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Rubbish is arguably Britain's most pressing environmental concern. Challenging and controversial, this is a rigorous examination of the problems of waste in the UK and the efficacy of the public and private initiatives designed to forestall a crisis fast ballooning into catastrophe

We can no longer cope with our waste. Every hour in the UK we throw away enough rubbish to fill the Albert hall - a statistic quoted so often that perhaps we've stopped imagining what it means. And every year the flow accelerates.
This is the story of our rubbish - from the first human bowel movement to the littering of outer space. With a hankerchief to his nose, Girling picks through our fridge mountain, our crumbling sewers, trading waste, packaging waste, hazardous industrial waste... it is a mucky saga of carelessness, greed and opportunism, wasted opportunity and official bungling. But Rubbish! is also a plea for us to consider other kinds of waste: the trashing of our landscape, the unstoppable floods of junk that clog our mailboxes, litter the skies and foul the airwaves...
Rubbish! may not be a conventional battle cry but this is unmistakably a call to arms - not just for the three 'R's - reduce, re-use, recycle - but for us to fight for new ideas, brave initiative rather than reliance on old systems that are crumbling before our eyes.


I believe this is one of the most important books of the year...highly fascinating, totally absorbing, compulsively readable.

Sarah Broadhurst, The Bookseller

A timely intervention for a human race hooked on throwing things away...Girling's sardonic humour makes unpalatable facts compelling prose.

Countryside Voice

Be scared. Be very scared. But be sure to read this book.

Ben Elton

This deeply researched, heartfelt book will make you by turns depressed, angry and inspired to act.

The Sunday Times

With a subject that ranges from the noxious to the infernal, it is a wonder that Girling's book manages to be compulsively readable and often hilarious, as well as important.

John Carey, Sunday Times

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Formats & editions

  • EBook


    June 30, 2011

    Transworld Digital

    432 pages

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