Zero Waste: A Beginners Guide

Zero Waste living is a movement which is growing in popularity worldwide. To understand how and why so many are choosing this lifestyle a great place to start is online.

At the helm of the online revolution is Bea Johnson. A married mother of two, based just outside of San Francisco California; Bea has been living a zero waste lifestyle for the last 9 years. Since setting her family on a zero waste path in 2008 Bea has released a book- ‘Zero Waste Home, The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying your Life by Reducing your Waste’- been invited to speak at universities across America and appeared as a guest on BBC Breakfast and the Today show. She was even named “The Priestess of Waste-Free Living’ by the New York times!

Her mission is to inspire others to make small changes in the way they consume, to lower their waste and- according to her- raise their enjoyment of life. For many people it seems to be working!

Bea stresses that her transition to zero waste has not been based on lack or deprivation, she has in fact gained from it, both financially and in terms of experience. This is one of the most exciting things about a zero waste lifestyle.

A key criticism of most healthy eating, natural beauty products and eco-friendly lifestyles has often been the high price tag, putting them out of reach of many consumers.

However, cutting down on waste can in fact save us all money! For example, on grocery shopping alone we all stand to immediately save 15%, as this is the mark up placed on most products to account for packaging. This is why the zero waste lifestyle can be such a great leveller.

So where do we begin with cutting down our waste? According to ‘The Zero Waste Home’ you simply need to stick to the 5 R’s:

Refuse

Learn to say no to all the extras we are handed as consumers; junk mail, paper napkins, flyers, disposable coffee cups, plastic cutlery, straws… the list is a long one!

Reduce

This can be more difficult. In our consumer society it is easy to mindlessly consume, clothes, food, personal products and before we know it, we have a house full of things we barely use. By reducing your possessions and making conscious decisions when buying, it is possible to streamline your home and mind whilst also boosting the second-hand market, which is so important to the zero waste movement.

Reuse

Our lives are now full of disposables, from washing up sponges or cotton pads to razors. Not only does this boost our waste dramatically, it’s also making life more expensive for all of us! Investing a little more in reusable products such as stainless steel razors, cotton bags for shopping and reusable water bottles will undoubtedly save money long term!

Recycle

The key to low waste living is in fact to recycle less. If we are consuming fewer packaged goods we should also need to recycle a lot less than before. It is worth pointing out here that most plastics can only be recycled once before going to landfill so they are extremely important to cut out altogether!

Rot

Compost! Did you know that when you send your kitchen and garden waste to landfill it produces the powerful greenhouse gas methane? The key to preventing this in your own compost pile is by keeping the matter exposed to oxygen. By allowing this, the process of aerobic decomposition will produce carbon dioxide instead, a far less damaging by-product!

These simple steps not only help you to feel better about your personal impact, but as you can see they can also be great for your bank balance. Maybe this is why so many are becoming converts worldwide.

A whole host of new zero waste bloggers are now sharing their tips and stories worldwide.

Here are some of our favourites to get you started on your zero waste journey!

Bea Johnson
Wasteland Rebel
Kathryn Kellogg
Trash is for Tossers
The Girl Gone Green
Zero Waste Path

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published