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The Green Life: Book Roundup Wednesday: Tomes on Trash and Treasure

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April 29, 2009

Book Roundup Wednesday: Tomes on Trash and Treasure

Books about environmentalism Every Wednesday, we review a selection of new and upcoming books addressing a specific aspect of environmentalism. Today we're recommending books about keeping cast-offs out of the landfill through creative reuse.

Going Green: True Tales from Gleaners, Scavengers, and Dumpster Divers (edited by Laura Pritchett, $20, University of Oklahoma Press, May 2009): This lively anthology features essays by and about garbage artists, road-kill gourmets, and master scavengers. These authors prove that treasure is abundant, and yes, you can get an entire executive home office set, an air hockey table, a digital camera, and a set of matching midcentury-modern armchairs for free if you know where to look. 

The Scavengers' Manifesto (by Anneli Rufus and Kristan Lawson, $15, Tarcher/Penguin, 2009): "This might be the last book you ever buy," say Anneli Rufus and Kristan Lawson in the opening to their ode to "the find." If you're already a thrift shopper, a clothing swapper, or a dumpster diver, you'll find reassurance in this upbeat manifesto. If you've never scavenged before, prepare to be converted. Listen to an interview with the authors on Sierra Club Radio.

Revolution in a Bottle: How TerraCycle Is Redefining Green Business (by Tom Szaky, $15, Portfolio, 2009): Tom Szaky is a master reuser--he built a successful company, TerraCycle, using food waste and worm poop. More than musings on the value of rubbish, this book offers an inspirational tale and sound advice for aspiring eco-entrepreneurs.

Flotsametrics and the Floating World: How One Man's Obsession with Runaway Sneakers and Rubber Ducks Revolutionized Ocean Science (by Curtis Ebbesmeyer and Eric Scigliano, $27, Smithsonian Books/HarperCollins, 2009): That oceanographer and avid beachcomber Curtis Ebbesmeyer began his career working for Big Oil only serves to give weight to his book's ultimate message: a call to save our oceans from death by plastic. Ebbesmeyer's fascination with the "junk beaches" and "garbage patches" of the watery world is contagious.

--Della Watson

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