Junkyard Planet

  • by Adam Minter
  • Narrated by Stephen McLaughlin
  • 13 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

When you drop your Diet Coke can or yesterday's newspaper in the recycling bin, where does it go? Probably halfway around the world, to people and places that clean up what you don't want and turn it into something you can't wait to buy.
In Junkyard Planet, Adam Minter - veteran journalist and son of an American junkyard owner - travels deeply into a vast, often hidden, multibillion-dollar industry that's transforming our economy and environment. Minter takes us from back-alley Chinese computer recycling operations to high-tech facilities capable of processing a jumbo jet's worth of recyclable trash every day. Along the way, we meet an unforgettable cast of characters who've figured out how to build fortunes from what we throw away: Leonard Fritz, a young boy "grubbing" in Detroit's city dumps in the 1930s; Johnson Zeng, a former plastics engineer roaming America in search of scrap; and Homer Lai, an unassuming barber turned scrap titan in Qingyuan, China. Junkyard Planet reveals how "going green" usually means making money - and why that's often the most sustainable choice, even when the recycling methods aren't pretty.
With unmatched access to and insight on the junk trade, and the explanatory gifts and an eye for detail worthy of a John McPhee or William Langewiesche, Minter traces the export of America's recyclables and the massive profits that China and other rising nations earn from it. What emerges is an engaging, colorful, and sometimes troubling tale of consumption, innovation, and the ascent of a developing world that recognizes value where Americans don't. Junkyard Planet reveals that we might need to learn a smarter way to take out the trash.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Boring.Could not finish it

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Someone who like repetition. It repeats the same points and gives different examples of the same scenario over and over and over again.

What could Adam Minter have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Not be so condescending to individuals who recycle and explain how it is all handled

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

He was OK. Limited due to subject matter but added nothing

What character would you cut from Junkyard Planet?

NOt character driven

Any additional comments?

If he went into more detail about individual examples and not just repeat the same mantra of how business is wonderful, China is booming, blah blah blah

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- Robert A. Lupella "Dog Lover"

Great Read

Would you listen to Junkyard Planet again? Why?

yes, it's well written and well read.

What did you like best about this story?

the non-nonsense approach. no "green" environmentalism, just the facts in a concise way. I am an environmental engineer, working in the biofuels arena and dealing with China.

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- AVIAD "Tell us about yourself!"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-12-2013
  • Publisher: Audible Studios for Bloomsbury