THE WASTE WATCHERS: A Citizen's Handbook for Conserving Energy and Resources by Arthur H. Purcell

THE WASTE WATCHERS: A Citizen's Handbook for Conserving Energy and Resources

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Followers of the conservation movement will learn nothing new here, and neophytes will not plow through the excess verbiage. Arthur Purcell, delegate to the UN Conference on Non-Waste Technology, spends much time defining waste and explaining its evils. Waste means ""excess,"" ""material out of place,"" or in thermodynamic terms, ""the inevitable by-product of efforts to use our resources."" It costs money, fuels inflation, degrades health and environment, and erodes our international bargaining power (greater dependence on foreign oil to make replacements for wasted goods weakens the dollar). Purcell examines ""low technology"" approaches (recycling paper, metals, and glass, and simply buying less), and ""high technology"" efforts to turn garbage into energy, although this field is so fluid that several examples are already outdated. His Citizen's Action Guide advises composting food wastes, buying reusable containers, and overseeing local legislative efforts; his Entrepreneur's Guide to starting recycling centers discusses markets and transportation; and his endless tables (83 percent of the weight of instant tea is its package) are superfluous. Even those projects cited as innovative sound familiar (a California company recycling paper into newsprint, a Connecticut plant recycling glass), with one exception: a governmentally-supervised recycling effort in British Columbia. An important subject, clearly over-packaged.

Pub Date: April 25th, 1980
Publisher: Anchor/Doubleday