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Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste Paperback – April 9, 2013
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“Zero Waste Home is an amazing story of personal transformation. It compels us to recognize that our heedlessly wasteful ways are not gateways to prosperity and convenience, but barriers to a good life and a healthy planet. Bea Johnson has produced an invaluable resource.” -- Edward Humes, author of Garbology
“Waste not, want not isn't about penny pinching. It's about gratitude and loving our lives. Bea Johnson doesn't just teach us to save the planet. She teaches us to save ourselves." -- Colin Beavan, author of No Impact Man
“If you want inspiration and practical information... [Zero Waste Home] is powerful.”, Natural Child World magazine
“Clear, authentic, knowledgeable, helpful and a great read. Zero Waste Home will make a difference.” -- Paul Hawken, author of Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution
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I am enjoying reading the reviews people are posting either posting a wealth of excuses or poking holes in every single thing that isn't eco friendly: "LOOK THEY HAVE VINYL FLOORING!!!" There is always going to be someone critiquing what they themselves aren't even doing. Heck our entire nation does it during American Idol.
Read it with an open mind and don't try to do everything at once. I started reading her blog in 2011. Yes, I still bought the book (e-reader version) because instead of like a blog where the entries are written when inspiration strikes this book is more organized and does offer more info.
When I tried this stuff I did not hold myself to all of her standards and I knew that these ideas would never take over in my home. When I got rid of all my excess in 2011 I made 2,500$ by selling it off on Amazon and got a notable tax deduction for all the donations. I also felt like I could breath.
When I bought flour sack clothes I did with the intention of saving "some money" but I "knew" we'd always need paper towels. The joke was on me since it just struck me a few months back that the last paper towels I bought was in 2011. That was not a conscious change it just happened because we haven't needed them. Any time someone uses them they demand to know where I got them from because they really do work that well. Our utilities have not increased at all due to washing and drying them.
Our utilities actually decreased because I had our city come pick up our second garbage can that we no longer needed.
I'm using a double edged razor for shaving and now instead of spending 17$ for 5 cartridge heads I spent .37$ on a razor blade that lasts me quite some time before needing to be replaced. The first time I used it was awkward but after that it was smooth sailing. People look at it like its a rudimentary and I'm constantly asked "How don't you cut yourself!?" or told "Well that'd be fine for the legs but elsewhere would be a disaster!" Um it has a guard and no it works just fine EVERYwhere and its the first razor I've ever owned that hasn't left we with razor bumps in the sensitive areas. I'm saving a great deal of money here. A friend of mine just bought one and for the past week I've been getting texts almost every morning when he shaves "OMG WHY DID THEY EVER INVENT DISPOSABLES!!"
We used reusable bags for produce and canvas sacks for ALL shopping not just groceries. We get compliments on them. Sometimes I'll get the .05 cent credit for all the produce bags because the cashier is enthused about them. I started buying the glass bottles of milk for my daughter when I tasted it I stood there stunned because I honestly had never tasted milk that good.
It's not about living like a hippie. I know I don't live like one. It's not all about hugging trees either. I think it's about taking responsibility for our actions. We tell our kids to clean their rooms and yet when they say it's done we still check the closets and under the bed to make sure they didn't stuff anything there. How do we call ourselves adults when we're stuffing just on a larger scale.
Seriously, read with an open mind and try things. The money you save using the tips exceeds the price of the book--- immensely.
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However, as others have mentioned, there are provisos. For a start, Bea is a bit of a yummy mummy character with a lot of time on her hands. She doesn't work, so she clearly has time to char almonds to make eyeliner, craft things out of felt and make her own jam. Obviously most of us with 9-5 jobs do not. That's not to say you can't implement some of the ideas though - just probably not many of us are going to switch to moss for toilet paper, cocoa for blush and vinegar for conditioner. She does seem to take things to rather an extreme: maximising right turns to save fuel (!), making all her own 'makeup' from arrowroot powder and suchlike, and making a fuss about the tiny bit of paper on the back of a stamp. This doesn't really resonate with most people. We could all make a huge difference just by buying veg loose at the market, switching paper towels for cloths and avoiding bottled water or takeaway coffee, for example. Bea's 110% approach is a bit off-putting to some.
That said, Bea gives us a lot of information on how to be zero waste in a way that isn't smelly and tree-hugging. You don't have to wear sandals or tie flowers in your hair if you don't want to. I think everyone should read it, and if you only implement around 1/3 of her tips you'll already be doing a great job. Many of them are not practical if you have a job or don't live next to an organic farmer's market. However a lot of them are very very effective, and if people start improving their habits just a bit, she will have done an amazing job. Thanks Bea.
Did I really need a book to tell me that if I stop accepting leaflets, till receipts etc then I can reduce the waste coming into my home? I've been tipping the advertising flyers out of my magazine in the shop for years.
The book is occasionally repetitive in it's points and conclusions, but she does also advocate honestly how difficult the change and lifestyle has been for her especially when trying to hold onto the impossible notion of the American Dream Lifestyle in conjunction to a zero waste life.
All in all, definitely a book to keep on the kindle and refer back to when times of struggle come when making the switch to zero waste. Would highly recommend.
Book has a lovely feel to it as well!
Written without being too preachy or judgmental I think she has put together a great reference book for anyone trying to fight against the pollution of our home.