Total Garbage: A Messy Dive into Trash, Waste, and Our World


Author: Rebecca Donnelly


Illustrator: John Hendrix


This middle-grade narrative nonfiction from Rebecca Donnelly dives into the scientific and cultural history of the waste humans produce.

Trash has been part of human societies since the beginning. It seems like the inevitable end to the process of making and using things, but why? Rebecca Donnelly wades into the muck of history and explores present-day innovations to answer some basic questions: Why do we make so much trash? Why are we so bad at handling it? How can we stop it (that is, us) from ruining the planet? She also looks into the out-there trash phenomena like the fatberg—a sewer-clogging floater of congealed cooking grease, baby wipes, and miscellaneous other flushed items. The current record holder for size: 800 feet long and 143 tons!