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

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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.Many of us have the gnawing feeling that we could and should do more to limit our impact on the environment. But where to begin? How? Many of us have taken small steps, but Bea Johnson has taken the big leap. Bea, her husband Scott, and their two young sons produce just one quart of garbage a year.

In Zero Waste Home, Bea Johnson shares her story and lays out the system by which she and her family have reached and maintained their own Zero Waste goals—a lifestyle that has yielded bigger surprises than they ever dreamed possible. They now have more time together as a family, they have cut their annual spending by a remarkable 40%, and they are healthier than they've ever been, both emotionally and physically.

This book shares how-to advice and essential secrets and insights based on the author’s own 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 cancelling your junk mail, to enjoying the holidays without the guilt associated with overconsumption.

Stylish and completely relatable, Zero Waste Home is a practical, step-by-step guide that gives readers the tools and tips to improve their overall health, save money and time, and achieve a brighter future for their families—and the planet.

304 pages, Paperback

First published April 1, 2013

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About the author

Bea Johnson

5 books91 followers
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.

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5 stars
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4 stars
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3 stars
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158 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,036 reviews
Profile Image for Elizabeth .
395 reviews14 followers
October 24, 2013
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 time.
No doubt Bea Johnson is doing impressive things to lower her environmental footprint but her claims of time-saving when she is clearly spending hours making all her own food from scratch, shopping at multiple places all over town, calling dozens of places to find one place that will recycle an item she owns, etc. rings so false it was hard for me to give credibility to much else she said.
Furthermore, I found her tone so pretentious and rather snobby. It may have been unintentional but it left a distinct impression that one must be well off, able to have a SAH parent in the home, in order to live this lifestyle. The shopping for calamari steaks is what did me in in the first chapter.

I did get a few ideas for reducing my own footprint, but it was a struggle to even read the book because her tone rang so pretentious and false.
Profile Image for Jovana.
9 reviews3 followers
September 3, 2017
Pretentious, snobbish and awfully written. And snobbish, did I mention snobbish? "We wanted a dog that would be small enough to not only fit in our small house but also accompany us everywhere we go (..) — we also chose his coat color to match the floor so that his shedding hair would not show." Seriously?? Is that how she picked her husband? Just the right shade of Caucasian to match her neutral-colored wardrobe, and bold, so there's less hair to compost?
Profile Image for Debbie.
50 reviews2 followers
May 30, 2013
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.
14 reviews3 followers
July 12, 2015
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.
Profile Image for Jenn.
476 reviews12 followers
June 7, 2016
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 dmachoice.org, optoutprescreen.com, catalogchoice.org, yellowpagesoptout.com. 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 of the month.
3) There's really no need for paper towels and napkins. Cloth napkins are prettier anyway. I just need to get some good reusable rags for scrubbing and quit the paper towel habit altogether.
4) Buying secondhand is good for the environment. I'm a huge secondhand shopper already (for the financial impact), and I feel motivated to keep it that way for the environmental impact.

The author said a couple of times "when you throw something away, where exactly is away?" I can't get that idea out of my head. Trash doesn't disappear.

Besides the content of the book (which I obviously loved), I appreciate the tone of the book as well. I found it totally motivating, rather than guilt-tripping or preachy.
8 reviews1 follower
January 12, 2021
What did I learned from this book? If you live your American Dream(TM) in a giant house, making crap loads of money while having almost unlimited free time, then you can significantly reduce your waste output and as byproduct reduce your expenses and gain some free time. Otherwise... Perhaps it's because I don't live in USA and my budget is tight, but the small-but-high-impact changes (like not using disposable dishes) have been always part of my life, so the other changes (like make everything you can instead of buying it) are just not realistic -- I just don't have so much free time and money. And also, I quite like my friends.

And the whole snobish sound of the book... Zero-waste alternative to eye-lens? Eye surgery! Luckily, I have some sort of "minimal waste" deeply rooted, otherwise I would start producing waste just because of the sound of the book.
Profile Image for Amy.
587 reviews28 followers
Shelved as 'abandoned'
March 6, 2014
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 book would still have some valuable information.

Then she suggested I start shaving my legs with a straight razor I was done. This book went back to the library unfinished. Sorry lady. A bit too extreme for the average gal with frugal/green tendencies.
Profile Image for Stephie.
7 reviews6 followers
June 19, 2016
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.
Profile Image for Panda Incognito.
2,894 reviews53 followers
February 20, 2019
Earlier this summer, some friends and I talked about cults. One friend told another, "You'd be in the zero-waste cult," and we all thought this was hilarious. Now that I've read this book, I no longer find it facetious to conflate zero-waste living with cult membership.

In fact, according to Goodreads, Bea Johnson is the "Priestess of Waste-Free Living." I don't think this is an exaggeration. It requires a level of religious devotion to take the zero-waste lifestyle as far as this lady does, and although it clearly works for her life and interests, this book may turn normal people off from zero-waste living, because she makes the lifestyle seem obsessive-compulsive, unsustainable, and potentially damaging to social relationships.

Also, despite all her ravings about how her family saves so much money and lives a far more simple life, one needs to live in a fairly affluent area to have access to all of the resources she has, and there is nothing simple about this lifestyle. As I tweeted after finding one of the recipes in this book, "Going zero waste saves the planet!! Restores humanity!! SIMPLIFIES LIFE! Also here is a time-consuming recipe to set almonds on fire and grind them up into eye shadow!!"

The disclaimer at the beginning of the book says that "the reader should consult his or her medical, health, or other competent professional before adopting any of the suggestions in this book or drawing inferences from it." When you read something like that, you know it's about to get REAL. However, even though she does advocate peeing into your compost or a citrus plant, many of the recommendations in this book actually have merit. She gives lots of ideas for how to reject consumerism, buy in bulk, and deal with holidays. Many authors like this say, "Prioritize experiences, not material gifts!" but then give no recommendations for what kind of intangible gifts you should give. She provides a whole list of potential ideas, and even though they wouldn't all work for everyone, it's clear that she lives this out, and isn't just spouting platitudes.

She gives lots of handy household trips and tricks, and has good advice for how to get rid of items you already have without putting them in the landfill. The most valuable thing I learned from this book is that Goodwill accepts bags of worn-out clothes and fabric scraps destined for the landfill. Goodwill sells these items to textile recyclers, who grind the fabric down for reuse in other products. I’m so glad that I learned this, especially since one of my upcoming projects was to declutter my sewing supplies. I’ve now filled up a whole bag of worthless or unwanted fabric scraps to take to Goodwill.

However, even though she has great information about resources, many of her personal ideas for waste reduction require so many extra steps and so much effort that they hardly seem worthwhile. This book is also full of laughable contradictions, even on the same page. She tells you that when you ship something, you should reuse an old box, but then she tells you to avoid sticker or paper labels, and to write directly on the box. HOW DO YOU DO THAT IF YOU’RE REUSING IT?!

Also, even though this author goes to very real and commendable lengths to avoid judgment, encouraging people to do what is right for them without trying to force it on all their friends and family, she is oblivious to how privileged she is. She never once acknowledges that people in highly concentrated, poverty-stricken urban areas often depend upon packaged and processed foods, since transportation costs for produce can make it prohibitively expensive in those areas. She doesn’t seem aware that when a family has two working parents, they won’t have time to shop all over town for unpackaged food and make their own household and toiletry items from scratch. She is also so sanctimonious about family size that I dropped my rating from three stars to one.

She recommends that once couples have two biological children, they should adopt instead of “breed.” Adoption is a wonderful thing that should be normalized as an inherent good, rather than Plan B, but I despise her spiel about how couples should avoid reproduction in order to reduce tax on the planet. Firstly, when she talks about how much the population has expanded over past generations, she makes it sound like this is because people are running around making babies too often, when in reality, the population has expanded because mortality rates have lowered and standards of living have greatly improved. She doesn't cite her statistics, and nor does she explain why things have changed, and that's a very poor foundation to begin with.

Secondly, even though she can talk piously about birth control all she wants, I know and love large families, and how DARE she suggest that every additional child is a waste of space and resources. If she wants to limit her family size to two children, she has the freedom and privilege to do so, but she has no right to shame large families and pretend that she’s an expert on family planning. I know that using birth control to eliminate the possibility of conception is very different than exterminating existent lives, but this woman is presuming authority not only over what you should do with your waste, or what you should buy at the grocery store, but over what human beings should exist in the world and be part of your family. Some of my best friends are members of large families, and parents often raise multiple children with the hope that these kids can grow up to change the world. I have much more respect for the invested, intentional parents who raise wonderful kids than for this lady’s investment and intention in eliminating waste.

I was willing to look past so many irritants and so much silliness to learn helpful household and environmental practices, but as soon as she told me that the world would be better off without some of my best friends, I was DONE. I am OUT. Goodbye, Priestess of Waste-Free Living. You can pursue your obsessive waste-reducing lifestyle while I enjoy the things that actually matter in life.
Profile Image for Julie.
326 reviews12 followers
October 29, 2013
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 high-quality, neutral-colored, super-versatile pieces? Wouldn't I just be purchasing 25 things I didn't need, since I already have a closet full of clothes right now?

I know this sounds like nitpicking, but I had similar problems with maybe half of her suggestions. And of the half that didn't frustrate or annoy me in some way, I can see myself actually implementing maybe half of those. Still, I guess that's a bit less trash heading to the landfill, and that's a step in the right direction.
Profile Image for Stacia.
825 reviews101 followers
November 4, 2013
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 in your home that you do not need: slowing consumption, stopping junk mail, not buying things in single-use plastic containers, etc...)

* Reduce (the amount of stuff you need but still use; evaluating consumption habits you have, what can you share/borrow instead, reduce exposure to things that lead to more consumption)

* Reuse (reusables vs. disposables; sharing; buying used; repairing or finding a new use for things that you might normally have tossed or replaced...)

* Recycle (should be one of your last choices, not a first choice)

* Rot (compost)

I especially loved all her details about her grocery shopping w/ reusable containers & love the simplicity of her solution. I also really enjoyed how she went through various areas of the house, giving lists of how to evaluate what you have, what to get rid of/keep (simplifying is a part of zero waste), & what she kept & what she got rid of from her own house. For example, a lot of stuff left her kitchen, including a vegetable peeler (now her family eats more veggies w/ the skins on, getting more nutrition; if she does need to peel something, she just uses a knife) & her can opener (they don't buy food in cans). Both of those items were things that I, personally, would have never even considered during a cull, so I found it eye-opening to see her list of what didn't make it -- making me see what we have in a new light. At the end, she muses on what she hopes the future is/can be if more people tried to live a zero waste lifestyle & I greatly enjoyed her 'vision' (which, as it turns out, she says are things that already exist in limited amounts in limited places around the world -- now the world just needs to adopt better practices & expand the zero waste lifestyle).

Also, for books of this type, this is well-written, well-organized, & her resources at the end match up exactly with the order of each chapter. So, it even appealed to me on an editorial level. I guess I noticed it because in that area, this book is definitely heads above others books of similar ilk.

I think some don't like her choices or the extremes to which she has gone (easy to dismiss what she has done as unattainable), but I think it takes people willing to buck the norm, stand up & make different choices, & show by example why their way might be a better way. I see Bea Johnson as being that type of person.

I'm nowhere near what she lives, but her choices & suggestions make a lot of sense to me & I'm definitely planning to take a hard look at our lives & attempt to push us toward more of a zero waste life. I love her blog already (plus her gorgeous, spare house that she has photos of on her blog) & found her book to be a great companion to her blog: http://zerowastehome.blogspot.com/ If you are interested in this lifestyle, I'd heartily recommend both her blog & the book.
Profile Image for Nicole Miles.
Author 20 books136 followers
September 15, 2017
((Addendum 26/09/2016: It's probably worth mentioning that this book functions best as a general guide and starting point for people who really have no idea where to *start* with reducing waste and minimising in their lives or as a refresher and recipe guide for DIY products. Investigation is required to check whether some of this stuff should be tried…(i.e. Ask your dentist if it's OK to use DIY toothpaste and, IF so, how to go about it and what ingredients are advised. etc… I've noticed that many Americans seem irrationally adverse to fluoride for some reason that doesn't seem entirely well founded to me.)
For what it's worth, many recipes are not necessary to live zero waste. I won't be adopting any of the makeup recipes, for example, because I don't wear make up anyway. Depends on what is important to you.

There are also a lot of (probably unintentionally) omitted privileges about how much easier it seems to carry out her lifestyle in the city she lives in: Mill Valley, which seems to have a reputation for facilitating greener living. This is an unusual environment globally and for the United States where there is a communal desire and technological ability and infrastructure in place to help people to live more sustainably if they want to... That said, I don't think the absence of this odd living arrangement makes it impossible to at least attempt and certainly not to implement a lot of the thinking here elsewhere. I equally don't think she should be written off because of her short-sightedness in this area.

Overall, the best takeaway is really the intentionality and awareness of the lifestyle and having the mentality of thinking about the lifespan of products we use and about the impact of the way we live. This is a book that requires a lot from the reader in terms of knowing what will/can fit with their lives and how, and to ask questions within their community and elicit change if the necessary structures are not already in place...which is a lot of work for the reader, but it is what's necessary for change to happen.

If you already think about this stuff and act accordingly and don't find it motivating to read things on the subject that might not be new to you, you may not get much from this book. If you're already coming at it with cynicism, judgement and contempt, it might be better not picking it up at all...))


Although I can see why Johnson might annoy some people, there is a lot of really valuable, practical information in here about actionable everyday steps (many of them not that difficult) towards making positive sustainable changes to one's life (even if you don't live somewhere with the infrastructure to action all of her suggestions). I can't help feeling that some of those who dismiss her out of hand because they don't like her anecdotes or her perceived arrogance/well-to-do-ness or whatever else might be making excuses to not make some really great lifestyle changes that society sorely needs to embrace (maybe just because it's easier to continue as normal...for now).

Make no mistake, oftentimes Johnson (post- and present-Zero Waste) and I seem to live in totally different universes, but there are a lot of people who live like she used to and I think it's impressive that she has managed to do a total 180 on her obscenely materialist lifestyle for the good of the planet. It shows that just about anyone can do a lot to reduce their waste and still live well (or possibly better than they did before). And I really like Johnson's efforts to make everything as accessible as possible. Her mantra of doing the "5 Rs" in order is a good rule of thumb that's easy for those new to Zero Waste to follow:
Refuse what you do not need.
Reduce what you do need.
Reuse by using reusables.
Recycle what you cannot refuse, reduce, or reuse.
Rot (compost) the rest.

I have a lot more opinions about specific ideas or attitudes in the book but, overall, despite the fact that much of this information is available for free online (including on Johnson's website) and she talks about much of what is in the book in her various speeches which can be found online, I do think this book is a worthwhile purchase. It provides a good general reference discussing a wide range of areas like how to be Zero Waste in the kitchen, bathroom, at work, with kids, when travelling, etc. There will always be tricky little bits that are peculiar to different people's lives, but I think this book pretty thoroughly discusses how to make different aspects of one's life Zero Waste (if not at least giving a great starting point for just about all situations). You might not use everything in this book, but there will be loads you can take away and implement in your life. Obviously, nothing happens overnight and Johnson tries to emphasise that making any effort at all is better than nothing, but there's always more that everyone can do. And there's no need for the journey to living more sustainably to be filled with pressure or guilt. Do it for you. Do it for the planet. Take it one step at a time. And remember how much you can actually do as an individual.

Although I tend not to like reading books over 150 pages on screen, I bought the ebook because how could I not? :') hah
Profile Image for Dar vieną puslapį.
338 reviews538 followers
April 13, 2019
Aš niekada nebuvau išprotėjus dėl ekologijos, rūšiavimo ir panašių dalykų. Tuo nesididžiuoju, bet ir vaidinti kažko neketinu. Viskas pasikeitė, kai gimė vaikas. Tuomet tapo svarbu daug dalykų ir kokį pasaulį paliksiu po savęs - vienas jų. Knyga “Namai be atliekų” į mano akiratį pateko jau senokai, bet eilė pribrendo tik dabar. Na ir ką aš galiu pasakyti- leidykla Dvi tylos, kuri ir išleido knygą, labai taikliai apibūdino savo leidžiamas knygas - jos skirtos žengiantiems su pasauliu ir ieškantiems tikrumo. Be to sakinys knygos gale suintrigavo - Bea Johnson, knygos autorė, su šeima per metus sugeneruoja šiukšlių, kurios tilptų į vieno litro stiklainį. O per kiek jūs su šeima pripildote tokią talpą? Per 1 valandą? Per dieną?

Leidinys kokybiškas - pradedant vizualiais dalykais, tokiais kaip popierius, maketavimas ir baigiant turiniu. Autorė su gera autoironijos doze pasakoja savo kelionę į zero waste - supaprastintą gyvenimą ir sumažintą atliekų kiekį. Praktinių ir labai naudingų patarimų daug. Ypač patiko filosofiniai autorės pamąstymai apie vartojimą, komerciją ir pan. Užkliuvo tai, jog visos knygos metu autorė teigia, jog toks gyvenimo būdas nereikalauja daug laiko ir visą save galite skirti tikriems dalykams: šeimai, savęs realizacijai, bet kartu atskleidžia kiek daug dalykų tenka daryti norint palaikyti zero waste sistemą: gaminti higienos, makiažo priemones, ieškoti kur apsipirkti nepažeidžiant savo principų ir pan. Iš kitos pusės - nereikia norėti, kad gyvenimo būdas pasikeistų per minutę. Į jį reikia įeiti ir pakeisti praktiškai visus savo įpročius.

Kaip ten bebūtų, manau kiekvienas bent kiek toliau savo nosies matantis ir mąstantis žmogus privalo perskaityti. Niekas nesitiki, kad 100 procentų pereisite prie gyvenimo be atliekų būdo, bet kažkurią dalį perimti tikrai galima ir bent taip prisidėti prie geresnio pasaulio ateities kartoms kūrimo. Bent jau mane ši knyga tikrai įkvėpė toliau domėtis ir keisti savo įpročius.
Profile Image for Miglė.
54 reviews18 followers
January 11, 2020
Su draugu jau prieš metus nutarėme labiau rūpintis mūsų planeta, apgalvotai pirkti daiktus bei maistą, atsisakyti vartotojiškumo, vengti plastiko, pirkti ekologiškus bei tvariai pagamintus dalykus, ir stengtis sumažinti savo CO2 pėdsaką, tad straipsniai ir knygos, parašyti 'low waste' ar 'zero waste' tema mus domino jau senokai.

Prisipažinsiu, jog kažkada knygyne pamačiusi šią knygą, pagalvojau, jog bus dar viena 'coffee table book' - na, kitaip sakant 'daug paveiksliukų, mažai informacijos', tačiau Kalėdų proga gavusi knygyno dovanų čekį ir ieškant, ką čia tokio nusipirkti, mano akį ir vėl patraukė ši knyga. Paveiksliukų šioje knygoje vos vienas kitas, o ir tie - juodai balti minimalistiniai grafikai. Visa kita yra tekstas. Daug teksto.

Turėčiau paminėti, kad knyga yra ekstremalus 'zero waste' pavyzdys. Autorė Bea Johnson gal ir nepasiekė utopijos, tačiau kartu su visa šeima yra labai arti jos. Jų priimti sprendimai nebūtinai turėtų būti perimti šimtu procentų kitų žmonių ir turbūt dėl kai kurių gana ekstremalių variantų šią knygą nesamone laiko dalis vertintojų. Nereikia tikėtis, kad visiems pavyks gyventi tokį gyvenimą. Ne visi mes turime tam sąlygas, laiko ir pinigų. Pati autorė knygoje pasakoja, kiek sutaupo laiko ir pinigų atsisakiusi savo buvusio gyvenimo stiliaus, tačiau su šiuo juos pareiškimu esu linkusi nesutikti. Skirtingose šalyse sąlygos skirtingos. Man tikrai daug daugiau užima laiko dviračiu numinti iki artimiausios 'zero waste' parduotuvės nei nueiti šimtą metrų iki vietinės parduotuvės, o dauguma produktų, kurie nėra supakuoti į plastiką, kainuoja tikrai daugiau (bent jau Kopenhagoje, kurioje gyvenu), nes paklausa nėra dar tokia didelė, o ir produktai visi dažniausiai ekologiški. Taip pat, ne visi turi galimybę patys gamintis siūlomas tvarias alternatyvas, o jau pagamintos 'zero waste' parduotuvėse kainuoja keturgubai brangiau. Toks, tad, mano 'public service announcement' ir pirmasis 'prisiknisimas'.

Jeigu reiktų įvertinti šią knygą vienu žodžiu, turbūt žodis 'patiko' mano vertinimą apibūdintų geriausiai. Nesu dėl jos pamišusi, tačiau nelaikau jos ir tiesiog vidutiniška. Norėčiau pagirti leidyklą Dvi Tylos už knygos kokybę - ji atspausdinta ant perdirbto popieriaus, sumaketuota stilingai ir minimalistiškai. Patiko ir redaktorės ar vertėjos pridėtos pastabos ir informacija lietuviams, nes knyga rašyta amerikiečių skaitytojams.

Knygoje galima rasti ne tik autorės asmeninių istorijų (dažnai perteiktų su humoru) iš jos kelionės link gyvenimo be atliekų, bet ir daugybę naudingos informacijos, sąrašų (mano draugai žino, kaip aš mėgstu sąrašus <3) bei - ir čia yra mano mėgstamiausia dalis - receptų, kaip pasigaminti tam tikras tvarias alternatyvas namie. Šioje vietoje aš kalbu ne vien apie maistą, bet apie viską nuo antakių dažų iki popieriaus. Nors ši dalis, kaip paminėjau, mano mėgstamiausia, čia turėčiau kai ką pabrėžti. Skyrius apie sveikatą, makiažo priemones ir panašius dalykus man nepatiko labiausiai, jame trūko daugiau mokslinės informacijos. Pavyzdžiui, žmonėms, besiskundžiantiems rėmeniu, buvo patarta išgerti vandens su valgomosios sodos šaukštu. Visiška nesąmonė. Taip pat, buvo siūlomas dantų miltelių receptas, kuriame irgi pasitelkiama soda, t.y. dantys valomi be fluoro. Žmonėms, kurių dantys genda, fluoras yra svarbu. Dantų pastų be fluoro mada atsirado ir prigijo Amerikoje, nes jų geriamajame vandenyje jo yra per akis, kitaip nei daugelyje šalių Europoje, todėl lietuvaičiai ir lietuvaitės, nebijokite dantų pastos su fluoru.

Jei nežiūrėti į tą vieną skyrių, knyga man suteikė daug įdomios ir naudingos informacijos bei įkvėpė dėl planetos pasistengti dar labiau. Dar jos nebaigusi skaityti pradėjau naudotis kai kuriais knygoje esančiais patarimais ir receptais. Skyrius apie vaikus ir mokyklą man (dar) neaktualus, tačiau smagu matyti, jog nepamiršta ir ši dalis. Nors knygą autorė pataria perskaičius padovanoti bibliotekai ar perleisti draugams, manau, kad ją dar kol kas pasiliksiu savo namų bibliotekoje vien dėl receptų, lengvai suprantamų ir skaitomų sąrašų bei naudingų patarimų.

Knygą rekomenduoju visiems, kas rūpinasi mūsų planetos ateitimi, savo CO2 pėdsako mažinimu, tvaresniu gyvenimo būdu, bei visiems, kuriems tiesiog smagu būtų pasmalsauti, kaip gi po paraliais ta autorė gyvena, jog per metus sugeba surinkti tik vieną stiklainaitį šiukšlių...
Profile Image for Evin Ashley.
185 reviews6 followers
July 20, 2016
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...you can sprinkle it on the oily roots of your hair, massage in, and brush. Enjoy the added volume!" (p. 91)
"Supplemental options for women -- Sugaring: Waxing with sugar originated in ancient Egypt and is still used in Arab countries today. Also referred to as halawa (meaning 'sweet'), it can be a dessert or a great alternative for those adept at waxing! It is tricky but well worth the effort." (p. 92) H*LLAWA NO.
Re: clothes, "Stay away from colors or patterns that are too casual. Acid washes and tie-dye rainbows are restrictive; they cannot be dressed up for a formal event." (p. 124) Really? I'm kind of curious to prove her wrong.
"How did your kids give up Oreos?" (p. 183) She never answered this question.
"The fear of being different is almost universal and especially pervasive in children. Refusing requires tremendous courage, but kids build lasting confidence when they meet challenges like this, and they become examples for others. Our boys find it difficult to say no to free candy, but they have learned..." (p. 192) I am beginning to hate this woman.
Re: Trick-or-Treating on Halloween -- "I am not at all against the trick-or-treat tradition. The freebies are, after all, the force behind consistent turnouts. Here are items to consider: A box of organic raisins, a whole fruit, a licorice root stick..." (p. 223) I would egg this woman's house.
"Does this seem overzealous? Well, it isn't." (p. 264) Oh really?

I started to read this book after I realized I may be stuck indoors for a while, and/or cut off from resources. It helps you realize "where there's a will, there's a way". Also, good to know black sesame oil is a natural sunblock, and I definitely want to try an at-home recipe for kohl eyeliner. But, humans leave an indelible mark on this planet, and I got the feeling guilt from her former life drove her to want to erase herself.
Profile Image for Erin.
394 reviews4 followers
June 5, 2017
This book walks the line between useful advice and things that are incorrect or completely ridiculous. The author seems to think that previous civilizations didn't have waste (not true, what do you think archeologists find?) and also notes items that she believes can be composted which cannot if you are intending to actually use the compost in your edible garden. She also notes using a glass container in the shower for shampoo which seems to me to be a rather significant safety hazard.

My biggest gripe with this book, however, is the statement that her household is close to zero waste. It's a logical fallacy. She "refuses the grocery receipt" when purchasing items which just means the grocery store has to throw it away and on numerous occasions she notes buying things that someone else has already removed the packaging on (buying floor models for instance). Just because she's not physically throwing away the trash does not mean that it was not created. I would much rather accept the store receipt and recycle it or shred and compost it myself than have it go in the store's waste basket.

One additional quibble with the book is that the author's children were older when her family began this journey and as such, there is very little content related to the rearing of small children. You may be able to give a teenager a glass lunch container or a locally-source pottery plate but I wouldn't try it with a 2-year-old. She cannot help that this is her family experience but I would have appreciated some research on the subject rather than a couple of paragraphs of opinion that come across as a judgmental shoulder shrug.

Reducing our consumption and voting with our dollars by selecting products that adhere to the values we support are valid but when the message is obfuscated with weird and self-deluding behaviors (refusing hostess gifts because they're not packaged in recycled materials), I do not find the message to be as useful or as strong. There are some good idea lists in here but overall, this book is very California with all the self-indulgent perspective and bountiful access that provides.
Profile Image for Yuliia Koshyk.
496 reviews26 followers
June 15, 2019
Книга, після якої ваш шопінг ніколи не буде колишнім! Якщо ви не зміните свої споживацькі звички на 100%, то 1-2 зміни запровадити точно захочете!

Беа Джонсон — активістка руху "нуль сміття". Вона змогла перетворити свій будинок на оселю без відходів: шляхом помилок і експериментів ця дивовижна жінка навчилась організовувати приготування їжі, дозвілля і гігієну на процес, який не залишає сміття. Взагалі. Їхній будинок настільки мінімалістично облаштовано, що ця родина здає його в оренду, коли їде на відпочинок!

І справа не в сортуванні сміття, не в тому, що частині людей важко донести до сміттєвого бака обгортку від цукерки. Головна мотивація Беи — це ціла філософія, що пропагує відмову від багатьох речей. Коли ми приходимо в супермаркет, наші очі розбігаються від кількості товарів: на нас дивляться сотні марок продуктів, косметики, іграшки, хімії. Насправді людина не потребує й половини того, що пропонують нам полиці!

А подібний стиль життя для авторки — це як виклик системі. Щоразу навчившись обходитись без зубної пасти чи пудри, вона відчувала себе переможницею, людиною, щл вирвалась з кола "попит/пропозиція".

Це неймовірна історія! Я щиро захоплююся такими людьми і навіть придбала собі торбинки для купівлі фруктів/овочів без пакетів, хоч це і краплинка в океані. Я справді з тих. кому важко змінити свої звички і мені не соромно. Я це визнаю. Але я стараюсь, краще щось, ніж взагалі нічого.

Ця дивовижна книжка відчиняє перед вами двері оселі без сміття: ви зазирнете в кожну кімнату, на кожну полицю, дізнаєтесь багато секретів та рецептів. Беа ділиться складнощами, з якими стикається людина, обираючи такий тип життя, розкує про свої експерименти, про те, як її кидало в крайнощі і як вона впоралась з цим.

Найпрактичніший нон-фікшн, прочитаний за останній час. Суперечлива, корисна, цікава, щира, написана з любов'ю до природи і людей, ці книга вас і здивує, і шокує. І я б радила всім! Справді всім. Просто щоб знати про ці проблеми трішечки більше, ніж ми знаємо і робити трішечки більше, ніж ми робимо.
Profile Image for Jurga.
36 reviews23 followers
January 20, 2019
How to save water? To pee to your compost or water with it your citrus plants. What should I use instead of toilet paper? Your hand and some water. And how to choose your dog? - "We also chose his coat color to match the floor so that his shedding hair would not show." Seriously?
Profile Image for Kristen.
16 reviews6 followers
January 5, 2019
I would have thought that this book and I would get along really well. Over the last year I dove deep into the Zero Waste lifestyle and then had to let up a little to be realistic about my time and efforts. I think this book does offer some good ideas, but I really related with the more basic stuff that can be found almost anywhere now. The really detailed nitpicky things just did not speak to me as being realistic, and because they comprised the majority of the book I got really bored and frustrated at many points during my reading.

Bottom line, this author does not recognize or acknowledge her privilege, even going as far to say, "Others say that we do too much, that our lifestyle is unrealistic or extreme. How is it unrealistic if I am living it? We coped with criticism by believing that what we were doing was just right for us." Ok, that's great and all, but when people say your lifestyle is unrealistic, they're not saying it's unrealistic for you. They're saying it's unrealistic for most people. It's easy to do all this stuff when you make a living from doing all this stuff. The rest of us have jobs to go to and may have to grapple with partners or families that are not on board.

This is what got me the most: some suggestions in this book are downright IRRESPONSIBLE. The camping section especially.

One suggestion is to trench compost your food scraps at your camping site. NO! No no no no no. Do NOT do this. There is a concept called Leave No Trace — everything that you take into nature you should take out. There are reasons for this, including not introducing foreign organisms into soil, not providing a foreign food source to wildlife, and more. For more information you can go to this website: https://lnt.org/blog/out-here-its-tra...

Another suggestion is to purchase wood before leaving home. Also NO! Wood should not be brought in from other areas because of risk of infestation of a disease or insect on that wood. If you've spent any time camping there are signs everywhere for this. Purchase your wood in the same general area that you are camping, whether from inside the campground or at a nearby gas station or private residence that is selling it. For more information about this you can go to this website: https://www.dontmovefirewood.org/how-...

At the beginning of the book Johnson laughs about how she tried collecting moss to use instead of toilet paper. Ok, it didn't work and she didn't continue doing it. But let's just talk about this for a second because I think this is a perfect example of some of the intense ignorance in this book.

Just because something exists in nature does not mean that it is a better alternative than the thing being produced. Moss is a delicate species and there is a proper way of collecting it that does not put it at risk of extinction. It is in no way a sustainable alternative to toilet paper, but why let research or logic get in the way of your zero waste journey??? This website has some excellent information not only on properly collecting moss, but why maybe it's not a good idea to do so in the first place: https://extension.psu.edu/forest-moss Some of those reasons include the fact that there are dozens of flowering plants that commonly grow intermingled with moss; more than 70 other mosses and liverworts are inadvertently harvested; liverworts, fungi, lichens, cynobacteria, and dozens, if not hundreds, of invertebrates are also removed with moss; and salamander habitat is disrupted — one species of salamander has even been found inside collected moss bags. Not to mention that mosses grow very slowly, between 0.25 to 2.5 inches in length annually. It could take anywhere from 10-20 years for that moss you pulled up to wipe your ass with to regenerate. Maybe she should stop using this as a "funny" antidote in her books and talks and recognize her own ignorance on the issue.

Lastly, the candle freezing myth. Freezing candles unequivocally does not make them burn slower. Test done here: https://www.uscandleco.com/does-freez... While this one really does no harm, it again just shows how little research is done on many of her zero waste solutions. It's like Johnson decides that this is the right way to do something and then digs her heels into the ground and no one can say differently. I saw her give a talk in Chicago and anyone who dared challenge her point of view on something (or even just ask for more detailed information because something she said didn't make sense or add up) was just scoffed at and made to feel stupid for not getting it.

Don't let this book turn you away from the idea of Zero Waste. Just because Johnson coined the term doesn't mean that she is the best resource for information. There are plenty more approachable and well researched blogs and books out there. I highly recommend anything coming from Kathryn Kellogg: https://www.goingzerowaste.com/ and others.
Profile Image for Ana.
628 reviews83 followers
October 28, 2014
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, mais elle les raconte avec de l'humeur et sens de l'auto-critique. À la fin, elle a adopté ce qu'elle pense en vaut la peine dans leur cas particulier.

Ce livre m'a rendu plus conscient de mes habitudes de consommation: il a dejá changé certaines pour le mieux et j'espère que dans l'avenir il va changer encore plus.
Profile Image for Linda.
68 reviews1 follower
October 3, 2013
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!
Profile Image for Liliia Gordiienko.
37 reviews21 followers
September 16, 2019
Це настольна книга кожної оселі, сім'ї, кожного свідомого жителя планети. Зміни починаються з себе, навіть коли здається, що ти - найменший атом Всесвіту, а твої дії не відчуває навіть мураха.

Книга ідеальна для тих, хто ще не розуміє:
▪️як же це, жити екологічно-дружньо;
▪️як на практиці принципи zero waste застосовувати у сучасному швидкоплинному житті, де маніакальна пристрасть до пластику, хімії, фастфуду переросла у єдиноможливий вихід встигати все;
▪️з чого почати і до чого йти;
▪️скільки і яких витрат потребує перехід на "життя нудь відходів"

Щиро раджу книгу Беа Джонсон кожному для читання і перечитування.
Profile Image for Kvitoslava Svitlytska.
96 reviews5 followers
March 31, 2020
Спочатку книга мене демотивувала, бо в Україні в десятки разів складніше здати сміття на переробку. Але насправді вся суть в тому, щоб не було, що здавати на переробку, тобто не купувати і не користуватись тим, що потім стане сміттям, що, зрештою, теж не просто.
Автор сама визнає, що досягнути рівня нуль відходів неможливо, але суттєво скоротити - цілком реально.
Складно було приймати той факт, що автор багато продуктів та речей робить власноруч, на які я не матиму ні часу, ні натхнення, але декілька ідей я взяла собі на озброєння.
Загальна ідея книги - чудова.
Дуже імпонує заклик авторки, що нам для життя не потрібно багато і треба міняти свої звички як для збереження земних ресурсів, так і задля власного здоров’я.
Мені завжди хочеться мати все, на будь-який випадок життя, але насправді багато без чого можна обійтись, користуватись колективно, обмінюватись, позичати, брати в оренду тощо. Тепер я спокійніше ставлюсь до покупок і кілька разів обдумую, що нести додому і чи не перетвориться це на сміття.
Авторка закликає перейти до мінімалістичного способу життя, щоб менше впорядковувати і менше прибирати. Одними словом, ідея класна, і варто сфокусуватись на цьому.
Книга поділена на розділи, в кожному з яких детально описано всі аспекти життя: від закупівель продуктів, сортування та компостування - до способів робити подарунки, формувати свій гардероб, подорожувати та багато іншого.

Трохи лайфхаків:
- краще запускати машинку два рази підряд в один день, ніж в окремі дні - для економії електроенергії
- замінити всі хімічні засоби для прибирання на оцет та соду
- виділити на постійній основі місце для розхаращення, бо це вічний процес
- купувати натуральні вироби з металу, дерева, скла
- купувати на вторинних ринках одяг з натуральним складом
- додавати до зрізаних квітів по столовій ложці оцету та цукру, щоб вони довше постояли
..і ще багато всього.

Попри те, що я вже давно сортую сміття, компостую органіку, купую у свою тару, маю ще дуже-дуже багато в чому покращувати свої навички.

Також долучайтесь до fb сторінки авторки: Zero Waste Home

Окрема подяка перекладачці, яка адаптувала книгу до українських реалій та запропонувала альтернативі рішення.

Ставлю 5 зірочок, щоб заохотити людей читати книгу.
Треба це діло з чогось починати і пристосовувати до своїх можливостей. Бо нічого не робити - також не варіант. Можна навіть почати з прочитання цієї книги) бо наразі нічого кращого і детальнішого на цю тему не зустрічала.
Profile Image for Maryna Ponomaryova.
481 reviews31 followers
February 4, 2019
Ця книга вразила мене абсолютною відданістю авторки справі. Звісно, коли вирішуєш взяти активну участь у боротьбі проти сміттєутворення, необхідно братися за це з усіх сторін. Книга містить вступну частину про перехід до zero waste авторки (власний досвід), а потім розподіляється на розділи про те як зменшити своє сміттєутворення та повторно використати/переробити речі у різних частинах дому: кухня, ванна, офіс, спальня, а також про життя за межами дому, що робити на свята і так далі. Тут ви знайдете рецепти як створити власні миючі засоби, конкретні ресурсозберігаючі поради типу покладіть цеглину в бачок зливу, схеми як пошити багаторазові менструальні прокладки, посилання на корисні ресурси, навіть те, як пояснити сусідам що на Хелоувін діти бажають отримати солодощі без упаковки. Так, напевно найбільше мене вразив розділ про дітей: у авторки є двоє синів, і вона знову ж таки дає конкретні поради щодо того, як виховувати дітей у русі zero waste. Це все може здатися безумством, це і є безумством у нашому схибленому на споживанні світі. Але все формує звичка. Колись я обожнювала бараняче м`ясо на шпажках, та тепер не їм м`ясо, і не можу собі уявити щоб колись повернулась до цього. Обізнаність, сила волі, сила звички, пошук альтернативи, відданість добрій справі - це найважливіше. Це плавання проти течії кожен день цілий день без перепочинку. Я схиляю перед Беа Джонсон капелюха. Такими людьми треба пишатися.
Profile Image for Natalija.
1 review1 follower
December 30, 2018
Erm... i don’t usually write reviews, but have to justify one star here. Im fully supporting the anti consumerist and sustainability culture, but this one is a prime example of an eco-radicalist. Maximising the amount of right turns when driving and sending emails with smaller files to save the energy - im sorry, but its losing the sight of forrest for the trees. One star for the efforts, zero for common sense. Im not gonna make my own paper out of my kids drawings or burn an almond for an eyeliner, im sorry
Profile Image for Andi M..
99 reviews25 followers
May 8, 2018
A lot of commenters that gave this book low review said that this book came across as pretentious and snobby to them, but I thought Johnson was very reasonable with how she presented this fountain of information that she has collected after years of experimenting and living this alternative lifestyle. She understandably states that this lifestyle is most likely a gradual incorporation and people can do what is possible in their own time and depending on their means and their communities offerings.

While there is a definite guilt factor that comes along with reading this book, I think it's equal parts inspiring. Personally, I'm not going to make myself crazy getting rid of everything in my life that creates trash right away, but I am inspired to focus on incorporating more reusable items in my daily life (metal water bottle, stainless steel or bamboo straw, cloth napkins, tote bags, travel bamboo utensils, bamboo toothbrush, etc.). I am fortunate to live in a city that has committed to being "zero waste" so composting is extremely easy for me. Luckily, my city also has an amazing bulk store, so going waste free in the food area would be pretty easy for me and therefore an attractive option. Obviously that isn't going to be the case in many places, but I'm glad I'm aware of this option now.

In the end, I'm grateful for the unique knowledge that Johnson has collected over the years of living this lifestyle and has now shared with her readers. She covers A LOT of aspects of "zero waste" living and even though I won't use it all (don't currently have kids or a dog) I still found it creative and therefore interesting. I am coming away with a lot of helpful tips from this book so I'm giving it 5 stars. :)
Profile Image for Gina.
129 reviews1 follower
June 4, 2013
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 aim for zero waste (or for her family, one quart-sized container per year), there are still a lot of very simple ways to cut down on our own individual waste, and that reduction could be beneficial not just to the earth, but also our pocketbooks and our health. I won't be feeding my dog garlic to prevent fleas (isn't garlic poisonous for dogs?), but I can wash and re-use my sandwich bags more.
Profile Image for Eibhileen.
63 reviews
April 1, 2016
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.
Profile Image for Andreia.
76 reviews6 followers
July 27, 2018
Cinco estrelas para um livro inspirador.

Pode parecer radical.
As suas sugestões podem parecer idealistas ou irrealistas.

No entanto, a premissa base, que leva ao Desperdício Zero, é a simplificação da nossa vida. Na base está a ideia que muito aprecio: consumir menos, trabalhar menos, viver mais!

No fundo, quanto menos precisarmos/desejarmos, menos consumimos, menos dinheiro e TEMPO gastamos.

Recusar, Reduzir, Reutilizar, Reciclar e Compostar para sermos mais livres e mais felizes. Para Ser em vez de Ter.

Li este livro e lembrei-me do filme Fight Club e da poderosa mensagem do ex-presidente do Uruguai, José Mujica.

Para além da teoria, é um livro cheio de dicas para estarmos mais atentos à nossa pegada ecológica e fazermos o que conseguirmos para reduzir o lixo que produzimos e os recursos que consumimos.
Profile Image for Charlotte.
179 reviews72 followers
March 24, 2016
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 manque de temps est quand même un gros frein. En travaillant toute la journée, je sais pertinemment que je ne peux pas faire autant de chose qu'elle. Ou alors je passe tout mon temps libre à faire les courses dans 10 endroits différents, les repas, les cosmétiques maison, le jardinage, etc. (Et la lecture alors ?? :D)
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