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Trashy Reading: Raleigh Solid Waste Dept. Starts A Book Club

A picture of two stacks of books.
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A new book club in Raleigh is encouraging some trashy reading this summer.

The Solid Waste Services Department says it's a way of celebrating the 25 years since Raleigh set up a curbside recycling program, and the city wants readers to learn more about how garbage is managed and how recycling works.

Bianca Howard is Raleigh's Solid Waste community education specialist. She said she knows garbage isn't the sexiest topic, but many Raleigh citizens are civic minded and interested in how their community works.

She's recommending three books that examine how much we throw away, what we pay for it, how it impacts our resources, and why it's all so easy for us to ignore.

“We take it for granted, but when we think we're throwing our trash away, we're really not,” Howard said. “The decisions we make as individuals and as a community about what to do with our trash affect not only us, but our children's children.”

Howard is open to reading suggestions for each monthly meeting, but she has three recommendations to start: "Garbageology" by Edward Humes, "Garbage Land" by Elizabeth Royte, and "On The Grid" by Raleigh Author Scott Huler.

“I think all three of these books will give people a better understanding of what happens to our trash, and how we might do things different to make less of it.”

Howard said she thinks everyone should have to visit a landfill. She said people should have to visit a water treatment plant, too, but she'll leave that to another department to start their own book club.

The book club will meet at the Carolina Pines Community Center August 19 at 6:30 p.m. There, they'll set up a reading list and a regular meeting place and time.

Rebecca Martinez produces podcasts at WUNC. She’s been at the station since 2013, when she produced Morning Edition and reported for newscasts and radio features. Rebecca also serves on WUNC’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accountability (IDEA) Committee.
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