Living trash cans

Published on September 29th, 2011 | by ziggy

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Top 10 Tips For a Zero Waste Home

Do you think you can reduce your annual trash to squeeze inside a single quart size jar? Well, Bea Johnson and her family did, and so can you. You probably already know half of what you need to do, but in this post, Bea Johnson spells out everything you need to do to achieve zero waste in your own home.

How to Achieve a Zero Waste Home

Creating a zero waste home is surprisingly simple. What’s most important is taking the initiative. Bea Johnson says:

I started by adopting reusable water bottles and shopping totes, but slowly took it further by replacing disposables with reusables (toilet paper excluded), shopping in bulk with cloth bags, bringing glass containers to the store for wet items (meat, deli, fish, cheese, oil…), and even testing more extreme ideas, like shampooing with baking soda and vinegar for 6 months. A year’s worth of our household solid waste now fits in a quart size jar.

What we discovered along the way is that the benefits of the zero-waste lifestyle go well beyond the obvious environmental impact. It has not only made us healthier (since the healthiest foods do not come packaged), but it has also saved us a great deal of money. Most importantly, we now have more time to do the things that matter most to us, like spending it with our kids.

Most of what it boils down to are not the three R’s, but five:

  • 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.

Simple enough, right? Check out Bea Johnson’s story for more tips for achieving your own zero waste household.

Image credit: Amaury Henderick



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About the Author

I'm a 26-year-old currently living at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage in northeast Missouri, an intentional community devoted to sustainable living and culture change. Things you might find me doing here (other than blogging) are building with natural materials, gardening, beekeeping, making cheese, candlemaking, and above all else, living simply. You can read about my on-going natural building projects at: http://www.small-scale.net/yearofmud



  • http://www.healthybeautysocial.com Green Beauty Girl

    Very impressive! Baking soda and vinegar for 6 months? Wow. I was just thinking about how to reduce waste in my household even more. Great tips.

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