Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Wasteby Published 09 Apr 2013
|Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste.pdf|
Part inspirational story of Bea Johnson (the “Priestess of Waste-Free Living”) and how she transformed her family’s life for the better by reducing their waste to an astonishing one liter per year; part practical, step-by-step guide that gives readers tools and tips to diminish their footprint and simplify their lives.Many of us have the gnawing feeling that we could and should do more to limit our impact on the environment. But where to begin? How? Many of us have taken small steps, but Bea Johnson has taken the big leap. Bea, her husband Scott, and their two young sons produce just one quart of garbage a year.
In Zero Waste Home, Bea Johnson shares her story and lays out the system by which she and her family have reached and maintained their own Zero Waste goals—a lifestyle that has yielded bigger surprises than they ever dreamed possible. They now have more time together as a family, they have cut their annual spending by a remarkable 40%, and they are healthier than they've ever been, both emotionally and physically.
This book shares how-to advice and essential secrets and insights based on the author’s own experience. She demystifies the process of going Zero Waste with hundreds of easy tips for sustainable living that even the busiest people can integrate: from making your own mustard, to packing kids' lunches without plastic, to cancelling your junk mail, to enjoying the holidays without the guilt associated with overconsumption.
Stylish and completely relatable, Zero Waste Home is a practical, step-by-step guide that gives readers the tools and tips to improve their overall health, save money and time, and achieve a brighter future for their families—and the planet.
"Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste" Reviews
I'm a hardcore hippie, but the sanctimonious and highly elitist tone of this book made me want to shred it into bedding for my chicken coop. So many of the methods for reducing waste were convoluted to the point of ridiculousness (makeup chapter, I'm looking at you) that it wouldn't surprise me if this book actually turned people AWAY from striving for ecologically sustainable living.
I learned so much from this book and will be implementing many of her suggestions.
My most significant takeaways from the book:
1) Reduce junk mail. Top 4 ways to stop receiving junk mail are dmachoice.org, optoutprescreen.com, catalogchoice.org, yellowpagesoptout.com. Bam - I just cut out half my paper mail.
2) Composting can considerably reduce what you send to the landfill, since 1/3 of household waste is organic. I'm still deciding on a method, but my goal is to get a compost set up by the end of the month.
3) There's really no need for paper towels and napkins. Cloth napkins are prettier anyway. I just need to get some good reusable rags for scrubbing and quit the paper towel habit altogether.
4) Buying secondhand is good for the environment. I'm a huge secondhand shopper already (for the financial impact), and I feel motivated to keep it that way for the environmental impact.
The author said a couple of times "when you throw something away, where exactly is away?" I can't get that idea out of my head. Trash doesn't disappear.
Besides the content of the book (which I obviously loved), I appreciate the tone of the book as well. I found it totally motivating, rather than guilt-tripping or preachy.
Pretentious, snobbish and awfully written. And snobbish, did I mention snobbish? "We wanted a dog that would be small enough to not only fit in our small house but also accompany us everywhere we go (..) — we also chose his coat color to match the floor so that his shedding hair would not show." Seriously?? Is that how she picked her husband? Just the right shade of Caucasian to match her neutral-colored wardrobe, and bold, so there's less hair to compost?
I love this book. I read various simplifying/decluttering type books every now & then; this book is not quite that category, but similar in that Johnson has simplified her family's life extensively by trying to avoid creating any trash (zero waste). I think her choices are entirely commendable & she shows that it can actually work for a suburban family of four.
Rather than the recycle mantra we all know, Johnson urges much more proactivity with these 5 Rs:
* Refuse (stop stuff from coming in your home that you do not need: slowing consumption, stopping junk mail, not buying things in single-use plastic containers, etc...)
* Reduce (the amount of stuff you need but still use; evaluating consumption habits you have, what can you share/borrow instead, reduce exposure to things that lead to more consumption)
* Reuse (reusables vs. disposables; sharing; buying used; repairing or finding a new use for things that you might normally have tossed or replaced...)
* Recycle (should be one of your last choices, not a first choice)
* Rot (compost)
I especially loved all her details about her grocery shopping w/ reusable containers & love the simplicity of her solution. I also really enjoyed how she went through various areas of the house, giving lists of how to evaluate what you have, what to get rid of/keep (simplifying is a part of zero waste), & what she kept & what she got rid of from her own house. For example, a lot of stuff left her kitchen, including a vegetable peeler (now her family eats more veggies w/ the skins on, getting more nutrition; if she does need to peel something, she just uses a knife) & her can opener (they don't buy food in cans). Both of those items were things that I, personally, would have never even considered during a cull, so I found it eye-opening to see her list of what didn't make it -- making me see what we have in a new light. At the end, she muses on what she hopes the future is/can be if more people tried to live a zero waste lifestyle & I greatly enjoyed her 'vision' (which, as it turns out, she says are things that already exist in limited amounts in limited places around the world -- now the world just needs to adopt better practices & expand the zero waste lifestyle).
Also, for books of this type, this is well-written, well-organized, & her resources at the end match up exactly with the order of each chapter. So, it even appealed to me on an editorial level. I guess I noticed it because in that area, this book is definitely heads above others books of similar ilk.
I think some don't like her choices or the extremes to which she has gone (easy to dismiss what she has done as unattainable), but I think it takes people willing to buck the norm, stand up & make different choices, & show by example why their way might be a better way. I see Bea Johnson as being that type of person.
I'm nowhere near what she lives, but her choices & suggestions make a lot of sense to me & I'm definitely planning to take a hard look at our lives & attempt to push us toward more of a zero waste life. I love her blog already (plus her gorgeous, spare house that she has photos of on her blog) & found her book to be a great companion to her blog: http://zerowastehome.blogspot.com/ If you are interested in this lifestyle, I'd heartily recommend both her blog & the book.
I definitely admire a woman on a mission. And it's always nice to read a missive by someone with even more crazy-out-there ideas than my own.
The problem with this book for me was that the simplicity goal and the zero-waste goal are two entirely different things, and I can't quite see how to implement them without contradiction. How am I supposed to get my wardrobe down to, like, 25 pieces total, for example, without getting rid of basically everything I own and then purchasing those 25 magical high-quality, neutral-colored, super-versatile pieces? Wouldn't I just be purchasing 25 things I didn't need, since I already have a closet full of clothes right now?
I know this sounds like nitpicking, but I had similar problems with maybe half of her suggestions. And of the half that didn't frustrate or annoy me in some way, I can see myself actually implementing maybe half of those. Still, I guess that's a bit less trash heading to the landfill, and that's a step in the right direction.