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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 [Format Kindle]

Bea Johnson
3.5 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)

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Zero Waste Home


Not so long ago, things were different: I owned a three-thousand-square-foot home, two cars, four tables, and twenty-six chairs. I filled a sixty-four-gallon can of trash weekly.

Today, the less I own, the richer I feel. And I don’t have to take out the trash!

It all changed a few years ago. The big house did not burn down, nor did I become a Buddhist monk.

Here is my story.

I grew up in the Provence region of France, in a cookie-cutter home on a cul-de-sac: a far cry from my father’s childhood on a small farm, or my mother’s upbringing on a French military base in Germany. But my dad was dedicated to making the most of his suburban tract of land. In the warm months, he would spend all his free time working the garden, true to his farming roots, laboring over growing veggies and quenching the soil with his sweat. In the winter, his attention would move to the garage, where drawers full of screws, bolts, and parts lined the walls. Deconstructing, repairing, and reusing were his hobbies. He was (and still is) the kind of person who does not hesitate to stop on the side of the road after spotting a discarded vacuum cleaner, radio, television, or washing machine. If the item looks repairable to him, he throws it in the back of his car, brings it home, takes it apart, puts it back together, and somehow makes it work. He can even repair burned-out lightbulbs! My dad is talented, but his abilities are not unusual for the region. People in the French countryside possess a certain kind of craftiness that allows them to extend the life of their belongings. When I was a child, my dad took the drum out of an old washing machine and turned it into a snail trap, for example, and I remember using the washer’s empty shell as a (rather tiny and hot) playhouse.

Through my young eyes, my home was a modern version of Little House on the Prairie, a TV series I watched religiously in reruns as a kid. Though we lived in the suburbs, and my two brothers and I were not as helpful as the Ingalls brood (my older brother even had a phobia of the dish sponge), my dad was the handy type and my mom the accomplished homemaker on a tight budget. She prepared three-course meals for lunch and dinner. Just like Laura Ingalls’s mom, my mom’s week was organized around church, cooking, baking, cleaning, ironing, sewing, knitting, and seasonal canning. On Thursdays, she scouted the farmer’s market for deals on fabric and yarn. After school, I would help her mark sewing patterns and watch her turn cloth into elaborate garments. In my bedroom, I emulated her ways and created clothes for my two Barbie dolls out of old nylons and gauze (the latter came from my parents’ visits to the blood bank.) At twelve, I sewed my first outfit, and at thirteen, knitted my first sweater.

Apart from the occasional fraternal fights, we had what seemed a happy family life. But what my brothers and I hadn’t perceived were the deep rifts between my parents that would ultimately turn their marriage into a sad divorce battle. At eighteen, ready to take a break from psychological and financial hardship, I set off to California for a yearlong au pair contract. Little did I know then that during that year I would fall in love with the man of my dreams, the man I would later marry, Scott. He was not the surfer type whom young French girls fantasize about, but he was a compassionate person who provided me with much-needed emotional stability. We traveled the world together and lived abroad, but when I became pregnant, my yearnings to try the American soccer-mom lifestyle (as seen on TV) brought us back to the United States.


Our sons, Max and, soon after, Léo, were born into the trappings of my American dream: a three-thousand-square-foot contemporary home, on a cul-de-sac, complete with high ceilings, family and living rooms, walk-in closets, a three-car garage, and a koi fishpond in Pleasant Hill, a remote suburb of San Francisco. We owned an SUV, a huge television, and a dog. We stocked two large refrigerators and filled an industrial-size washing machine and dryer several times a week. That’s not to say that clutter ever crammed our house or that I bought everything new. The thriftiness that I inherited from my parents led me to shop thrift stores for clothes, toys, and furnishings. Nevertheless, on the side of the house, an oversize garbage can collected leftover house paint and mountains of weekly refuse. And yet we felt good about our environmental footprint because we recycled.

Over the course of seven years, Scott climbed the corporate ladder, making a very comfortable living that covered semiannual international vacations, lavish parties, a rich diet of expensive meats, membership to a private pool, weekly shopping trips at Target, and shelves of things you use only once and then throw away. We had no financial worries, as life rolled by effortlessly and afforded my Barbie-like platinum-blond hair, artificial tan, injected lips, and Botoxed forehead. I’d even experimented with hair extensions, acrylic nails, and “European wraps” (rolls of Saran wrap tightly wound around my body while I rode a stationary bike). We were healthy and had great friends. We seemed to have it all.

Yet things were not quite right. I was thirty-two, and deep down I was terrified at the thought that my life had settled and set. Our life had become sedentary. In our bedroom community, with large avenues and strip malls, we spent too much time in the car and not enough on foot. Scott and I missed the active life and roaming the streets of the capitals we had lived in abroad. We missed walking to cafés and bakeries.


We decided to relocate across the bay to Mill Valley, a village boasting an active European-style downtown; we sold our house, moved into a temporary apartment with just the necessities, and stored the rest, with the mind-set that we would eventually find a home to accommodate my Moorish decorating style and a whole lot of matching furnishings.

What we found during this transitional period is that with less stuff, we had time to do things we enjoyed doing. Since we no longer spent every weekend mowing our lawn and caring for our huge house and its contents, we now spent our time together as a family, biking, hiking, picnicking, and discovering our new coastal region. It was liberating. Scott finally understood the truth behind his father’s words: “I wish that I didn’t spend so much time caring for my lawn.” As I reflected on the numerous dining sets I had acquired to furnish the kitchen nook, the dining room, and the two backyard patios in our old home, I also recalled a remark made by my good friend Eric: “How many sitting areas does one home need?”

I came to realize that most of the things in storage were not missed, that we had spent innumerable hours and untold resources outfitting a house with the unnecessary. Shopping for the previous home had become a (worthless) pastime, a pretext to go out and be busy in our bedroom community. It became clear to me that much of what we now stored had served no real purpose, except to fill large rooms. We had placed too much importance on “stuff,” and we recognized that moving toward simplicity would provide us with a fuller and more meaningful life.

It took a year and 250 open houses to finally find the right home: a 1,475-square-foot cottage built in 1921, with no lawn, a stone’s throw away from the downtown that we were originally told had no listings in our price range. Home prices were twice as much per square foot in Mill Valley as in Pleasant Hill, and the sale of our previous home afforded us half the house. But it was our dream to live within walking distance of hiking trails, libraries, schools, and cafés, and we were ready to downsize.

When we first moved in, our garage and basement were packed with furniture from our old life, but we slowly sold off what would not fit into the new small house. What we did not truly use, need, and love had to go. This would become our motto for decluttering. Did we really use, need, and love the bike trailer, kayak, Rollerblades, snowboards, tae kwon do gear, boxing and sparring gloves, bike racks, Razor scooters, basketball hoop, bocce balls, tennis rackets, snorkels, camping gear, skateboards, baseball bat and mitt, soccer net, badminton set, golf clubs, and fishing poles? Scott had some initial trouble letting go. He loved sporting activities, and he had worked hard to acquire all that equipment. But, ultimately, he realized that it was better to make decisions about what he truly enjoyed and focus on fewer activities rather than let golf clubs gather dust. And so, within a couple of years, we parted with 80 percent of our belongings.


As we simplified, I found guidance in Elaine St. James’s books on simplicity and revisited Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House collection. These books inspired us to further evaluate our daily activities. We disconnected the television and canceled catalog and magazine subscriptions. Without TV and shopping taking up so much of our time, we now had time to educate ourselves on the environmental issues that had been on our periphery. We read books such as Natural Capitalism, Cradle to Cradle, and In Defense of Food, and through Netflix we watched documentaries such as Earth and Home that depicted homeless polar bears and confused fish. We learned about the far-reaching implications of unhealthy diets and irresponsible consumption. We started to understand for the first time not only how profoundly endangered our planet is but also how our careless everyday decisions were making matter...

Revue de presse

“Bea Johnson’s book has allowed me to get even closer to Zero Waste than I was before I picked it up. Read it today. It will transform the way you view waste.”
(Ed Begley, Jr.)

Zero Waste Home is an amazing story of personal transformation. It compels us to recognize that our heedlessly wasteful ways are not gateways to prosperity and convenience, but barriers to a good life and a healthy planet. Bea Johnson has produced an invaluable resource.”
(Edward Humes, author of Garbology )

“Waste not, want not isn't about penny pinching. It's about gratitude and loving our lives. Bea Johnson doesn't just teach us to save the planet. She teaches us to save ourselves."
(Colin Beavan, author of No Impact Man)

“If you want inspiration and practical information... [Zero Waste Home] is powerful.”
(Natural Child World magazine)

“Clear, authentic, knowledgeable, helpful and a great read. Zero Waste Home will make a difference.”
(Paul Hawken, author of Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution<a class="title" href="

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 3053 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 306 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : B00ANTEVG2
  • Editeur : Scribner (9 avril 2013)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00A6CT012
  • Synthèse vocale : Non activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 3.5 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°31.316 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Commentaires en ligne 

5 étoiles
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Commentaires client les plus utiles
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Lecture intéressante 9 décembre 2013
Par sphinx
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Plein de trucs à grappiller, c'est un livre sur lequel on revient plusieurs fois.
L'auteur a fait des choix extrêmes mais je ne me suis pas du tout dit, "c'est trop pour moi", "ce n'est possibel que dans une banlieue bobo de LA" ou "elle est folle". Non, elle mène une expérience extrême dans une seule direction qui est l'étalon de tous ses choix : le "zéro waste". A chacun de voir ce qui dans cette démarche s'articule bien avec ses propres valeurs et possibilités (frugalité, moyens financiers, fait-maison, investissement en temps... ).
La morale me semble être qu'il faut regarder en face la réalité de nos choix de vie. C'est toujours une bonne chose de faire des choix conscient en matière de consommation.
Ce livre reflète un état d'esprit dont il est bon de s'imprégner, propose des trucs et force à réfléchir aux choix qu'on effectue inconsciemment et qu'on peut remettre en cause...
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1 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Décue .... 12 septembre 2013
Par colette
Dommage que ce livre ne soit pas en français .........Pourtant l'auteure est française. C'est un livre que tout le monde devrait lire.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.5 étoiles sur 5  116 commentaires
42 internautes sur 46 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Sprouting Practical Solutions to Global Crises 9 avril 2013
Par Cosmologist jisungah - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
This book is practical, beautifully written and deeply felt. There are wonderful tips, but I especially enjoyed the text's humanity. Bea is uncompromising and she does not flinch from exposing herself (although i follow her blog religiously, I did not know she used to own a SUV, had botox, 'upgraded' her wedding rings, etc.). Rather than 'judging' her, I feel relieved--because it permits me to accept my foibles and culpability instead of disavowing and repressing my waste-generation. I feel optimistic by the sight (and site) of this book. Totally galvanizing and useful. Love its connection to politics, family and everyday life; love that I don't feel alone or crazy in desiring idealistic transformation away from commodification, privatization, consumerism, etc. The tone is not didactic but stern and loving simultaneously. A more intimate companion to her stupendously fabulous blog. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Now, when is the cookbook coming out?
24 internautes sur 26 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Zero Waste Home 18 avril 2013
Par Heather - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
I must admit, I bought this book having never read the blog, or hearing a word about the author. My husband randomly asked me the other day how we have so much trash, and Amazon recommended the book to me based on browsing history, which I took as a sign and ordered it. It is a very informative book, and as quick a read as you choose for it to be. The sections are laid out very well so you can pick and choose what you'd like to read. I read all of the book except for the section on children which I skimmed quickly. I was actually pleasantly surprised by how many things mentioned in the book we already do, considering the comment on our trash situation. I know that our biggest waste is paper towels and this was very lightly addressed, but she did give some options for homemade reusable options which I fully intend to look into. I loved how open she was on their previous lifestyle and made it abundantly clear that the past doesn't matter, you shouldn't dwell on that, just do anything you can do to reduce your carbon footprint for the future which I appreciated. The author is very humble and open about their both good and bad experiences being "green." Not living in California or another super progressive city does have its limitations on ability to do some of the options mentioned. For example, I regularly purchase bulk items whenever possible, but in our area the only bulk items offered are nuts/flours/snacks/grains. Not soap, shampoo, or cooking oils or coffee. I completely agree with the philosophy that recycling should not be our best option. The most helpful part of the book is the resources information, compiled for ease of access. The resources included options for you to mail back items that are otherwise trash in most counties, websites and phone numbers to remove you from junk mailing lists, how to find bulk shopping in your area or even a website to find milk packaged in glass bottles in you area. The resources list is perhaps the most helpful to me in that it is one area, while it is all info you could find online, she did the legwork for you, so you have no excuse to not try to make a change.

I think this is a great book for anyone looking to make their routine a little more environmentally friendly. There is an in depth section on different types of composting options which would help anyone get started to figure out the best set up for them. The author makes it clear that she doesn't expect anyone to do more than they are comfortable with or that seriously interferes with life, which is nice. She also makes it clear that doing what she has done, which is further than most people will probably take the concept, is hard. I highly recommend the book for a casual read, I think I will send it to my mom, who could definitely use a little green in her routine. The only thing worth mentioning, and why I rated it four stars rather than five, is that aside from the resources, most of this is not new information to me, so for many people who would be looking at this book I would assume it is mostly a rehash of things we already know. Compost what you can, rid your home of chemicals, stop throwing away plastic, stop wasting your money on things you will throw away in a month or two because they are junk, stop buying things from companies you don't believe in, etc. With that being said, I am going to go online now look into some of the resources the author mentioned that I didn't know about.
11 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Optimistic and instructive without being preachy 14 avril 2013
Par Karo Karo - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle
I have been following the blog for about two years, and always enjoying the insights and advice. I bought the book thinking that it would just consolidate a lot of pre-existing blog posts. I was very wrong. The book is a much more in-depth and thorough look at how to make zero waste a feasible lifestyle.

The book is well organized into sections dealing with different areas of the home and life, so there is no need to read it in order. You can just skip ahead to the sections most relevant to you. The author's enthusiasm is evident throughout, and her research is incredibly thorough. She includes a plethora of resources to ease the transition to less and zero waste for anyone willing to try.

There are many books about environmentalism, sustainability, and adopting a greener lifestyle. What I love about this one, is that it makes unnecessary looking at statistics and studying the impact of excessive waste in more detail. It's understood that we know the impact is masses. Rather than overwhelm us with this information, the author chooses to focus on practical, actionable advice and strategies for incorporating meaningful changes into our personal lives. Her advice on reaching out to companies and government officials is also thoughtful, simple, and easy-to-follow. It's almost miraculous that a book about a lifestyle change that seems so extreme manages to sound so feasible and not intimidating.

There's a lot of great advice here, and I have a feeling I will be rereading and revisiting parts of this book for a long time to come.
10 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Life-changing! 14 avril 2013
Par asarno24 - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle
Love Bea, love her writing style, and love what I learned. So excited to start the zero-waste adventure and make it the routine in our household.
37 internautes sur 50 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 OK 19 mai 2013
Par Paula - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Almost everything in the book was and is on the blog, so for me it was a "re-read" that cost $15 and a lot of paper.
I do commend this family for their continued effort to reduce waste & they have a done a great job doing so, yet philosophically, I do not find their total lifestyle to be particularly eco friendly or real.
Regarding food, the recommendation is to reduce waste by buying bulk food. First of all, unless you are in California or a major city, your bulk bin options are probably few and far between, we'd have to eat nuts and candy if I depended upon them. In addition, many of the bulk foods are white flour based breads, pasta, cookies, etc. If it's between packaging and eating valueless food, I will choose packaging. Whole foods are just better for your heath, even if they come in a paper bag.
In addition, Bea speaks of coming to America and being obsessed with materialism, now changed to zero waste non consumerism. They don't make garbage... yet her home -which is stunning- is a showcase of top end appliances, remodeling, furniture, etc. Somehow I cannot believe that she found sub zero drawer refrigeration at a yard somewhere along the way someone has done some very high end shopping in the zero waste home.
There are also things that disturb me, like references to gas being better than wood... a fossil fuel, really?
Are those vinyl floors? And carpet? And plastic molded furniture?
What about eco friendly reclaimed flooring? Refurbished appliances? Furniture made from old barn boards, etc. I think people would learn more real information if they visited an eco village and you'll learn a lot more about saving the planet by living closer to it. And growing your own food. And using reclaimed building products. Etc.
Again, there are some useful ideas (reuse your grocery bags) but I think many of us in the "eco" world are already doing this, as well as using Earth friendly cleaners, etc.
It's a good experiment and there are many things to learn, but I don't think this is the answer to our ecological problems.
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