Zero Waste Home

Zero Wate Home Book

In 2011, I read an article on Sunset about a family of 4 who strive to produce zero waste. The article led me to the blog, Zero Waste Home, written by Bea Johnson. I was fascinated, inspired and challenged to start taking more steps to reducing our waste.

I’ve been a reader of Zero Waste Home since finding it and was excited to find out Bea was writing a book titled Zero Waste Home about their lifestyle. I received my copy a few weeks ago and couldn’t put it down.

Bea starts the book telling their story of downsizing from a 3,000 square foot home to their current 1,475 square foot home. Within a couple of years, they parted with 80% of their belongings and started becoming conscious of the amount of waste they were creating.

While the title of the book and the blog, Zero Waste Home, may seem like it’s just about trash, reducing waste, recycling and green living, Bea and her family live a very simple and minimal lifestyle. The book is not just a guide to becoming more conscious about waste, it’s an excellent resource for simplifying your life.

In Zero Waste Home, Bea basically walks you through your home and lifestyle, sharing ways to simplify and prevent waste in areas like the kitchen, your wardrobe, housekeeping and even handling holidays/gifts zero waste style. Zero Waste Home was written to share how the Johnson’s live their zero waste life and encourage others that there are steps you can take that can dramatically reduce your waste.

Reducing your waste is simple if you follow these 5 simple steps (the 5 Rs):

1. Refuse what you do not need.

2. Reduce what you do need.

3. Reuse what you consume.

4. Recycle what you cannot refuse, reduce or reuse.

5. Rot (compost) organic materials.

Keeping the 5 Rs in mind has helped me shift my views about waste. I’m consciously refusing more and really evaluating the things I consume and rotting more than just kitchen scraps.

Easy ideas to implement to reduce your waste from Zero Waste Home:

Since reading Zero Waste Home, I have taken some more steps to reduce our waste:

  • Canning jars and Pyrex for freezing – Instead of using plastic freezer bags, I recently froze bacon in wide mouth canning jars with plastic lids. And, did you know, you can write on mason jars with Sharpie’s and they’ll wash right off, reducing the need for labels? 
  • Attacking the junk mail! I’ve been calling, e-mailing and refusing unwanted junk mail. To refuse – just write “Refused – Return to Sender – Take me off of your mailing list” on the envelope and stick it back in your mail box. In the past few weeks, we’ve had several days of no mail!
  • Almost Zero Waste Gathering – We recently had a cookout and instead of using disposable cups, plates and napkins, I put our camping plates, mason jars and cloth napkins in a plastic tote and brought them along. When we were finished eating, everyone put their dishes in the tote, I popped the lid on it, brought it home and loaded the dishwasher. This saved a tote full of disposables from going to the landfill!

If you’re interested in reducing your waste, simplifying your life and living minimally, Zero Waste Home is an excellent resource. I’m looking forward to reading back through my copy because I know I’ll glean more ideas from another reading!

Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of Zero Waste Home.  All opinions expressed in this post are my own. This post contains affiliate links that help support this site. 

responses to “Zero Waste Home” 18

  1. This is so cool! Sounds like an excellent read! When we picnic we use dishes from home and you're right, it's so simple. It's crazy how "disposable" is infiltrating the entire world. Going against that is sometimes uncomfortable for us, we're not trying to offend anyone (family, especially) when we refuse, but if someone is super insistent then we don't argue. It's wonderful to live with more purpose!

    1. It really, really is a great book and is such an inspiring read. And, we too try not to offend and make anyone uncomfortable with our choices but it doesn't take much more effort or planning to just use reusables! 🙂

  2. Incredible post and what a great write up!!!!!!! Your book is really helpful and useful for everyone. I am very-very happy to read this post. You have told great methods zero waste. I will also tell these tips to other so that everyone gets benefit of this. Thanks for sharing this post with us and helping us. I would also want to read your new post.

  3. Is it possible to make a home with zero waste? I think this only the hypothetical. Though I am really impressed with the idea and the efforts those are being made for the same.

  4. I would really love to read the lifestyle and home innovation ideas from the book. Thanks a lot to let me know about the book. This seems to be quite useful for the people like me.

  5. While I will never get to the extreme that Bea lives, I appreciate her tips and ideas. The book does make you more aware of where you can reduce, refuse, etc. I won't be making homemade mascara, but I do wash my hair with baking soda. Take what works, leave the rest and don't feel guilty!

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