The Garbology Response

The response to Garbology has been overwhelming. Communities and campuses are using the book for discussion, debate and all manner of digging into our dirty love affair with trash. Best of all, people are going beyond the printed (or digital) page to hunt down senseless waste in their own daily lives, to create fantastic trashy events and web resources, and to come up with their own unique solutions to our 102-ton legacy.

BTW, 102 tons is the average amount of trash each American is on track to make in his or her lifetime. That means if you piled all your trash on the front lawn, you'd find that each person in the average American household generates 1.3 tons of trash a year. That's twice what the average person threw out in 1960, which makes today's Americans the most wasteful people on the planet, with grave consequences for nature and the economy.

It is not a pretty picture, but my goal in writing Garbology was not merely to throw light on the often invisible waste embedded in our consumer society, but also to show the individuals, cities and businesses that are finding a way back from our disposable economy, and who are discovering that waste is the one big social and environmental problem that everyone can do something about. That's exactly what the communities embracing Garbology are doing in a big way right now.

Here's a sampling: Palos Verdes and the One Book, One Peninsula program in Los Angles County are sponsoring a series of events, contests, displays, fairs and discussions about trash, recycling and the reuse economy. A trash art piece, Gar-Bal, has been making the rounds to get the discussions rolling, most recently at the the Rolling Hills Estates branch of the Malaga Bank. The Book Frog Book Store is also joining in.

Marymount University, meanwhile, is making Garbology its campus read, is staging an event around the theme of Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and has come up with its own readers guide and discussion points. Cal State Northridge has also made Garbology is freshman read and making waste its convocation theme in September and its Sustainability Day in October.

I'll be at Cal State Northridge on September 12. On September 27, I'll be joining the Garbology discussion at Palos Verdes High School, Peninsula High School and Marymount University, followed by a discussion at the Palos Verdes Public Library on September 28.