Garbage has become a huge problem. Ever-expanding hazardous landfills, toxic waste dumps, ocean dead zones, endangered wildlife—it’s an environmental nightmare.
But garbage is a recent problem—for most of human history it was a minor annoyance—so we should be able to solve it. And garbage doesn’t even exist in nature, where the output of one organism is the input of another. So why does garbage exist in human society? Why has it become a problem only in the last century? And most importantly, how can we eliminate it—outsmart the very idea of garbage?