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Wasted

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Member Reviews

WASTED by Byron Reese and Scott Hoffman seeks to explore "How We Squander Time, Money, and Natural Resources-and What We Can Do About It." Written by a couple of Austin-based entrepreneurs, WASTED is a wide-ranging look at our world and its problems. As the authors note, "one of the major themes of this book deals with what is seen and what is unseen. When we think of waste, it's easy to picture all the food that's thrown away.  It's much harder to see the second – and third – order effects of trying to avoid waste in the first place." Reese and Hoffman note the characteristics of waste in a broad manner (undesirable, incurs a net negative cost, and can be avoided). They then divide the text into four parts dealing with Waste and Our Planet (covering sub areas like plastics, aluminum cans, and water); Waste in our Business (e.g., returned goods and food waste); The Science of Waste (carbon footprints; electricity and fuel use); and The Philosophy of Waste (referring to time, money and even human potential). The multi-faceted text is bursting with facts ("there are 800 million hungry people in the world, and Americans and Europeans spend enough just on cosmetics to feed them all" or "the family dog has a bigger carbon footprint than the family SUV') which will surprise and intrigue our student researchers. In addition, WASTED concludes with a rather hopeful discussion of how we, as a society, can achieve less waste and looks at the role of government, businesses, voluntary associations, institutional religion, public opinion and individual action. The index is over a dozen pages long, but I did not see any notes – of course, those would be helpful in pursuing more deeply the many points Reese and Hoffman raise.
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This is a loving well-written catalog of all the ways we waste things, from food to energy to human time. It's very informative and, although the author says it's a book of hope that we can solve most of our problems by wasting less, by the end I felt like I should apologize to the Earth and never buy anything again. Still, quite a good read. Recommended.
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