Professor Zimring Edits The Encyclopedia of Consumption and Waste: The Social Science of Garbage

Assistant Professor Carl Zimring is an environmental historian interested in how attitudes concerning waste shape society, culture, institutions, and inequalities, concepts he has shared with students at Roosevelt University in the courses SUST 210 The Sustainable Future, SUST 240 Waste, and PLS 390 Seminar in the Social Sciences.

Since late 2010, Zimring has devoted much of his time outside of class to editing a two-volume interdisciplinary encyclopedia about how we classify, create, and manage our wastes through consumption.  The Encyclopedia of Consumption and Waste: The Social Science of Garbage has just been released by SAGE Publications.

Why does the average American household send 470 pounds of uneaten food to the garbage each year? How do societies around the world cope with their refuse? How does trash give insight into attitudes about gender, class, religion, and art? Academic studies of garbage allow us to better understand the complexities of our consumption and waste.

SAGE Reference has just published the authoritative Encyclopedia of Consumption and Waste: The Social Science of Garbage, which explores the topic of trash across multiple disciplines within the social sciences. Extending further to also include business, consumerism, environmentalism, and marketing, the two-volume set was written by scholars from around the world, including anthropologists, archaeologists, historians, philosophers, policy analysts, and sociologists, who understand the intricate dynamics of consumption and waste. The 400 A-to-Z, up-to-date entries are helpfully organized in a Reader’s Guide within the following key topics:

  • Archaeology of Garbage
  • Consumption and Waste, Industrial/Commercial
  • Consumption and Waste, Personal
  • Geography, Culture, and Waste
  • History of Consumption and Waste
  • Issues and Solutions
  • Municipal/Local Waste
  • People
  • Sociology of Waste
  • U.S. States: Consumption, Waste Collection, and Disposal
  • World’s Largest Cities: Consumption, Waste Collection, and Disposal

Our trash is our testament; what we throw away says much about our values, habits, and lives. SAGE’s Encyclopedia of Consumption and Waste is an outstanding resource for academic and public libraries serving those interested in municipal waste management systems, policy history, industrial research, environmentalism, marketing, design, and even psychology.

General Editor Carl A. Zimring is assistant professor of Social Science and Sustainability Studies at Roosevelt University. Consulting Editor William L. Rathje is the founder and director of the Garbage Project, which conducts archaeological studies of modern refuse.

For more information about the encyclopedia, see SAGE’s site for the book. For more information about Zimring’s research and teaching, see his website.

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