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Zero Waste Home
Cover of Zero Waste Home
Zero Waste Home
The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste
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.
In Zero Waste Home, Bea Johnson shares the story of how she simplified her life by reducing her waste. Today, Bea, her husband, Scott, and their two young sons produce just one quart of garbage a year, and their overall quality of life has changed for the better: they now have more time together, they've cut their annual spending by a remarkable 40 percent, and they are healthier than they've ever been.
This book shares essential how-to advice, secrets, and insights based on Bea's 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 canceling your junk mail, to enjoying the holidays without the guilt associated with overconsumption. Zero Waste Home is a stylish and relatable step-by-step guide that will give you the practical tools to help you improve your health, save money and time, and achieve a brighter future for your family—and the planet.
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.
In Zero Waste Home, Bea Johnson shares the story of how she simplified her life by reducing her waste. Today, Bea, her husband, Scott, and their two young sons produce just one quart of garbage a year, and their overall quality of life has changed for the better: they now have more time together, they've cut their annual spending by a remarkable 40 percent, and they are healthier than they've ever been.
This book shares essential how-to advice, secrets, and insights based on Bea's 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 canceling your junk mail, to enjoying the holidays without the guilt associated with overconsumption. Zero Waste Home is a stylish and relatable step-by-step guide that will give you the practical tools to help you improve your health, save money and time, and achieve a brighter future for your family—and the planet.
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    Introduction

    Not so long ago, things were different: I owned a three-thousand-square-foot home, two cars, four tables, and twenty-six chairs. I filled a sixty-four-gallon can of trash weekly.

    Today, the less I own, the richer I feel. And I don't have to take out the trash!

    It all changed a few years ago. The big house did not burn down, nor did I become a Buddhist monk.

    Here is my story.

    I grew up in the Provence region of France, in a cookie-cutter home on a cul-de-sac: a far cry from my father's childhood on a small farm, or my mother's upbringing on a French military base in Germany. But my dad was dedicated to making the most of his suburban tract of land. In the warm months, he would spend all his free time working the garden, true to his farming roots, laboring over growing veggies and quenching the soil with his sweat. In the winter, his attention would move to the garage, where drawers full of screws, bolts, and parts lined the walls. Deconstructing, repairing, and reusing were his hobbies. He was (and still is) the kind of person who does not hesitate to stop on the side of the road after spotting a discarded vacuum cleaner, radio, television, or washing machine. If the item looks repairable to him, he throws it in the back of his car, brings it home, takes it apart, puts it back together, and somehow makes it work. He can even repair burned-out lightbulbs! My dad is talented, but his abilities are not unusual for the region. People in the French countryside possess a certain kind of craftiness that allows them to extend the life of their belongings. When I was a child, my dad took the drum out of an old washing machine and turned it into a snail trap, for example, and I remember using the washer's empty shell as a (rather tiny and hot) playhouse.

    Through my young eyes, my home was a modern version of Little House on the Prairie, a TV series I watched religiously in reruns as a kid. Though we lived in the suburbs, and my two brothers and I were not as helpful as the Ingalls brood (my older brother even had a phobia of the dish sponge), my dad was the handy type and my mom the accomplished homemaker on a tight budget. She prepared three-course meals for lunch and dinner. Just like Laura Ingalls's mom, my mom's week was organized around church, cooking, baking, cleaning, ironing, sewing, knitting, and seasonal canning. On Thursdays, she scouted the farmer's market for deals on fabric and yarn. After school, I would help her mark sewing patterns and watch her turn cloth into elaborate garments. In my bedroom, I emulated her ways and created clothes for my two Barbie dolls out of old nylons and gauze (the latter came from my parents' visits to the blood bank.) At twelve, I sewed my first outfit, and at thirteen, knitted my first sweater.

    Apart from the occasional fraternal fights, we had what seemed a happy family life. But what my brothers and I hadn't perceived were the deep rifts between my parents that would ultimately turn their marriage into a sad divorce battle. At eighteen, ready to take a break from psychological and financial hardship, I set off to California for a yearlong au pair contract. Little did I know then that during that year I would fall in love with the man of my dreams, the man I would later marry, Scott. He was not the surfer type whom young French girls fantasize about, but he was a compassionate person who provided me with much-needed emotional stability. We traveled the world together and lived abroad, but when I became pregnant, my yearnings to try the American soccer-mom lifestyle (as seen on TV) brought us back to the United States.

    MY AMERICAN DREAM: PLEASANT...

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.
Reviews-
  • Library Journal

    March 15, 2013

    While the concept of producing less or no waste is great, how can individual consumers reach this goal? Johnson's first book takes the reader by the hand and explains her approach to achieving a zero-waste household. Organized by general topic, tips and guides help readers make their way through the five Rs: refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, and rot. While this lifestyle seems a bit much, the advice is still sound. Recipes for goods including homemade condiments and cleaning supplies are included, along with a list of resources. VERDICT The concept of zero waste is gaining momentum and will find local interest. Johnson presents her case clearly and provides lots of good advice that readers can pick and choose from. This book is similar in tone to another recent title, Zero Waste Lifestyle by Amy Korst, though less chatty. Recommended.

    Copyright 2013 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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Zero Waste Home
The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste
Bea Johnson
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