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

3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,518 Ratings  ·  276 Reviews
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
Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 9th 2013 by Scribner (first published April 1st 2013)
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The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie KondōZero Waste Home by Bea JohnsonSimplify by Joshua BeckerThe Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide by Francine JayEverything That Remains by Joshua Fields Millburn
2nd out of 52 books — 25 voters
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie KondōWalden by Henry David ThoreauYou Can Buy Happiness (and It's Cheap) by Tammy StrobelThe 100 Thing Challenge by Dave BrunoSpark Joy by Marie Kondō
Simple Living & Minimalism
8th out of 57 books — 39 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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May 22, 2013 Katie rated it really liked it
I started following Bea Johnson's blog a few years ago when I really started to rethink the amount of waste that my household produced and the kind of environmental impact I was making. I did make quite a few changes in my life as a result of her influence, and I find her lifestyle (and this book) to be compelling, challenging, and totally brilliant. Now almost all of my household cleaners are homemade (almost--Arizona's brutally hard water makes powdered dishw ...more
Oct 24, 2013 Elizabeth rated it did not like it
So pretentious and illogical.
The author, Bea Johnson spends much of the intro discussing how much time she saved now that she no longer spends weekends shopping for furniture for her massive house.
Okay, that's reasonable but then she goes on and on about how much time you will save by eliminating possessions and becoming zero-waste. But when you actually read her account of her activities in her new lifestyle you realize she has only reallocated her time. She doesn't seem to have any more free
May 29, 2013 Debbie rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
I wish I had time to make my own mustard and my own makeup. The author seems sincere in her desire to keep her footprint to a minimum, but she is not living in my reality. I did find some tips for how to cut back on junk mail and gift giving, but mostly I just wondered how the author had any friends left.
Nov 03, 2013 Stacia rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Earthlings
I love this book. I read various simplifying/decluttering type books every now & then; this book is not quite that category, but similar in that Johnson has simplified her family's life extensively by trying to avoid creating any trash (zero waste). I think her choices are entirely commendable & she shows that it can actually work for a suburban family of four.

Rather than the recycle mantra we all know, Johnson urges much more proactivity with these 5 Rs:

* Refuse (stop stuff from coming
Apr 18, 2016 Emma rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I first learned about the Johnsons and their Zero Waste lifestyle through a Yahoo! video clip called SecondAct, highlighting their life that involves extremely little trash (Bea herself said that they do have a little bit of trash, unavoidable given today's manufacturing processes). Ever looking for ways to save a little bit of cash (college student alert!), I picked up this book in order to pick up a few tips. While I think this lifestyle can be a little extreme for some, there are tons of very ...more
Jun 09, 2013 Jennifer rated it liked it
3.5 Stars
I obviously love reading, and one of the reasons that is so is that I discover new things about myself. For instance, this year alone I've discovered that I'm way ahead of the hipster crowd, that I was an early fan of the flavor of grass-fed beef (early as in from the high chair) and now I discover that I must live in California!?!

OK, a little background - I first learned about Johnson and her Zero Waste efforts when she was featured a few years ago in Sunset magazine. I admired her bea
Apr 01, 2016 Eibhileen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
C'est typiquement le genre de livre qu'il ne faut pas emprunter à la bibliothèque comme je l'ai fait mais qu'il faut plutôt avoir sur ses étagères personnelles pour pouvoir le consulter à tout moment. Ce livre est rempli de trucs et astuces qui apprennent à réduire ses déchets au quotidien. Tout y passe : cuisine, salle de bain, maquillage... Un livre fort utile en ces temps de prise de conscience environnementale.
Jun 06, 2016 Jenn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013, non-fiction
I learned so much from this book and will be implementing many of her suggestions.

My most significant takeaways from the book:
1) Reduce junk mail. Top 4 ways to stop receiving junk mail are,,, Bam - I just cut out half my paper mail.
2) Composting can considerably reduce what you send to the landfill, since 1/3 of household waste is organic. I'm still deciding on a method, but my goal is to get a compost set up by the end
Mar 24, 2016 Charlotte rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beaucoup de bonnes idées et une vision des choses qui amène à se poser pas mal de question sur la société actuelle et notre mode de consommation...

Le ton n'est pas trop moralisateur (même si c'est à la limite sur certains passages) et on ressent vraiment l'enthousiasme de l'auteur par rapport à ce mode de vie. Elle reconnaît également les limites et le caractère un peu extrême de certaines idées qu'elle a pu avoir.

Par contre, le point négatif est que, même si l'auteur nous dit le contraire, le m
Jul 11, 2015 Carolina rated it it was ok
I'm a hardcore hippie, but the sanctimonious and highly elitist tone of this book made me want to shred it into bedding for my chicken coop. So many of the methods for reducing waste were convoluted to the point of ridiculousness (makeup chapter, I'm looking at you) that it wouldn't surprise me if this book actually turned people AWAY from striving for ecologically sustainable living.
Oct 28, 2014 Aubrey rated it it was amazing
This past half a year or so we've been living full-time on the road in a house on wheels. We've seen such beautiful places with landscapes varying from mountainous depths filled with elk and reindeer, the unique colors of the desert to a flatter place here in Florida covered in lakes and a wide array of birds. I love nature. I love this planet and I want to keep it beautiful.

Unfortunately, we are trashing it without acknowledgment for our waste and actions. Granted, the planet will always be he
Oct 28, 2013 Julie rated it liked it
I definitely admire a woman on a mission. And it's always nice to read a missive by someone with even more crazy-out-there ideas than my own.

The problem with this book for me was that the simplicity goal and the zero-waste goal are two entirely different things, and I can't quite see how to implement them without contradiction. How am I supposed to get my wardrobe down to, like, 25 pieces total, for example, without getting rid of basically everything I own and then purchasing those 25 magical
Cherie In the Dooryard
I read the author's blog and find that she constantly challenges my thinking regarding waste. Is she extreme? Yes. Oh yes. And she knows it and admits it, declaring that she sees herself as the experimenter in order to save everyone else the time of figuring it out. So I was pre-disposed to be interested in this book. Just no. She's a blogger, not a writer or researcher, and it shows. There was a lot more that could have been done here in terms of making the waste reduction argument an ...more
Jun 04, 2013 Gina rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir-editorial
The author says at the top of the book that people won't necessarily try all of her suggestions, and that some of them are more extreme than others. Still, it's really hard to take a book seriously when it suggests cutting down on make-up waste by getting eyeliner permanently tattooed on - or make your own by burning almonds. Perhaps, just don't use eyeliner instead?

As Johnson predicted, I certainly won't be adopting all of her techniques, but this book is a good reminder that even if you don't
Feb 11, 2016 Sophie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
J'ai trouvé ce livre très intéressant pour toutes les alternatives qu'il propose. L'auteure m'a donné envie de m'intéresser au vrac et de réfléchir à chaque déchet. De commencer un compost et de trier ma garde-robe.
Par contre, certaines petites choses m'ont dérangée : par exemple, elle dit se laver les cheveux un jour sur deux, ce qui est non seulement mauvais pour les cheveux (surtout si elle les lave au bicarbonate de soude) mais aussi pour l'environnement ! Cela suppose une douche au moins to
Apr 14, 2013 Julie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faves-to-re-read
Well. Zero Waste Home made me feel 40% inspired, 60% guilty! :) We are far from having zero waste (or a quart size jar of garbage per year, as her family does) come out of our home, but any steps in that direction is worth a try and Bea Johnson's book is FULL of tips, ideas, and recipes for homemade EVERYTHING. I thought I was doing a great job at recycling, but Johnson talks about what an inefficient short-term "solution" it is to the real problem of our everygrowing landfills. Her 5 R's are Re ...more
Oct 03, 2013 Linda rated it really liked it
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!
Jul 21, 2016 Jordan rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
There's a lot of really great ideas in here for reducing the amount of junk that you consume and produce. But there's also a lot that goes a bit too beyond for me. And a lot that really isn't practical for a lot of areas where people live. Relatively the author lives in a good area for going zero waste in terms of resources and the community available to her. And despite her insistence that it's cheaper and not time-consuming to be zero waste, I maintain that she also has the time and money to b ...more
Apr 25, 2016 Cristaldefee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A lire absolument !!!!
Jul 20, 2016 Ev rated it it was ok
Ok ok. I feel kind of cruel for rating this a book a two, as it's chock-full of tips to pare down on wasteful habits. But, I couldn't take it seriously: Although Bea's successful adoption of a Zero-Waste lifestyle is absolutely impressive, who the h*ll would want to live this way?

"Scott could no longer stand the 'smell of vinaigrette' in our bed." (p. 6)
Re: bathroom beauty products -- "Our insecurities clutter our lives." (p. 82)
"Dry Shampoo: I substitute cornstarch sold in bulk for dry shampoo.
Jan 02, 2016 Matilda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
J’ai partagé la lecture de Zéro déchet entre fin juin et début juillet. Depuis quelques mois je m’intéresse beaucoup à la réduction des déchets et au minimalisme et c’est comme ça que j’étais tombée sur le blog de Béa Johnson. J’avais lu tous ses articles en ligne et avais ensuite eu envie de lire son bouquin que j’ai aussitôt réservé à la bibliothèque.

Dans cet ouvrage pratique Béa Johnson raconte son cheminement d’une vie conventionnelle vers celui d’une famille qui ne produit qu’un pot de cons
Feb 15, 2014 Lo rated it really liked it
Shelves: homesteading
It was fine. I wasn't expecting it to talk about the institutional problems of waste, where government farm subsidies go, poverty... this is very clearly a woman who lives in a bubble and doesn't understand that not everyone makes six figures or that half of America constitutes "food deserts".

Would have been nice, since becoming an actual activist is the only way to enact the changes that would bring this lifestyle closer to business as usual, but it much prefers monied feel-good-isms that let t
May 20, 2013 Tabitha rated it it was amazing
I think this is a brilliant book! I never feel like Bea is preaching or suggesting that everyone follow her lifestyle to the letter, but that she is just sharing all the techniques she has discovered over many years of exploration. How you implement her ideas is up to you.
After listening to the audiobook of "The Story of Stuff" I was looking for practical ideas to cut back on my disposables, and Zero Waste Home is full of ideas and recipes. As a visual artist, I appreciate Bea's focus on creati
Apr 15, 2013 Tracy rated it liked it
I love the idea of a zero wast home, I really do. And for some people who are living in the right cities or towns this actually might be almost achievable. But know that for my family it just is not practical. But I am always searching for other ideas to try and bring us closer to a zero waste home. And I did get many tips and tricks to improve what we are currently doing, and even some new ideas to try out from this book. Which in all honesty is what I expected, and I do recommend this book if ...more
Jun 19, 2016 Stephie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It takes a lot of money to produce no waste. The most useful thing I took from this was to use colouring pencils instead of highlighters. I have no clue how the author thinks poor people live. Whatever floats your boat I guess, but most normal and most cash strapped people could not afford to live like this regardless of how much money she thinks you save.
Oct 28, 2014 Pequete rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: meus
Je pensé que j'était très soucieux de l'environnement, mais aprés lire ce livre, j'ai réalisé que j'ai encore un long chemin à parcourir pour être en mesure de me sentir vraiment fier de mes efforts sur l'environnement...

Contrairement à certains lecteurs qui ont trouvé les suggestions de l'auteur et le ton radical de son écriture snob, j'ai trouvé le livre une lecture très agréable et inspirante. L'auteur reconnaît que dans le début, l'enthousiasme l'a amenée à tester des choses un peu radicales
Mar 05, 2014 Amy marked it as abandoned
I feel as though I must first earn some street cred before I go any further:
*I cloth diaper
*I use vinegar when I clean
*I only use cloth napkins
*I haven't purchased paper towels in years
*I shop at thrift stores

I am the target audience for this book. However when the author suggested saving energy by not preheating your oven I almost put the book back into my library bag unfinished. I didn't though because even though as a home cook I found that to be a silly way of saving 4 cents I figured the bo
Aug 09, 2016 Jessica rated it really liked it
Great resource to go back to as required. Didn't really enjoy all the tidbits about the author's family and personal experience, as she comes across as pretentious and unaware of just how privileged she is. However, the list format of most relevant information makes sifting through all the crap pretty easy.
Feb 09, 2016 Susanne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Zero Waste Home hat mir zwar nicht viel Neues beigebracht, mich aber zum bewussteren Einkauf motiviert. Dafür gibt's einen Stern zusätzlich!
Jun 15, 2016 Katie rated it really liked it
This one is hard to review. Johnson's story is a little extreme, which may put people off, but if you read for the big message you may be inspired to examine your own life and find many ways to reduce waste. What I like is that she connects simplifying with reducing your waste. The first step in going Zero Waste is to pare down your stuff. Then you can look at ways to reduce the things coming into your home and/or make sure those things are not generating waste. Just for clarification, she seems ...more
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“refuse what you do not need; reduce what you do need; reuse what you consume; recycle what you cannot refuse, reduce, or reuse; and rot (compost) the rest.” 1 likes
“(Lu en traduction française: Zéro déchet.)
La nourriture de qualité se paie, c'est certain, mais, à long terme, elle est meilleure pour nous et pour l'environnement: c'est un investissement que je suis prête à faire pour la santé de ma famille et celle de la planète. Plus nous achetons de produits bio, plus il y a de chances que leur prix baisse. Chaque fois que je fais les courses, je vote résolument "Oui aux aliments en vrac!" et "Oui aux produits biologiques!" Pour mes enfants, je rêve d'un avenir plus sain et sans déchet: je suis heureuse d'y investir mon argent chaque semaine.”
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