Zero Waste Home

Have you ever had a book challenge you about your life style choices? This is what happened when I read Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson. Her family of four (herself, her husband, and two teenage boys) generate just over a litre of waste a year! Everything else is refused, reused or recycled. The one litre figure boggled my mind. While I won’t probably go to the extremes of the Johnson family to reduce my waste footprint I am going to seriously think about what I buy, in terms of the items composition and packaging in the future.
For example

  • How much waste is in your plastic toothbrush? – I’m currently investigating where I can purchase wooden toothbrushes in New Zealand.
  • How much waste is in the organic shampoo I use? The bottle is recyclable and made from recycled plastic but I’m going to try using a bar of organic soap to wash my hair once I finish my next bottle of shampoo – I wonder how that will work? Will my hair be all oily as a result? Well, if it was good enough for my Grandmother (I can still remember her washing her hair with a bar of soap) surely it can be good enough for me!
  • The plastic wrapping that is around all your food items – cooking ingredients etc. Next stop the local organic bulk bin supermarket where I have just found out they will let you bring your own glass containers to refill :).
  • Takeaways, such as my favourite Indian, they are always supplied in plastic containers…and while I currently reuse these containers to freeze meals etc they never last very long…I wonder what the local Indian restaurant would think if I turned up with my own container to collect my takeaways? You can but try!
  • I’m also going to try inventive wrapping of Christmas presents this year…continuing in the time honoured tradition of reusing last year’s Christmas paper (Yes, I did carefully open my presents last year rather than ripping them open) but also using fabric to make gift bags – there is plenty of fabric in the stash :), choosing my presents more wisely so they might not even need wrapping, I might even try making my own Christmas paper from double sided used paper!

For more ideas either borrow the Zero Waste Home book from your library, purchase it as an e-book or visit


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