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Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste [Paperback]

Bea Johnson
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 9 2013
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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Product Description


“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 Revolution

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.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Bookish Thoughts... June 7 2013
By Reader Writer Runner TOP 50 REVIEWER
When I put "Zero Waste Home" on hold at the library, I expected a home decor book complete with glossy photos and design tips on how to create a functional, minimalist living space. However, Bea Johnson's picture-less book reads more like an instruction manual on adopting a greener lifestyle. Despite my surprise, I found the writing enthusiastic, thoroughly researched and relevant. Johnson organizes her chapters based on specific areas of home or life (kitchen, office, kids' rooms, travel etc), making it easy to skip to the most pertinent section. At the end of the book, she includes a variety of resources to help transition towards zero waste.

Unlike other books on the same topic, "Zero Waste Home" neither focuses on statistics nor discusses the impact of excessive waste in detail. Instead, it provides practical, actionable advice on incorporating meaningful changes into our personal lives.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great book Jan. 31 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book - I liked how the author jumped into the zero waste lifestyle with both feet and then came to the realization that she needed to create a balance that would work within her life i.e. buying yogurt or cheese instead of making them from scratch. I did read some criticisms of this book that the author was too pretentious about her lifestyle choices and that they were unrealistic for most. However, I think Bea really pushed the point that you have to do what works for you, and that will be different for everyone. This book was about her journey to a zero waste lifestyle and I found it inspiring.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good to help you start a simplier lifestyle Oct. 10 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Simple, easy to read and understand: you can start at any chapter and declutter your own place right away, at your own speed.

A good book to start a simplier lifestyle.

Her tricks are good ones, eventhough sometimes I felt like I was already doing some of them without doing these things out of an environmental issue (more economical one).

Many reasons can push you toward a simplier lifestyle and this book tells a way to do it while keeping an environmental question up front: how could I do the same things as usual and reduce my waste (you'll either do differently or do without).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! May 25 2013
This book is a must read for anyone looking for practical solutions towards a zero waste home. Bea is humble and inspiring rather than preachy, and I loved the very practical suggestions about shopping bulk, shopping with cloth bags and jars, packing a lunch or picnic without plastic, and composting. I plan to incorporate several of the suggestions form this book into my life--starting with ditching the paper towels!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  115 reviews
42 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sprouting Practical Solutions to Global Crises April 9 2013
By Cosmologist jisungah - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is practical, beautifully written and deeply felt. There are wonderful tips, but I especially enjoyed the text's humanity. Bea is uncompromising and she does not flinch from exposing herself (although i follow her blog religiously, I did not know she used to own a SUV, had botox, 'upgraded' her wedding rings, etc.). Rather than 'judging' her, I feel relieved--because it permits me to accept my foibles and culpability instead of disavowing and repressing my waste-generation. I feel optimistic by the sight (and site) of this book. Totally galvanizing and useful. Love its connection to politics, family and everyday life; love that I don't feel alone or crazy in desiring idealistic transformation away from commodification, privatization, consumerism, etc. The tone is not didactic but stern and loving simultaneously. A more intimate companion to her stupendously fabulous blog. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Now, when is the cookbook coming out?
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Zero Waste Home April 17 2013
By Heather - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I must admit, I bought this book having never read the blog, or hearing a word about the author. My husband randomly asked me the other day how we have so much trash, and Amazon recommended the book to me based on browsing history, which I took as a sign and ordered it. It is a very informative book, and as quick a read as you choose for it to be. The sections are laid out very well so you can pick and choose what you'd like to read. I read all of the book except for the section on children which I skimmed quickly. I was actually pleasantly surprised by how many things mentioned in the book we already do, considering the comment on our trash situation. I know that our biggest waste is paper towels and this was very lightly addressed, but she did give some options for homemade reusable options which I fully intend to look into. I loved how open she was on their previous lifestyle and made it abundantly clear that the past doesn't matter, you shouldn't dwell on that, just do anything you can do to reduce your carbon footprint for the future which I appreciated. The author is very humble and open about their both good and bad experiences being "green." Not living in California or another super progressive city does have its limitations on ability to do some of the options mentioned. For example, I regularly purchase bulk items whenever possible, but in our area the only bulk items offered are nuts/flours/snacks/grains. Not soap, shampoo, or cooking oils or coffee. I completely agree with the philosophy that recycling should not be our best option. The most helpful part of the book is the resources information, compiled for ease of access. The resources included options for you to mail back items that are otherwise trash in most counties, websites and phone numbers to remove you from junk mailing lists, how to find bulk shopping in your area or even a website to find milk packaged in glass bottles in you area. The resources list is perhaps the most helpful to me in that it is one area, while it is all info you could find online, she did the legwork for you, so you have no excuse to not try to make a change.

I think this is a great book for anyone looking to make their routine a little more environmentally friendly. There is an in depth section on different types of composting options which would help anyone get started to figure out the best set up for them. The author makes it clear that she doesn't expect anyone to do more than they are comfortable with or that seriously interferes with life, which is nice. She also makes it clear that doing what she has done, which is further than most people will probably take the concept, is hard. I highly recommend the book for a casual read, I think I will send it to my mom, who could definitely use a little green in her routine. The only thing worth mentioning, and why I rated it four stars rather than five, is that aside from the resources, most of this is not new information to me, so for many people who would be looking at this book I would assume it is mostly a rehash of things we already know. Compost what you can, rid your home of chemicals, stop throwing away plastic, stop wasting your money on things you will throw away in a month or two because they are junk, stop buying things from companies you don't believe in, etc. With that being said, I am going to go online now look into some of the resources the author mentioned that I didn't know about.
37 of 49 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK May 19 2013
By Paula - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Almost everything in the book was and is on the blog, so for me it was a "re-read" that cost $15 and a lot of paper.
I do commend this family for their continued effort to reduce waste & they have a done a great job doing so, yet philosophically, I do not find their total lifestyle to be particularly eco friendly or real.
Regarding food, the recommendation is to reduce waste by buying bulk food. First of all, unless you are in California or a major city, your bulk bin options are probably few and far between, we'd have to eat nuts and candy if I depended upon them. In addition, many of the bulk foods are white flour based breads, pasta, cookies, etc. If it's between packaging and eating valueless food, I will choose packaging. Whole foods are just better for your heath, even if they come in a paper bag.
In addition, Bea speaks of coming to America and being obsessed with materialism, now changed to zero waste non consumerism. They don't make garbage... yet her home -which is stunning- is a showcase of top end appliances, remodeling, furniture, etc. Somehow I cannot believe that she found sub zero drawer refrigeration at a yard somewhere along the way someone has done some very high end shopping in the zero waste home.
There are also things that disturb me, like references to gas being better than wood... a fossil fuel, really?
Are those vinyl floors? And carpet? And plastic molded furniture?
What about eco friendly reclaimed flooring? Refurbished appliances? Furniture made from old barn boards, etc. I think people would learn more real information if they visited an eco village and you'll learn a lot more about saving the planet by living closer to it. And growing your own food. And using reclaimed building products. Etc.
Again, there are some useful ideas (reuse your grocery bags) but I think many of us in the "eco" world are already doing this, as well as using Earth friendly cleaners, etc.
It's a good experiment and there are many things to learn, but I don't think this is the answer to our ecological problems.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Optimistic and instructive without being preachy April 14 2013
By Karo Karo - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
I have been following the blog for about two years, and always enjoying the insights and advice. I bought the book thinking that it would just consolidate a lot of pre-existing blog posts. I was very wrong. The book is a much more in-depth and thorough look at how to make zero waste a feasible lifestyle.

The book is well organized into sections dealing with different areas of the home and life, so there is no need to read it in order. You can just skip ahead to the sections most relevant to you. The author's enthusiasm is evident throughout, and her research is incredibly thorough. She includes a plethora of resources to ease the transition to less and zero waste for anyone willing to try.

There are many books about environmentalism, sustainability, and adopting a greener lifestyle. What I love about this one, is that it makes unnecessary looking at statistics and studying the impact of excessive waste in more detail. It's understood that we know the impact is masses. Rather than overwhelm us with this information, the author chooses to focus on practical, actionable advice and strategies for incorporating meaningful changes into our personal lives. Her advice on reaching out to companies and government officials is also thoughtful, simple, and easy-to-follow. It's almost miraculous that a book about a lifestyle change that seems so extreme manages to sound so feasible and not intimidating.

There's a lot of great advice here, and I have a feeling I will be rereading and revisiting parts of this book for a long time to come.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars practical how-to May 17 2013
By Heather - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bea's book is an incredible inspiration! I so appreciate that she has shared exactly HOW to strive toward a more waste-free life. She addresses every single issue I could think of and even more than I had considered in this book. The tone is encouraging and never preachy. She has radically changed her own family's values and decision making processes and knows where most of us are coming from. I have used Bea's experience and advice (from her blog) over the past year and a half to decrease my family's waste significantly. All of that information and more is here in this book. It works! My only wish is that there had been more pictures in this book. Her home and organization are lovely, clean and inspiring. My daughter calls it the "Zero-Waste Challenge". I think that's a good way to put it, because I can keep challenging myself every day and not have to feel like a failure when I do make a little trash. I think Bea would concur.
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