Summer Reading List: Garbology : Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash

The UC Berkeley Summer Reading List is an annual compilation of recommended (though not required) readings suggested by Cal faculty, staff, and students as a welcome to incoming freshmen and transfer students. This week we take a closer look at

Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash by Edward Humes, New York: Avery, 2013

“Did you know that the average American will produce 102 tons of garbage in a lifetime? In addition to such information Garbology, by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Edward Humes, contains stories of people such as Mike Speiser, aka Big Mike, who, with his 60-ton BOMAG Compactor, sculpts the 1,365-acre Puente Hills landfill into the largest active waste disposal site in the country. Humes helps us picture its size this way: “if Puente Hills were an elephant burial ground, its tonnage would represent about 15 million deceased pachyderms.” Written in a lively style, Humes conveys the complex history of garbage disposal as it developed into the highly profitable business it has become. More than a book, Garbology is a project. On Garbology’s Facebook page you can find updates on how various communities manage and reduce their garbage as well as ideas about how to reduce the amount of garbage you produce.”

JANE HAMMONS, Lecturer, College Writing Programs

This post was contributed by

Michael Larkin Lecturer, College Writing Programs

Tim Dilworth First Year Coordinator, Library

Jonathan Garrett Site designer, Doe & Moffitt Libraries