Secondhand: Travels in the New Global Garage Sale (Hardcover)
"Minter's travels through the afterlife of stuff are revelatory, terryfing, but, ultimately, hopeful. 'Secondhand' helps us to see a world of possibility in the objects we discard." -Elizabeth Kolbert, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of THE SIXTH EXTINCTION
From the author of Junkyard Planet, a journey into the surprising afterlives of our former possessions.
Downsizing. Decluttering. A parent's death. Sooner or later, all of us are faced with things we no longer need or want. But when we drop our old clothes and other items off at a local donation center, where do they go? Sometimes across the country-or even halfway across the world-to people and places who find value in what we leave behind.
In Secondhand, journalist Adam Minter takes us on an unexpected adventure into the often-hidden, multibillion-dollar industry of reuse: thrift stores in the American Southwest to vintage shops in Tokyo, flea markets in Southeast Asia to used-goods enterprises in Ghana, and more. Along the way, Minter meets the fascinating people who handle-and profit from-our rising tide of discarded stuff, and asks a pressing question: In a world that craves shiny and new, is there room for it all?
Secondhand offers hopeful answers and hard truths. A history of the stuff we've used and a contemplation of why we keep buying more, it also reveals the marketing practices, design failures, and racial prejudices that push used items into landfills instead of new homes. Secondhand shows us that it doesn't have to be this way, and what really needs to change to build a sustainable future free of excess stuff.
About the Author
Adam Minter grew up in a family of scrap dealers in Minneapolis. He became a professional journalist and now serves as the Shanghai correspondent for Bloomberg World View, in addition to making regular contributions to the Atlantic, Foreign Policy, and other publications. He now lives in Shanghai and blogs at shanghaiscrap.com. Junkyard Planet is his first book.
“In an accessible and engaging style, Secondhand unravels the complexities of a vast yet mostly hidden and often secretive enterprise of used clothes and goods . . . The result is an unparalleled look at the lifespan of everyday things and the unexpected ways our society's abundance of discarded items are, refreshingly, being repurposed for a second life.” —Shelf Awareness
“A sprawling, insightful travelogue through the world of repair, reuse and waste, Secondhand takes readers deep inside the consumer economy's back end. In exploring the vast global tide of used and discarded goods, Adam Minter delivers a book as crammed with oddities and gems as the second-hand shops he loves to haunt.” —Nature
“This is a fascinating, eye-opening look at a dynamic, largely unseen world that only starts when one drops off something at a thrift store.” —Publishers Weekly
“Engaging . . . well-written and packed with intriguing details, this is a great look at a global industry to which virtually all of us contribute.” —Library Journal
“In Minter's capable hands, [this] topic comes alive…Minter designs a workable path forward to combat the glut of stuff.” —Booklist
“Minter's travels through the afterlife of stuff are revelatory, terrifying, but, ultimately, hopeful. 'Secondhand' helps us to see a world of possibility in the objects we discard.” —Elizabeth Kolbert, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sixth Extinction
“A well balanced blend of practical data, real-life experiences, colourful character descriptions and amusing anecdotes. An interesting read for people inside as well as outside the recycling industry.” —Recycling International
“Eye-opening . . . [Minter is] an excellent guide to this sprawling and bewildering trade.” —Wall Street Journal on JUNKYARD PLANET
“Minter successfully resists oversimplifying the issue China currently faces--with a growing middle class demanding more raw material for new construction, the options are living with the pollution caused by recycling or the environmental consequences of mining for raw materials . . . Minter concludes that the solution is in the first word in the phrase, 'Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.'” —Publishers Weekly on JUNKYARD PLANET
“A detailed view of a mostly unknown business that touches the lives of everyone, whether or not they ever dragged a trash and/or recycle bin out to the curb.” —Kirkus Reviews on JUNKYARD PLANET
“Minter is here to tell you that there's big money to be made in what American consumers and industries throw away. As he travels the world from Houston to Guangzhou, surveying the debris and discards that fill scrap yards and warehouses, Minter takes the reader into a world of commodities trading that is every bit as lucrative and cutthroat as anything on Wall Street. The son of a scrap man, Minter brings an insider's knowledge and appreciation for an industry that no one thinks about, everyone contributes to, and a lucky few profit from.” —Booklist on JUNKYARD PLANET
“A satisfying investigation-cum-travelogue.” —Mother Jones on JUNKYARD PLANET
“Fascinating.” —Atlantic Cities on JUNKYARD PLANET
“Lively and entertaining . . . Junkyard Planet is a book for anyone interested in the environment, the economics of recycling, or a thoughtful look at the consumption we take for granted.” —Brooklyn Bugle on JUNKYARD PLANET
“Superbly researched.” —Financial Times on JUNKYARD PLANET