Reading the book Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste by Bea Johnson changed my life.
Not in an inspirational, idealistic, I’m a more mature person after reading this kind of way (although I guess there’s a little of that), but in a practical, this-is-how-to-make-less-trash kind of way. Zero Waste Home discusses real life ways to reduce trash and consume less.
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Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste by Bea Johnson chronicles the lifestyle of a woman whose family of four’s garbage for ONE YEAR fit into a quart size or smaller glass jar.
Before we jump into this book review, I should probably answer this big question.
What is Zero Waste?
Zero Waste means drastically reducing the amount of trash you generate through composting, recycling, reusing as much as possible and making package free purchasing choices. Basically it’s being aware and taking action to reduce the amount of garbage in your life.
Typical behaviors of someone who lives a zero waste lifestyle include:
- Bringing reuseable bags to the bulk section of the grocery store.
- Refusing single use items like paper plates and cups.
- Evaluating every scrap of garbage tossed in order to prevent future trash of that type.
- Buying used household goods to prevent industrial waste.
- Shopping locally produced goods to avoid waste generated by shipping.
Book Review: Zero Waste Home
After reading the book Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste by Bea Johnson, I made several changes in our daily life to reduce the amount of trash we generate.
- I now bring reusable produce and grocery bags to the grocery store, shop in the bulk section and cloth diaper Baby L.
- My family’s food waste gets composted.
- I avoid kids meals at restaurants because I hate the cheap plastic toys. Note that I haven’t given up fast food completely.
- Whenever possible I shop for “previously loved” items.
I’ve tried all of these things and much more. You can get a free PDF of 50 Ways to Go Green That I’ve Tried Personally just by entering your email below.
And while I view all of that personal change as good, I don’t agree with everything Bea Johnson recommends in her book.
- I still use floss, toothbrushes, shampoo and makeup even though they come in plastic containers.
- Consumption concerns have no impact on my family size.
- I don’t expect my spouse and immediate family members to adhere to my same level of Zero Waste.
Zero Waste Home advocates massive lifestyle change and a rejection of the western society’s consumer culture. It’s approach is refreshing and different.
Bea Johnson offers suggestions on how to change habits without seeming too pushy or judgmental. In fact I came away from the book judging her as “a crazy lady” in some areas, but after contemplating the problem of trash as a whole I realized perhaps our consumer culture is the real crazy thing.
While I have yet to really experiment with a Zero Waste lifestyle, I do have a blogger friend who successfully reduced her family of four’s waste to a pint-sized jar for one month. Annika Mang from BorntobeAdventurous.com is an outdoor mom of two, who fit all of her household waste for March of 2017 into a pint-sized jar.
Wanna know how going Zero Waste really works? Check out this three question interview I had with her.
Interview with BorntobeAdventurous.com
- We have managed to remember our To Go bag most of the time when we leave the house.
- We will still be using reusable mugs and straws or asking for no straws when we get to a restaurant.
- I am still shopping bulk often and avoiding items that will create waste.
- Our kitchen is set up now for zero waste foods so it is easier to maintain.
- We are still committed to cloth-diapering although when I forgot diapers the other day I happily accepted a disposable from my friend. I also might use disposable for extended camping trips as we don’t have enough to last more than a couple of days.
What would be the hardest waste producing convenience item to give up for you? Why?
Wanna know my answer? Meat wrappers. We eat meat at least every other day in our house. The cost and hassle of bringing my own containers to the butcher counter prevents me from going zero waste in this area.