drop your Diet Coke can or yesterday's newspaper in the recycling bin, where does it go? Probably halfway around the world, to people and places that clean up what you don't want and turn it into something you can't wait to buy. In Junkyard Planet, Adam Minter-- veteran journalist and son of an American junkyard owner-- travels deeply into a vast, often hidden, multibillion-dollar industry that's transforming our economy and environment. Minter takes us from back-alley Chinese computer recycling operations to recycling factories capable of processing a jumbo jet's worth of trash every day. Along the way, we meet an international cast of characters who have figured out how to squeeze Silicon Valley-scale fortunes from what we all throw away. Junkyard Planet reveals how "going green" usually means making money-- and why that's often the most sustainable choice, even when the recycling methods aren't pretty. With unmatched access to and insight on the waste industry, and the explanatory gifts and an eye for detail worthy of a John McPhee or William Langewiesche, Minter traces the export of America's garbage and the massive profits that China and other rising nations earn from it. What emerges is an engaging, colorful, and sometimes troubling tale of how the way we consume and discard stuff brings home the ascent of a developing world that recognizes value where Americans don't. Junkyard Planet reveals that Americans might need to learn a smarter way to take out the trash"--Dust jacket flap.
Publisher: New York, NY :, Bloomsbury Press,, 2013.
Edition: First U.S. edition.
ISBN: 9781608197910
Characteristics: 284 pages, 32 unnumbered pages of plates :,color illustrations, maps ;,25 cm

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I especially appreciated the author's focus on the economics of junk and refuse, which is the main factor as to whether stuff has a chance at a second (or third!) go-round, or if it just gets buried in a landfill. Since reading the book I've become more aware of the valuable materials all around us that seem to be just useless junk -- such as the copper wire and steel in the electric fan that won't run, the strings of Christmas lights that won't work (more copper! Plastic for flip-flops!), and the hundreds of "dead" farm implements and old pickups rusting behind barns around here (steel for new tractors!). An interesting book if, like me, you have a fascination for junkyards, or if you are concerned about our environment.

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app06 Version gurli Last updated 2014/12/09 10:52