Ten Pieces of Literature on Trash (Nonfiction)

Below is my list of some good titles to pick up if you want to come to a better understanding of how waste is treated as a part of our identity. These titles aren’t ranked in any particular order, though if you start with anything, start with Ryan and Durning’s Stuff: The Secret Lives of Everyday Things and follow up with Royte’s Garbage Land.

  1. Garbage Land: On the Secret Trail of Trash by Elizabeth Royte (2005)
    ISBN13: 9780316154611; ISBN10: 031615461x
  2. Waste and Want: A Social History of Trash by Susan Strasser (2000)
    ISBN13: 9780805065121; ISBN10: 0805065121
  3. Stuff: The Secret Lives of Everyday Things by John C. Ryan and Alan Thein Durning (1997)
    ISBN10: 1886093040
  4. Rubbish!: The Archaeology of Garbage by William L. Rathje (2001)
    ISBN13: 9780816521432; ISBN10: 0816521433
  5. The Toilet Papers: Recycling Waste and Conserving Water by Sim Van Der Ryn (2000)
    ISBN13: 9781890132583; ISBN10: 1890132586
  6. This Place on Earth: Home & the Practice of Permanence by Alan Thein Durning (1997)
    ISBN13: 9781570611278; ISBN10: 1570611270
  7. The Ecology of Commerce by Paul Hawken (1993)
    ISBN13: 9780887307041; ISBN10: 0887307043
  8. Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution by Paul Hawken and Amory Lovins and L. Hunter Lovins (2000)
    ISBN13: 9780316353007; ISBN10: 0316353000
  9. Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by William McDonough and Michael Braungart (2002)
    ISBN13: 9780865475878; ISBN10: 0865475873
  10. eco-structure Magazine by Spiderweb Publishing, published eight times yearly

I realize the slight irony here of recommending print materials that will, depending on what condition the book is in when you read it and the type of paper it’s printed on, will further the nation’s environmental crisis. This is why I link to Powell’s Books in Portland, OR almost exclusively – this is a great used bookstore that has almost every title you’d ever want. If you want to do even better, borrow these titles from your local library!