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:
- Use rags in place of paper towels.
- Purchase a resuable water bottle so you can refuse plastic water bottles/disposable cups! My favorite bottles are CamelBak’s, Lifefactory glass bottles and Klean Kanteen’s.
- Replace disposable sandwich bags with reusable snack bags.
- Start composting.
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.