Written by Erica Fyvie; Illustrated by Bill Slavin
Kids Can Press. 2018
Grades 3 and up
The publisher sent me a copy of this book to review.
Did you know…
- Every day throughout the world, approximately 270,000 trees are cut down to make paper products? 10% of that amount (2700) is used to make toilet paper.
- It takes 1000 years for a pair of running shoes to decompose.
- Love chips? Each year, most of the 17 billion potato chip bags produced in the United States end up in the trash.
Those facts and more are woven into an engaging narrative that enlightens readers on the everyday items we purchase and what we can do to stop the cycle of waste. Using the premise of items we might carry in a backpack, the book is divided into sections (Water; Food; Clothing; Paper; Plastic; Metals; Electronics). Within each section, the book takes a look at how that item is produced, and then what happens to it when it becomes waste.
The section on Waste in Space, compares and contrasts the daily consumption and waste of the astronauts versus every day on Earth. On the whole, waste in space is less than on Earth (1 gal.(3.8L) of water waste is generated in space, while on Earth the average is about 75 gallons (287 L)). Although, I found this fact very disturbing: “Space Clothing: Since washing machines aren’t an option in space, dirty space clothes are typically bundled and shot into Earth’s atmosphere to burn up. A six-person crew can generate 900 lb. (408 kg) of clothing per year.”
The book’s design is colorful with cartoon-like illustrations giving a visual representation of what is being discussed on the page. Sidebars are placed throughout offering more detailed information. Wherever it applies, readers learn about countries or individuals who have come up with a way to have zero waste.
The book closes with the hope of a zero-waste future. In Taiwan, a Zero-Waste Leader, manufacturers pay a fine for produce excess packaging. The money earned goes to recyclers. They also collect 30 different kinds of waste and recycling twice a week, including fluorescent tubes and clothing.
Back matter includes a glossary of terms, resources for more information, and index.
This is a great book for families to share when making a plan to lower their carbon footprint. It will spark discussions and have readers seriously thinking about making wise purchases. (Is it really necessary to always upgrade your electronic devices?) Especially when they realize just how long an item lasts in a landfill.