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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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“Bea Johnson’s book has allowed me to get even closer to Zero Waste than I was before I picked it up. Read it today. It will transform the way you view waste.” (Ed Begley, Jr.)
“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 RevolutionRead more
About the Author
Bea Johnson has been shattering preconceptions attached to a lifestyle of environmental consciousness through her Zero Waste lifestyle. She regularly opens her home to educational tours and the media, and she has appeared in segments on the Today show, NBC and CBS news, Global TV BC (Canada), and a mini Yahoo! documentary. Bea and her family have also been featured in print publications, including People, Sunset, the San Francisco Chronicle, as well as The Huffington Post, MSNBC, USA TODAY, Mother Nature Network, among others. They live in Mill Valley, California.
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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.
After listening to the audiobook of "The Story of Stuff" I was looking for practical ideas to cut back on my disposables, and Zero Waste Home is full of ideas and recipes. As a visual artist, I appreciate Bea's focus on creativity as well. Thanks to some articles on her blog I was inspired to give away all the supplies I haven't used in years, and it has indeed freed me up and supercharged my creative spirit. I look forward to experimenting with her watercolor recipes and brainstorming other ways to save on waste! No artist wants to feel like they are just creating more "stuff" to be shuffled around this already full world.
And for people who feel embarrassed to bring a pillowcase (which is just a large bag) to the store or compost their tampons, perhaps you could take a second and think about other cultures besides America where people do things differently and are totally fine and healthy? Many countries use cloth bags to carry food. Bodily fluids are natural and we don't have to be scared of them.
Making these changes will be a long process, and while I may not incorporate the more extreme suggestions, I have started contacting manufacturers of my favorite products about recycling and refilling their containers. Unloved perfume samples have become homemade air fresheners in refillable containers. Clothes shopping is a twice a year affair, and I have reconnected with my college love of thrift stores. It goes on and on... Thank goodness I stumbled upon Bea's blog!
While I don't know if I will ever be a true zero waste home, I've taken to making it a fun exercise in what can make my life better while limiting my trash I take out. It's worked wonders and I'm very pleased with how easy it is to make small changes that add time, money, and save stress in my house. Easy to read, and fun to ponder. Highly recommended.