Chapter 5: Waste



The idea that we might beneficially return to past ideals and techniques is developed further in Chapter 5, which examines the Western phenomenon of ‘waste’, an alien concept to many societies both past and present.

It takes as a case-study, manure (human and animal) examining how attitudes to faeces have shaped the fortunes of human societies. What to us is an odious material to be flushed out of sight, to others is a product of great value, responsible for maintaining land and people.

Attitudes to waste reflect the ideology of the society that produces it and, with the benefit of hindsight, this chapter examines whether we need to re-evaluate our ideology.