What a Waste: Where Does Garbage Go? by Claire EamerWhat a Waste: Where Does Garbage Go? by Claire Eamer

What a Waste: Where Does Garbage Go?

byClaire EamerIllustratorBambi Edlund

Paperback | March 14, 2017

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Hold your nose while you read about the disgustingly fascinating world of garbage!What a Waste! answers the question: when we throw something away, where is “away”? Ever since cave people cracked open seafood shells for dinner, humans have produced garbage, and we’ve had to figure out what to do with it. What a Waste! explores the history of garbage from earliest times to today, covering subjects including dumps, human waste, water pollution, “problem” garbage, and modern “throwaway” culture. From islands made out of 5,000-year-old garbage in the Florida Everglades and sophisticated waste-disposal systems in ancient Pakistan to “fatbergs” the size of a city bus in sewers today, What a Waste! delves into the fascinating, weird, and often disgusting world of garbage, and shows why it’s a growing problem. Creative solutions are showcased, like Repair Cafés to fix broken items, grocery stores that specialize in “imperfect” fruits and vegetables, and filtration systems in Kenya made from discarded water bottles. With an inviting presentation including hand-lettering and humorous illustrations, this book will both educate and entertain young readers.
Claire Eamer has written many award-winning nonfiction books for children, including Before the World Was Ready: Stories of Daring Genius in Science; The World in Your Lunch Box: The Wacky History and Weird Science of Everyday Foods; and Super Crocs & Monster Wings: Modern Animals’ Ancient Pasts. She lives on Gabriola Island in British...
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Title:What a Waste: Where Does Garbage Go?Format:PaperbackDimensions:92 pages, 9.02 × 6.5 × 0.26 inPublished:March 14, 2017Publisher:Annick PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1554519187

ISBN - 13:9781554519187

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Read from the Book

IntroductionWhat is garbage? Simple question, right? Garbage is just stuff you don’t want and don’t need. It’s no good any more, so you throw it away.You might toss it in the garbage can or the recycling box or the compost bin or the dumpster in the alley. You might flush it down the drain or drop it on the ground. But those are just the first steps in throwing something away.So, here’s another simple question. Where, exactly, is “away”? Where does your garbage go after you toss it?Actually, those two questions aren’t simple at all. In fact, tracking down the answers will take us on a journey through time and around the world—from a South African cave still littered with the broken shells of a seafood feast that happened 162,000 years ago to the very edge of space, where dead satellites and other bits of garbage are orbiting Earth. We’ll discover a mountain made from discarded olive-oil containers, an ocean of plastic, and tons of poop at the top of the world.[header] There’s News in the GarbageBelieve it or not, garbage is fascinating stuff. Archaeologists love garbage. Pyramids, cathedrals, and ancient temples tell us how people of the past wanted to be remembered. But their garbage tells us how they really lived. To an expert, a pile of garbage is a newspaper waiting to be read.Just look at what gets tossed away in your kitchen. That garbage says a lot about how and where your family shops, what you eat, and how you prepare food. You’ll probably find plenty of empty packages—cans and jars, boxes, cellophane wrappers, plastic tubs from yogurt and ice cream, Styrofoam meat trays, and plastic bags. That’s because most of us—in most parts of the world—shop at stores where food is packaged and ready to be stuffed into a grocery bag.If your family lived a century ago, your kitchen garbage would have been quite different. The only packaging materials would have been cans, jars, bottles, and paper. No Styrofoam, cellophane, or plastic—those materials hadn’t been invented yet or hadn’t made it out of the science lab.And a century before that, in the early 1800s? Kitchen garbage was mainly bones and vegetable trimmings, with the occasional bit of broken glass or pottery. Cans wouldn’t make it into stores—or into the trash—for another 80 years.Those piles of kitchen garbage reveal how the people of the time lived, what they ate, how they prepared their food, and what kinds of materials were available to them. And each pile probably ended up in a different “away.” That information, too, is part of the story garbage tells.[header] Garbage Is in the NewsGarbage doesn’t just tell a story. Today, it is a story. The news is full of reports about garbage: contaminated water spilling into streams, shiploads of old electronics abandoned in distant ports, discarded fishing nets entangling whales, cities running out of space to dump their waste.Why spend so much time talking about trash? Well, the truth is that we produce a lot of it. In 2015, the United Nations Environment Programme estimated the total amount of solid waste produced around the world in a single year at 7 to 10 billion metric tons. That includes everything from trashed cars to stale bagels—all of it thrown away. It’s a huge number, almost too big to imagine.Try thinking of it in terms of polar bears. The biggest polar bear ever recorded—a shambling giant shot in Alaska in 1960—weighed about 1,000 kilograms (2,205 pounds), or 1 metric ton. So that annual pile of garbage is the equivalent of 11.2 billion giant polar bears. Lined up nose to tail, that many polar bears would reach to the moon and back more than 40 times.No wonder garbage is in the news![header] Bad News, Good NewsPeople have always produced garbage. It’s just part of living. You can’t eat a clam supper—as those African diners did 162,000 years ago—without leaving a pile of clamshells. It would be like eating a plateful of chicken wings and leaving no bones. Today, however, humans are producing different kinds of garbage, and more of it than we have space for. We’re running out of “away.”How did we get into this mess? Why is there so much garbage? Are some kinds worse than others? What is all of this trash doing to us and to the world? We’ll explore all of those questions, and others too. An especially important one is whether there’s still time to make a change.The answer to that last question, fortunately, is a definite yes! In the pages that follow, we’ll meet smart people with smart ideas—grownups and kids—and the governments and corporations that are supporting their efforts or coming up with their own. We’ll encounter a Canadian man who started the blue box recycling movement and a Dutch teenager whose invention could help remove plastic from the world’s oceans. We’ll see how some companies are working together to cut down on the waste they produce, and how some governments are turning waste into energy—and money.It’s all part of the story of garbage—a story that’s even older than we are …

Table of Contents

IntroductionChapter 1: The Beginning of GarbageChapter 2: Garbage ExplosionChapter 3: Down in the DumpsChapter 4: A Recipe for WasteChapter 5: Down the DrainChapter 6: The Business End of GarbageChapter 7: Problem GarbageConclusionFurther ReadingSelected BibliographyImage CreditsIndex

Editorial Reviews

“This thorough overview of waste provides a great introduction to the topic and offers other resources and a great bibliography for follow up reading. Bambi Edmund’s humorous and engaging drawings will draw in the grades 4-6 readers, as will the sidebars of ‘smart ideas’, ‘cool facts’ and ‘trash talk’ and the constant flow of topics.” —Green Teacher, Summer/18

- Green Teacher