Each American makes almost three pounds of trash each day (after recycling and composting, of course). This daily total is slightly more than it was forty years ago when the population in the United States was 181 million. Today, our population is 321 million. Each individual in our country creates 2.81 pounds of trash each and every day (it is also important to note that the Environmental Protection Agency notes that this estimation is a “ridiculous underestimate”).
These facts—and more—are a part of Derf Backderf’s new graphic novel, Trashed: An Ode to the Crap Job of All Crap Jobs. Backderf has created a piece that focuses on something that many people don’t care much about: garbage. After reading this book, people certainly will care and may even contemplate how to limit their own consumption or how to effectively talk neighbors into recycling.
Backderf himself was a trash collector for two years in northern Ohio. He writes and draws about these experiences in this follow-up to the award-winning My Friend Dahmer, which chronicled Backderf’s high school days when Jeffrey Dahmer was a classmate.
Trashed, a slice-of-life tale, follows garbage collectors and their challenges of managing their route—as well as local crazies and bureaucratic managers–each day. It is clear that the garbage they collect just doesn’t come in pails. The book also introduces readers to valuable and intriguing facts about waste collection and landfills.
Ultimately, though, this is a book that will make you think. You will marvel at how disgusting some aspects of the job are and will laugh at loud at unique moments the garbage collectors find themselves in. These situations are contrasted with startling facts about…well, trash: …the higher the income bracket, the more trash someone generates or the fact that recycling is on the rise but hasn’t made a dent in the size of the waste stream.
The book also suggests ways we can tackle this problem: The only way to significantly reduce our waste? Change our lifestyle. Reverse 60 years of throwaway culture. Choose common sense over convenience. So yes—this is a book that is all about garbage. It’s so much more than that, though. Hop on with Derf, and he will take you on a ride that will twist, turn, and amaze. You’ll never look at trash the same way again.