Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Hidden Life of Garbage

New World Notes News
Vol. 4, No. 24 -- June 11, 2011

This week in New World Notes, radio program #171, June 14, 2011

The Hidden Life of Garbage

Refilled glass soda-pop bottles (1949). Was this a bad idea?

We present Heather Rogers' 18-minute video documentary from 2005, Gone Tomorrow: The Hidden Life of Garbage plus introduction and other commentary by me.

It's about the growing mountains of waste generated by a consumer economy based on disposable products. It's about the inability of recycling programs to actually recycle most of the stuff they receive. It's about the massive "Keep America Beautiful" anti-littering campaign--an industry ploy designed to head off anti-disposables legislation.

We end with a couple minutes on plastic waste from Annie Leonard's The Story of Bottled Water
Above: Writer and Filmmaker Heather Rogers.
Below: Discarded water bottles.

Notes, credits, & links

"Gone Tomorrow" was adapted to radio by Robin Upton (

New World Notes is produced under the auspices (Latin for "oppressive yoke") of WWUH-FM, a community service of that beacon of light in darkest Connecticut, the University of Hartford.

You can listen to any installment of New World Notes online or else download it (as an mp3 audio file) for later listening. The show is archived at both and (from #90 onwards) The Internet Archive. Either link should get you a reverse-chrono listing of available installments. Or browse the show's Web site: Each installment has a page, and each page has links to the recorded audio.

Series overview: Political and social commentary in a variety of genres. Exploring the gap between what we want ... and what they're trying to make us settle for.
Above: A consumer-industry scam: the Keep America Beautiful
campaign. (Back then, "pollution" meant only "littering.")
Below: ... But its slogans sure proved popular. Now you can
see why Progressive folksinger David Rovics bid adieu to his
home town--Norwalk, Connecticut--not long after he
received his drivers' license.

Coming soon (Tuesday air debut date shown)
  • June 21 -- George Carlin Memorial -- Dead and gone three years now. And to quote Network's "Howard Beale": Woe is us! We're in a lot of trouble!
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