The Secret Life of Stuff : A Manual for a New Material World, Paperback

The Secret Life of Stuff : A Manual for a New Material World Paperback

4 out of 5 (1 rating)


Wouldn't you like: - Products that don't damage the environment? - A better way of life without agonising about your 'footprint'? - To really know your stuff? Climate change? Biofuels? Nuclear power? Landfills? Recycling? Renewable energy? Environmental issues can feel overwhelming. But, in fact, it is simple; it all comes down to one thing - stuff.

Our use of the Earth's resources - whether a crisp packet or a cargo ship, a T-shirt or a wind turbine - has an inescapable impact on our future.

In The Secret Life of Stuff, Julie Hill uncovers the origins and the true cost of what we use.

Her inventory of over-consumption may shock but it is the first step towards overcoming waste.

The misuse of stuff is not your fault, it's a product of history.

But it is only by understanding what has gone wrong, that everyone - politicians, business people and us as consumers - can create a new and better material world.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Publishing
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: The environment
  • ISBN: 9780099546580



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A broad summary of the whole environmental predicament and possible solutions. It is particularly good at bringing together the thoughts of the ecological movement on large areas of difficulty, e.g. a good chapter on the ethics of consumption quotes many popular philosophers. Many lessons come from this book: reusing is even better than recycling, so there must be a place for repair ebay, freecycle and the rest. She has great chapters on the different constituents of stuff and how it is extracted, made and disposed of. Some stuff is inherently difficult to get rid of, textiles are often made of mixed fabrics, but metals so long as not linked with plastics are good for recycling. The price of something is no guide to the value of recycling and the green consumer has little power. A product's eventual fate must be part of its design which we have not bothered with at all till now. The EU comes out well as our European neighbours are more concerned about this than us. The EU has driven our standards of recycling and water quality.