Realistic Look At The Practical Side Of Trying To Eliminate Household Garbage. I intentionally read this book immediately after reading Wasteland by Oliver Franklin-Wallis (which is scheduled to release about two months after this book), and the convergences and divergences were quite interesting. Franklin-Wallis’ text is absolutely the better, more well-rounded, guide to almost the entirety of the overall waste problem around the world, and is has nearly triple the overall percentage of the text as bibliography – indicating *far* more actual research and documentation. This is actually the first star deduction – the lack of bibliography. Perhaps more excusable in a more memoir-based book such as this, but even among memoirs, getting closer to that 20% range on documentation is more typical in my own experience with reading Advance Reviewer Copies of these types of books.
But where *this* text stands out is in just how *practical* it is. Schaub is apparently effectively a performance artist whose medium is memoirs, and she has to learn quite a bit along the way and ask a *lot* of questions of people that I’m honestly not sure Joe Blow (who can’t say that he is working on a memoir) would ever have actual access to. But even outside of all the questions Schaub asks of various waste industry professionals and activists, she has to wrestle with the day to day realities of truly trying to eliminate 100% of her family’s trash – for an entire year. A year which turned out to be 2020, and thus involve the worst parts of the global collapse and home imprisonment. Which is where the star deduction comes in, as I DO NOT WANT TO READ ABOUT COVID. Yes, even in 2023.
Nevertheless, the challenges Schaub had to surmount were indeed quite formidable, and in the end she learned a hard fought, depressing for some, lesson: Ultimately, eliminating 100% of garbage cannot currently be done in modern society. *Perhaps* as a true Homesteader/ Survivalist – which Schaub is not and therefore did not test -, but for the vast majority of those living in the modern, Western-ish society, it simply cannot be done.
Read the book to see how close Schaub and her family got and all the trials and travails they had to go through to get there. Schaub writes in a fashion that comes across as both no-nonsense and humorous, and the tale reads well because of this. Her ultimate recommendations… let’s just go with “Your Mileage May Vary” on. If you’re a avowed environmentalist fan of Bernie Sanders… you’re probably going to like a lot of them, perhaps all of them. The further away from that archetype you are, the less you’re likely to agree with her recommendations.
Still, regardless of where you think you’ll land on her recommendations – and thus, how much you’ll want to throw this book on the nearest trash heap, pour gallons of gas all over it, and light it up (even if it is on your Kindle) -, read this book to see just how hard it is to eliminate household garbage in the US, and perhaps start thinking about some possible solutions for your family or possibly policy solutions for your local community, your state, and/ or your nation that more align with your own principles.
Overall, this book is very much recommended.
This review of Year Of No Garbage by Eve O. Schaub was originally written on April 8, 2023.