The Public Interest

Waste disposal: a miracle of immaculate consumption?

Roger Starr

Fall 1991

AS THE AGE of perfection approaches, the kindest and gentlest among us are irked not only by man’s wasteful habits of consumption, but by the traces of extravagance such practices leave behind. Litter along the margins of our highways, broken and abandoned buildings ill tile cities, derelict vessels beached on the mudflats of our harbors, spilled oil on beaches and wetlands these are a few footprints of mankind’s passage, the relics of what is described as reckless consumption.  Of even deeper significance is tile vast tonnage of solid waste produced by Americans in their homes and commercial establishments— about 180 million tons a year—and mostly deposited in holes in the ground and in the air after incineration. 

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