When he hits the school bully (and the son of the Town Mayor Harry Spindle) fifteen year old Nelson Burns is excluded from school and quickly heading for the scrapheap. Nelson lands himself a part time job at the scrapyard owned by the infamous Tommy Ratson and his three legged, one eyed yard dog Zombie, who strikes up an instant friendship with Nelson's pet mongrel, Kickstart.
When Nelson's best friend Sparky suggests they can make their fortune digging fluorspar out of a local deserted mine the temptation for some adventure proves too strong. The only trouble is the mine is owned by Harry Spindle, who also happens to own the waste company that collects the town's rubbish.
When people in the town start acting more and more bizarrely Nelson starts to realise that it may have something to do with Harry Spindle, his menacing hench man, Cold Eyes, his recycling facility and the town's water supply.
Nelson realises that, although he has to turn his life around, it's down to him alone to prevent a huge environmental disaster from taking place.