Travels in the Billion-Dollar Trash Trade
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 deep into a vast, often hidden, five-hundred-billion-dollar industry that's transforming our economy and environment.
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 a William Langewiesche, Minter traces the export of America's junk 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 fuels a 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.
Praise for Junkyard Planet
"Eye-opening . . . [Minter is] an excellent guide to this sprawling and bewildering trade."—The Wall Street Journal
"Easily one of my favorite books [of the year] . . . Gives you an insightful and nuanced look at how markets and sustainability are related . . . Minter is a gifted storyteller with a greater appreciation of exonomics than most journalists you will meet."—Adam Ozimek, Forbes
"Superbly researched."—Sarah Mishkin, Financial Times
"Minter's skillful compilation of trade statistics in and of itself would make Junkyard Planet a strong book. But what tips it into greatness is the confident, sympathetic voice in which he narrates his peripatetic odyssey through the world's junkyards."—Susan Jakes, Los Angeles Review of Books
"An illuminating tale of a lucrative industry most people are barely aware of . . . It does exactly what books like this are supposed to: show how massive economic and environmental trends impact individual lives. You won't think about the 'paper or plastic' question in quite the same way again."—Joshua Keating, Slate
"A satisfying investigation-cum-travelogue."—Mother Jones
"Lively and entertaining . . . Junkyard Planet is a book for anyone interested in the environment, the economics of recycling, or a thoughtful look at the consumption we take for granted."—Brooklyn Bugle