Tickets here to tour the $500B scrap industry

Apr 11, 2014 | 02:19 PM | Jack DeMao

Tags  Junkyard Planet, Adam Minter, recycling, scrap, Jack DeMao, Electric Guard Dog, global recycling industry

NEW YORK — If you ever have trouble making a family member or friend understand the complexities of the global recycling industry, you might want to consider handing them a copy of Junkyard Planet.

From the very first page, author Adam Minter engages his audience with the sheer scale of the topic, explaining how Shijiao, China, once a remote agricultural valley, transformed itself into the world’s largest recycler of Christmas tree lights—just Christmas tree lights. The volume is staggering: 20 million pounds of white and multicolored lights annually.

As the mind boggles, Minter starts throwing out bigger numbers and facts: that scrap is a $500-billion-per-year industry and now "the largest employer on the planet outside of agriculture."

Recycling is "cleaning up what you don’t want and transforming it into something you can’t wait to buy," quips Minter as he simultaneously prepares the reader for what is in store when he cautions that recycling is "the third-best option in the well-known mantra: reduce, reuse and recycle" and goes on to show why it is "the worst best solution."....

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