Junkyard Planet is an enjoyable and fascinating read about the multi-billion dollar global trash trade. More like a novel than a dry tome, it is full of subtle insights.
Neither incineration nor landfill is a sustainable solution to our apparent addiction to waste, but neither is recycling always the green alternative it appears to be.
Reusing is better than recycling, and not using in the first place is best of all. While Junkyard Planet might be read as a celebration of the market, it is also critical of unbridled capitalism. For every entrepreneurial recycler, there is a product that should not be thrown away in the first place—but it is profitable for manufacturers if we do.
Author and journalist Adam Minter, who was born into a family of scrap dealers, argues passionately that manufacturers need to make technological products that last longer and can be refitted rather than thrown away, if we are to significantly reduce our collective damage to the environment.
Read the full review in F&D magazine
Interview with Adam Minter on U.S. National Public Radio
Find on Goodreads
Review on Mother Jones
Q&A in the New York Times blog: Part 1; Part 2