How much stuff do you have? I mean, think about it. Your books, your sheets, your cell phone, your pens – all of it is stuff. Things that had to be made from metals extracted from the ground or synthetically made in a chemical plant, then shipped to a factory to be made and shipped again to a store to be bought and then to be used and thrown away. How much do you keep? Where does all the empty stuff go?

All of these questions and more are brought up in The Story of Stuff, an expansion of the documentary of the same name by Annie Leonard. Here, she expounds upon the problems brought up in her movie, and a lot of it is really important and eye opening.

From the extraction to the production to the distribution to consumption and disposal, each segment of a product’s life is less healthy than most people think. According to Leonard, even that beacon of light recycling isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, but she does offer some hope for the future.

The only issue with the book is really that there are only five chapters and each one is so information-dense that it’s sometimes a bit of a slog to get through it. But it’s important, too. I mean, if something’s doesn’t give soon, we might all be royally screwed.

Grade: B+

The Story of Stuff is currently available.