'Trash Backwards:' How People are Rethinking Waste


Bales of cardboard, plastic and aluminum after processing at Integrated Paper Recyclers, LLC, one of Naylor’s innovators. Photo: David Naylor.

Author David Naylor explores how individuals all over the country are inventing and innovating ways to solve waste problems in his new e-book, “Trash Backwards: Innovating Our Way to Zero Waste.”

Naylor looks at seven innovators in a variety of waste streams from medical waste to commercial castoffs and tells the stories of how they are tackling some of the country’s biggest waste issues.

“The key aspect for me was to highlight the positive and progressive approaches the people and organizations were developing to reverse the overflow of trash – thus the title of the book, ‘Trash Backwards,’” Naylor says. “…we wanted to demonstrate that there are people out there who are undaunted by the immensity of the problems, willing to take active steps to make things better, as well as keeping things from getting worse.”

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This army of the undaunted includes Jim Meaney, who reuses aluminum cans as solar panels to heat homes and businesses; Tony Schifano, who helps hospitals responsibly manage their waste; and Nick Montezon of Sweet Water Organics, who loops fish waste into the aquaponics process to “bring what seems to be the most useless byproducts into the most useful part of a production cycle,” Naylor says.

It’s innovations like these – and many more – that Naylor brings to light in his book.

“Part of the genius of recycling is in finding new ways to deal with the worst problems, but equally valuable is seeing that every workable idea seems to contain a multitude of novel applications beyond the original,” Naylor says.

To download Naylor’s book and learn more about how people are rethinking waste, visit Island Press.

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