Debbie's Reviews > Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste

Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson
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it was ok
bookshelves: 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.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
May 21, 2013 – Finished Reading
May 29, 2013 – Shelved
May 29, 2013 – Shelved as: nonfiction

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

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message 1: by Cindy (new)

Cindy Brown Ash I lived in the same town as the author, and have children the same ages, so I crossed paths with her from time to time. I always found her a little unpleasant looking -- never saw her smiling. She does have a lot of admiring friends, even so. However, though I won't be making my own make up, it takes only about two minutes to make mustard, which is easier than I expected. Ditto with stuff I thought had to be bought, like yogurt or hummus. When the community supports a zero waste lifestyle, as Mill Valley does, you can make a huge amount of progress in reducing your footprint. Now that I've moved to Maryland, though, it's much more difficult (though still possible to do a lot, if you're motivated). Bea doesn't appreciate how privileged Bay Area living is compared to the rest of the US, and she is not my favorite writer about this lifestyle, but she does have a number of usable tips if you're interested in trying them out.


Mary Absolutely agree with the lack of awareness apparent in the book for the privilege the Bay Area affords. Many suggestions in this book were downright hilarious to me, a rural Texan. Even so, I found it inspiring to think about the kind of place I want my town to be and the activities it should support. Whereas I'd certainly have tons of like-minded friends in California, I have the opportunity to be the catalyst for change here. That feels hard and scary, but it also feels lucky, amazing, and unique.


message 3: by Cindy (new)

Cindy Brown Ash At my office my coworker was using disposable styrofoam plates and plastic forks every day. I mentioned the zero waste thing and she has radically changed just her lunch habits, and how many disposables at home. That's a big deal! I'm hoping that by the time my kids are my age the mainstream US approaches waste, etc. the way it's treated in Northern California. That would be real progress.


message 4: by Ksenia (new)

Ksenia I don't think she's living in a fantasy. She lives where she lives to make her life style easier. Yes, it is nice that her husband's job allows it. She has friends, because she has a conviction and sticks to it even when it is difficult. People respect that. Once you understand thoroughly how our actions affect the environment (and in turn us, since we are part of that environment) then you feel compelled to do what's right. For example (to take it to an extreme), if you knew that a certain store made clothing from slave labor (yes, that's a reality), would you still buy clothing there? My guess is that the guilt would be so strong that you'd make sacrifices (in time or money) to shop elsewhere. The reason Bea does what she does is because she is convinced. Mary and Cindy -- bravo!
As a side note, Bea is French. As a European myself, it is not culturally appropriate to be "smiley", so I'd give here the benefit of the doubt.


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