To glimpse the future, a World Bank expert suggests you peer into your garbage bin.
"The fastest way to reduce solid waste volumes is to have a recession," writes World Bank urban specialist Dan Hoornweg in a report on the state of trash in cities. Hoornweg elegantly sums up why garbage is and will remain a vexing problem. Here in the United States, we hear "zero waste" and think sanctimonious yuppies. Yet much of the world's population is too poor to buy—and throw away—much stuff in the first place. But as developing countries become wealthier and adopt higher standards of living, they're also following our wasteful lead.