The Hidden Life of Garbage

Heather Rogers 2002 19:13

Eat a takeaway meal, buy a pair of shoes, or read a newspaper and you’re soon faced with a bewildering amount of rubbish. Over the past 30 years worldwide garbage output has exploded, doubling in the United States alone. So how did there come to be this much waste, and where does it all go?

By excavating the history of rubbish handling from the 1800s — an era of garbage-grazing urban hogs and dump-dwelling rag pickers — to the present, with mass consumer culture, modern industrial production and the disposable American lifestyle, The Hidden Life Of Garbage documents the politics of recycling, greenwashing and the export of trash to the third world as part exposé, part social commentary…