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Rubbish: What Garbage Tells Us About Ourselves

Program #RATW001. Recorded in Berkeley, CA on December 09, 1992.

Whether it comes in the form of papers, bottles, cans, phone books or diapers, our collective trash constitutes a serious environmental problem. Landfills get bigger and bigger. Trains crisscross the land and barges roam the seas in search of dumping sites. There is much to be learned about our culture and patterns of consumption from what we throw away. Recycling is crucial in processing and reducing waste, but a lot of what we dispose of is not recyclable. Sometimes those newspapers you put on your curb become just another layer at a landfill.


William Rathje

William Rathje, called "the Indiana Jones of solid waste," has plunged deep into the world of garbage and has surfaced with revealing information and insights. He teaches anthropology at the University of Arizona at Tucson. His articles appear in The Atlantic, National Geographic, and other journals and magazines. He is co-author of Rubbish!

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