Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Book Review: The Zero Waste Home

Warning: This book will most likely set off an addictive rush of changing everything your life.

But it will be fun.

The Zero Waste Home book is chock full of really amazing ideas to start implementing a zero waste lifestyle. This book started as a blog and sometimes, blog to book is a really bad idea, just summarizing stuff that can be found online. This, however, is a brilliant move. Johnson breaks down the normal aspects of life; kitchen/food purchases, bathroom, bedroom and clothing, workspace, kids and school, holidays and being out and about. Each chapter is further more broken down to include what the author calls the 5 R's: refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle and rot. Fairly self explanatory, the point is prevent wasteful items ever ending up in the home in the first place. But as most of us have hordes of stuff already in the home, the book helps to start clearing out the accumulation of a lifetime.

I mentioned before the addictive rush. It took me a while to finish this book, not because it wasn't engaging (it is) or long winded (it isn't), but because each page held something I didn't even consider before and before I knew it, I needed to go de-clutter something. I purged so much before I bought my house last year and I still came up with two bags full by the end of this book.

Johnson also comes up with ideas of decluttering that completely blew my mind because they make so much sense. An example? Changing your email signature, "to reduce the size of your emails and the energy needs for servers to run and store them." Such a simple thing but so easy to do. And the entire book is similar, in finding ways, big and small to lessen our impact on an already fragile planet.

I would even wager ways to go further, an almost silly way. Many of us wishlists of some kind, Amazon, etsy, etc. Why not clean those out? So many are filled with unrealized expectations and yet there are some gems that are worth purchasing (after exhausting book swaps, Netflix and the library of course). Why waste time going through pages of things that we will never buy and yet click to add to a wishlist of someday?

This is a important and worthwhile book and one that is highly recommended. I know there are ways to go, even for someone who recycles, doesn't get the phone book, etc. The coffee in the morning, remembering to bring lunch to work, not signing up for the 8,000 mailing list. Even we all did five things from this book, the planet would kindly thank us.

(Photo credit: The Zero Waste Blog)


  1. I love/hate things like this. They give me great ideas, but also make me realize all the things I need to do. It's exciting and exhausting at once.

    I've never heard of this one but want to check it out! Will look for it at the library asap. :)

  2. See, I thrive off that kind of stuff. Like, oooh, how much could I get rid of? Until the hubby walks in and says, "Why is the cat in a box?" :)