Junkyard Planet (eBook)

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How can garbage turn into gold? What does recycling have to do with globalization? Where does all that stuff we throw away go, anyway?

When you drop your Diet Coke can or yesterdayâ s newspaper in the recycling bin, where does it go? Probably halfway around the world, to people and places that clean up what you donâ t want and turn it into something you canâ t wait to buy. In Junkyard Planet, Adam Minterâ veteran journalist and son of an American junkyard ownerâ travels deeply into a vast, often hidden, 500-billion-dollar industry thatâ s transforming our economy and environment.

Minter takes us from back-alley Chinese computer recycling operations to recycling factories capable of processing a jumbo jetâ s worth of trash every day. Along the way, we meet an international cast of characters who have figured out how to squeeze Silicon Valley-scale fortunes from what we all throw away. Junkyard Planet reveals how â going greenâ ? usually means making moneyâ and why thatâ s often the most sustainable choice, even when the recycling methods arenâ t pretty.

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 William Langewiesche, Minter traces the export of Americaâ s garbage 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 brings home the ascent of a developing world that recognizes value where Americans donâ t. Junkyard Planet reveals that Americans might need to learn a smarter way to take out the trash.

About the Author

Adam Minter grew up in a family of scrap dealers in Minneapolis. He became a professional journalist and now serves as the Shanghai correspondent for Bloomberg World View, in addition to making regular contributions to the Atlantic, Foreign Policy, and other publications. He now lives in Shanghai and blogs at shanghaiscrap.com. Junkyard Planet is his first book.

Praise for Junkyard Planet…

"Eye-opening… [Minter is] an excellent guide to this sprawling and bewildering trade." – Wall Street Journal

"Superbly researched." – Financial Times

“A satisfying investigation-cum-travelogue.” –Mother Jones

“Fascinating “ –Atlantic Cities

“Minter successfully resists oversimplifying the issue China currently faces—with a growing middle class demanding more raw materials for new construction, the options are living with the pollution caused by recycling or the environmental consequences of mining for raw materials…Minter concludes that the solution is in the first word in the phrase, ‘Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.’” –Publishers Weekly

“Minter is here to tell you that there’s big money to be made in what American consumers and industries throw away. As he travels the world from Houston to Guangzhou, surveying the debris and discards that fill scrap yards and warehouses, Minter takes the reader into a world of commodities trading that is every bit as lucrative and cutthroat as anything on Wall Street. The son of a scrap man, Minter brings an insider’s knowledge and appreciation for an industry that no one thinks about, everyone contributes to, and a lucky few profit from.” Booklist

Product Details ISBN-13: 9781608197927
Published: Bloomsbury Press, 11/12/2013
Language: en