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Summary

Wasted is a riveting exploration of the complicated, and often surprising, ways that waste occurs in our businesses, our communities, and our lives

"A smart, unconventional book that takes readers far beyond what they think they know about a complex subject." (Kari Byron, former cast member of MythBusters)

Waste. We spend a great deal of energy trying to avoid it, but once you train your eyes to look for it, you’ll see it all around you - in your home, your business, and your everyday life.

In Wasted, futurist Byron Reese and entrepreneur Scott Hoffman take readers on a fascinating journey through this modern world of waste, drawing on science, economics, and human behavior to envision what a world with far less of it - or none of it at all - might look like. Along the way, they explore thought-provoking issues such as:

  • why the United States got a higher proportion of its energy from renewable sources in 1950 than it does today 
  • whether the amount of gold in unused mobile phones can be extracted for profit
  • how switching to water fountains on a single route from Singapore to Newark could prevent the use of 3,400 plastic bottles - on each flight
  • whether the amount of money you save buying goods in bulk is offset by the amount you lose when some spoil.

Ultimately, the question of reducing waste is scientific, philosophical, and, most of all, complex. According to Reese and Hoffman, the rush toward simple answers has often led to well-meaning efforts that cause more waste than they save. The only way we can hope to make progress is to treat waste as the complicated issue it is. 

While the authors don’t promise easy answers, in this compelling book they take an important step toward solutions by examining the questions at play, giving actionable steps, and ensuring that you’ll never see the world of waste the same way again.

©2021 Byron Reese and Scott Hoffman (P)2021 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

“A smart, unconventional book that takes readers far beyond what they think they know about a complex subject, Wasted is filled with surprising insights, careful analysis, and fascinating factoids. There’s something on every page for those who want to know more about science, business, and human behavior, all shown through the lens of, well...waste.  This book isn’t just for geeks - but geeks of all stripes will love it.” (Kari Byron, former cast member of MythBusters)

“The collection of amazing factoids makes for entertaining reading.” (Kirkus Reviews

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  • SurferDoug
  • 19-06-21

Imagining a World without Waste & Creating It

This book will help you Imagine a world where we can use technology to minimize waste – “no wasted time, no wasted minds, no wasted lives.” As the book states, “We can’t live in a world without waste unless we have perfect knowledge of almost everything.” AI, XR, and 5G will be some technologies to move us closer to more “perfect knowledge” to lower waste. Byron has a great chapter on Smart Phones and Sustainability and Waste. He states: “In the US, electronic waste accounts for just 2% of landfill volume, but that 2% accounts for 70% of all of the toxic substances in the landfill. With recycling rates of electronic waste hovering around 20%, this is a problem that will only get worse.” This chapter has encourage me to recycle all my e-waste in the future. If you care about sustainability and really making a difference to minimize waste and not just rearrange deck chairs on the Titanic, read this book.

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  • A. M. Stambaugh
  • 16-06-21

Informative and entertaining

Exceptional! Rigorously researched, clearly explained, and thoroughly entertaining. We all must take environmental issues seriously, but we also need our conversations to be well informed and science-based. If you’re like me and you want to understand the true drivers behind environmental impact and what we can do to help, then this book is for you.

However, this book is about more than just environmental waste. I was surprised and entertained by the additional discussions of waste that I was not expecting, such as money and time.

Mr. Reese and Mr. Hoffman have crafted an informative and entertaining book that is a joy to listen to. I liked it so much that I bought the book and the audiobook to both read it and listen to it.

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  • Anthony
  • 12-06-21

Very insightful book!

This is a great book about a very important and widely misunderstood issue. It’s a must read!