Book Recommendation: “Zero Waste Home”

*Originally published in 2015

I recently finished reading “Zero Waste Home” by Bea Johnson. I want to start by saying that this post is in no way sponsored, I just really think this book is a worthwhile investment. It was brilliant albeit slightly depressing to realise the state we have gotten to but mostly inspiring and informative and practically helpful. You might think this book is not for you because it is an unachievable goal that you don’t have the time, energy, patience or know-how for OR you may think it is not for you because you already recycle and compost and use re-usable shopping bags, you do your bit (and I was definitely a little bit of both) so I wanted to share some food for thought on why you should still give this book and a zero waste goal a chance in the form of five realisations the book inspired for me.

5. Recycling is not the answer. Obviously, recycling is a better option than landfill but it is still not ideal. Recycling takes resources, lots of resources that we don’t necessarily have to spare. We should be looking at other options first such as doing without, doing with something we already own, borrowing/trading, purchasing second hand and purchasing new only when unavoidable (free from packaging and made of the most eco-friendly resources whenever possible). Recycling should be a last resort, not the go to replacement!

4. You can recycle all manner of things these days, including a bunch from curbside collection BUT not all recycling is equal. Lots of plastic for example that claims recyclable status is then used to create non-recyclable items and therefore, destined for landfill anyway. We need more education and information about our options so we can make better informed choices!

3. When something is made for you, you lose sight of how simple it could be to make yourself. I will never forget the time as a child that I discovered scone mix was no longer available at my supermarket, I felt doomed! Yet soon I learnt that scones are simply flour, butter and milk — could not be easier. Because it was always just there, I’d never bothered to learn how to make it and when I did I felt like an idiot for not realising how simply I could do this myself. And many, many other things are just as simple to make; from mustard to house cleaner. Things aren’t made available just for our convenience, it is a business! Before buying we should be asking; can I do this myself?

5 Realisations from Zero Waste Home - Memoirs of a Childhood
Attempting to make our own curry paste blend.

2. Just because you cannot achieve zero, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to get closer! I’m a bit of a perfectionist, if I can’t do it spectacularly than why bother at all? I may as well quit before I start! Or perhaps you feel like you’re doing lots already and covering your bit but there is always some place we can improve and we need to. The world we depend on, depends on our action! And if we make the wrong choice, it is not the world that will cease to exist but us as a part of it as well as all the pieces we selfishly took down alongside us in the process. A small step is still better than no step. Let’s all keep taking little steps together.

1. The biggest realisation, though, was that it is achievable. Without huge amounts of cost or time or effort, I can do this! It really is much simpler than it seems when you try to imagine the enormity of all you will need to change and this book helps break it into manageable actions. I feel empowered and enabled, I feel capable.

Five Realisations from Zero Waste Home - Memoirs of a Childhood

I am so glad I picked up this book! This post is such a tiny spec in the wealth of knowledge and practical advice available within it. I don’t usually like to command others but seriously,  read this book! Our family is now embarking on our push towards zero, one small step at a time and I’d love for more to join us and the many others doing so already. The world is so incredible, we are privileged to be a part of it! Let’s treat it, with every action, accordingly.

Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have. — Margaret Mead

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  1. Great list from the book. I can’t wait to check it out. I wouldn’t mind though if you had affiliate links for books because it is an easy way to support you as a writer and this information is very helpful to me!

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