Posted August 27th 2012 at 11:43 am by
in Paper Radio

Paper Radio No. 2 : The Trash Issue

Producing the Trash Edition of Paper Radio has allowed me to put together a series of articles with colleagues and students I’ve had the great pleasure of working with for years now. It has also gotten me to think deeply about how I might bring my own household closer to zero waste.

Paper Radio No. 2 : The Trash Issue

Libby McDonald sorting trash with colleagues on Corn Island, Nicaragua. Photo by Evelin Henriquez.

In Ed Humes’ book, “Garbology”, which inspired the Q&A featured in this issue, he interviews one of my heroes, Bea Johnson. Bea and her family live a zero waste life in Mill Valley, California. Their efforts to aggressively reduce household garbage have motivated me to do more in my own home. The site has been especially helpful in my quest.

My hope is that you will read these articles about trash and understand why I am fascinated by garbage as a means for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, for recovering natural resources, and for creating businesses in partnership with people living in extreme poverty.

In this issue:

 A native Delhi journalist and environmental activist presents waste pickers as the foremost environmental workers of our time.

Four MIT students write about the waste sector technologies they have implemented in communities in Africa, India, and Latin America during summer 2012.

Senseable Cities Lab researchers reflect on the experience of employing trash tracking devices to illuminate waste picker collection routes in São Paulo.

A staff member at Recology profiles the organization’s artist-in-residence program at the San Francisco sanitary landfill.

A poet and MIT writing instructor interviews writer Ed Humes on his new book, “Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash.”


– Libby McDonald

Director of Global Sustainability Partnerships at MIT CoLab

Issue No. 2 is available for download. If you’d like a free subscription to Paper Radio, email your name and address to If you’d like to assemble and publish an issue of Paper Radio on a specific topic, email the same address with your idea.

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