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Trash Revolution: Breaking the Waste Cycle

Trash Revolution: Breaking the Waste Cycle

Erica Fyvie, Illustrated by Bill Slavin
Kids Can Press
64 pp.
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Trash Revolution explains how common materials are produced and recycled and suggests solutions to various real-world problems related to resource consumption, waste management, and climate change. In addition to widely known recommendations such as “reduce, reuse, recycle,” the authors present many solutions made possible by cutting-edge research, such as making biodegradable plastics from stale food and using bacteria to grow compostable fabrics.

The technical information is interspersed with humor and kid-friendly touches—“#gratitude,” for example, is associated with the invention of toilet paper. In addition to general information, the authors provide handy reference charts comparing the benefits and drawbacks of different materials, as well as specific recommendations for handling them. However, some of these suggestions seemed unattainable to us. For example, the authors recommend making your home “a junk-mail-free zone,” but offer no suggestions for how that could be achieved.

We noted a few minor problems, such as a mistaken characterization of deuterium as an extra molecule inside water molecules, a gratuitous negative comment about genetically modified organisms, and a surprisingly positive discussion of waste incinerators that neglected to mention any concerns about their fumes and effects on human health. Overall, however, it is very informative, with thoughtful explanations of what we can all do to make environmentally friendly choices.

About the author

The reviewer is a senior editor at Science Translational Medicine.