He urges us to buy less stuff, buy used goods, stop buying bottled water, and stop using plastic grocery bags.

I would note, for instance, that it became dramatically easier for me to remember to take reusable bags from home once the District of Columbia instituted a 5 cent tax on all plastic bags. But no need for that here: it’s all about just being a better personal environmentalist.

But personal mindfulness isn’t actually going to do much to address the fact that, as a country, we simply do not dispose of our waste properly. Despite Humes’s Pollyannaish insistence that it’s “in the consumer’s power” to fix the problem, the American garbage problem is actually a policy problem. And it’s going to continue to be a problem no matter how many people start using reusable water bottles.

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Daniel Luzer is web editor of the Washington Monthly.