Encyclopedia of Consumption and Waste: The Social Science of Garbage by Carl A. Zimring…

Encyclopedia of Consumption and Waste: The Social Science of Garbage
by Carl A. Zimring

Editorial Reviews:

This reference work is (a) trash, (b) garbage, (c) junk, (d) detritus. Of course, the answer is (e) all of the above! This is the first encyclopedia to focus exclusively on garbology—what society throws away. It covers the usual environmental topics but with a definite archaeological, historical, and social orientation. Rather than discuss recycling and the science of waste, the work discusses their sociological implications from ancient times through the present day. Major topic areas include “Archaeology of Garbage,” “Industrial and Commercial Waste,” “Consumption and Personal Waste,” “Municipal Waste,” “Waste Collection and Disposal,” and “Sociology of Waste.” Although there is a definite focus on the U.S., including an entry for every state, the editors have given the work an international flavor by including entries on major cities, nations, and regions of the globe. All articles were contributed by scholars but are written for the general adult reader. Each entry includes a bibliography of additional readings from books, journal articles, and websites. Black-and-white illustrations accompany some articles but do not do much to enhance the text. The encyclopedia contains a glossary of terms; a short chronology of major developments in waste disposal and management; and a resource guide–bibliography. One of the most interesting features of this work is the Garbology 101 section, an almost 100-page narrative appendix written by contributing editor Rathje. In a sometimes humorous, sometimes sobering, but always idiosyncratic and engaging tone, it presents a comprehensive review of the issues surrounding consumption in today’s society. This appendix alone is almost worth the price of the encyclopedia. Unfortunately, the appendix does not appear to have been indexed, which means that many readers will miss out on the content provided by this gem. If your library supports users interested in the environment, you will not want to throw out this new work. —David Tyckoson

Encyclopedia of Consumption and Waste.pdf

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