The Book of Rubbish Ideas

Author: Tracey Smith
Pub: Alastair Sawday Publishing
Price: £6.99

To the pile of works that teach us how to live greenly, Tracey Smith, founder of International Downshifting Week, adds The Book of Rubbish Ideas: An Interactive, Room-by-Room Guide to Reducing Household Waste.
Smith begins her book by delving into ‘the serious side of rubbish’: In 25 pages, she takes her readers on a whirlwind tour of waste management, points out current UK waste-handling shortcomings, gets into the nitty-gritty of the EU Landfill Directive, tackles global warming, explains the recycling process for 17 different materials/products and expounds on the origins of and need to arrest built-in obsolescence. It’s interesting, but then it’s also quite overwhelming and the information could easily be expanded to fill a number of worthwhile volumes.
In the second section, Smith “tiptoe[s] through your home, room by room” and offers solutions for stopping excess waste and avoiding nasty chemicals. The set-up is quite catchy and easy to follow (though not entirely unique). Smith analyses each part of a typical home from entrance hall to back garden and goes on to offer bullet-pointed tips. The book ends with a bit of ‘celebrity gossip’ and inspiration as Smith presents case studies showcasing the green lives of celebrities and mere mortals alike.
All in all, this book, whilst not unrivalled,
is a handy reference tool to have in the
house and is full of useful ideas. One such
bit of advice (and this is one of the most
self-evident tips) is: “To help close the loop of the materials economy, we must obviously recycle our goods, but we must also buy recycled goods.” Unfortunately, if members of the public take this commendable counsel, they will not buy The Book of Rubbish Ideas: It is (shockingly) printed on FSC certified paper from mixed sources when it could easily be printed on 100 per cent recycled paper. For shame.