Education has always been a part of our business. This was surprising to us at first, but it became clear that if we were going to persuade anyone to use our service, we needed to educate them on why our planet needs us to compost. These days we do a lot of educating through our monthly blog on the topics of composting, zero waste and other areas of sustainability.

After the George Floyd uprisings, many book groups popped up focused on reading and discussing books on racism/anti-racism and reading books by authors of color, but we were not aware of one that focused on environmental justice/racism.

So, we decided to start our own.

We’ve used both books and films as a springboard for discussion. Collective Resource Compost is the host and librarian Lesley Williams is our facilitator. We view the films and read the books on our own time. We began meeting on Zoom on the second Thursday evening of the month beginning in February and continuing through November 2021 from 7:00-8:30 pm central standard time.

We began our discussion group with what could be described as a soft opening. We were concerned at first, that if we had too many participants, the discussions would be unwieldy. So, we did not do a huge public push to let everyone know about it. We’re ready to do that now. Please share with individuals or in your communities. If this is the first time you’re hearing about the group, we’re happy to share the titles of the selections we’ve discussed thus far. 

Our last two discussions will be on the topic of waste.

The selection for our October 14th meeting is a documentary titled Death by Design. Consumers love—and live on—their smartphones, tablets and laptops. A cascade of new devices pours endlessly into the market, promising even better communication, non-stop entertainment and instant information. The numbers are staggering. In 2016 when this film was created, it was predicted that by 2020, four billion people would have a personal computer and five billion would own a mobile phone. But this revolution has a dark side, hidden from most consumers. In an investigation that spans the globe, filmmaker Sue Williams investigates the underbelly of the electronics industry and reveals how even the smallest devices have deadly environmental and health costs. From the intensely secretive factories in China, to a ravaged New York community and the high-tech corridors of Silicon Valley, the film tells a story of environmental degradation, of health tragedies, and the fast-approaching tipping point between consumerism and sustainability.

You can watch the trailer here and view the documentary for free on Tubi.

The selection for our November 11th discussion is a book called Garbage Wars: The Struggle for Environmental Justice in Chicago, written by David Naguib Pellow. The book chronicles how and why the waste industry—including dumping, incineration, landfills, recycling, and all of the pollution and hazards that come along with it—disproportionately impacts minority and lower-income communities in Chicago and throughout the U.S.

We hope you’ll join us.

Register for either or both discussions here: Please use the drop-down menu to select your date. If you plan to attend both discussions, you’ll need to register separately for each.

Author Details
Zero Waste Consultant | Collective Resource, Inc.

Mary Beth strongly believes that, “It’s always better to be doing something rather than nothing.” If you’re thinking of composting at home, she can help you work out what your particular “something” can be.

She’s confident a solution can be tailored to fit anyone’s needs and ambitions. “Anyone who eats can be a CRI customer, whether you are an individual or a large organization. I want you to understand the advantages of composting, and I can show you how CRI can make it easy.” Mary Beth has successfully designed waste diversion strategies for individuals, schools, houses of worship and other communities. She’s received the governor’s Environmental Hero award for her work at her daughter’s school. Whether you’re starting with a backyard bin, a kitchen bucket, a worm farm, or large-scale commercial collection, Mary Beth can be your good-natured guide.