Almost 40 people attended the launch of ‘Wasteland – The Dirty Truth About What We Throw Away and Why It Matters’ by local author and journalist Oliver Franklin-Wallis at Harts Books, Saffron Walden, on Wednesday 28th June 2023.
Interviewed by environmental campaigner, Edward Gildea, Oliver told the story about how the book came to be written, when he started researching the global impacts of China closing its doors to the waste that was flooding out of the developed world, ostensibly to be recycled there.
His book deals with every conceivable form of waste, from the millions of tonnes of plastic and clothing to nuclear waste and sewage via the colossal quantities of waste from mining and manufacturing processes and the vast plumes of methane that are generated by food waste when it is not properly managed.
He told some of the stories of the scams and ‘greenwashing’ that enable companies to continue ‘business as usual’, but he also emphasised his hope that the complex problems can be solved. He supported all the work we do individually in conscientiously minimising and recycling our personal waste, but highlighted that it is the ‘upstream waste’ of manufacturers that really needs to be addressed by politicians around the world.
His book ends with his message to his two young daughters: “This planet is a precious and remarkable thing. Try not to waste it.”
Edward Gildea June 2023