The study of garbage

Don Hazen interviews Heather Roger on her book On Gone Tomorrow: The Hidden Life of Garbage

I wrote the book because I wanted to know what happened to my garbage. I knew that it disappeared — and I knew that it didn’t. I also was interested in this system that, if it failed to work, whole cities could be brought to a grinding halt. I wanted to know more about what garbage collecting looked like and how it really worked — something so integral to the way a city functions.

Is [recycling and reusing] happening better in other parts of the world, in Europe or … ?

Yes. For example, one really simple thing that we could do is switch back to refillable bottles for beverages. It would accomplish a number of things. They use this system in Germany, and 72 percent of all their beverage containers have to be refillable. That’s the law. The beverage makers in that country continuously try to break that law, and the government has enforced it. They penalize the beverage producers and enforce the law, and it works. It’s profitable and people like it.

[German people force consciencious trash handling]

Posted as a comment on this article by: usmail4matt@….net on Nov 1, 2005, the following:

The main reason for such a progress in trash recycling is not the only law but the conciousness of the people.

Simply think of how many plastic bags you get when buying something from the supermarket. In Germany all Markets I know do not even give you a single bag without demanding extra money. You simply have to reuse your bags or to pay for their recycling implicitly.

I’ve seen that even McDonalds tries to be most efficient not producing too much trash. Everything is already-recycled paper carrying the green point, you don’t get napkins by default but have to take them yourself reading the hint “only take as much napkins as you really need”, etc.

This behaviour is necessary to please the german consumers. Jump to article.

Buy this book.

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