Despite its sweeping title, this book in no way encompasses the nation's garbage problem. Tales of home recycling are patronizingly simple and old hat (""In the kitchen we now have two garbage sacks,"" reports a Kentucky professor. ""One holds both glass and cans, which we separate at the recycling center""), and there is no attempt to place isolated examples such as this in the context of a national recycling movement. Not surprisingly, since Goldstein is editor and publisher of Compost Science/Land Utilization, there is a long and excruciatingly detailed section on building your own compost heap--chicken droppings are not the same as chicken litter. But some of the most important recycling efforts involving high-technology resource recovery--which produces energy in the process of getting rid of the garbage--are barely mentioned, although Goldstein does cover new methods of sludge disposal in more detail, perhaps because they provide another plug for composting (""now seen as the cheapest acceptable technique for many city and industrial organic wastes""). This diffuse study is further hindered by poor organization--Vermont's bottle deposit law, for instance, is described in various places--and lack of direction. Wasted paper on a pressing problem.