The must-read book on becoming zero waste and simplifying your life

It’s week eighteen of 52 Weeks for Earth, the 52-week challenge to gradually reduce your impact on the planet. I’ll keep this week’s post brief, as the challenge is to do some reading on the subject of reducing you waste; specifically, I encourage you to read the book, Zero Waste Home by Beu Johnson.

And reread it, and memorise it. At least, that was my experience when I read this easy-to-read guide to simplifying your life by reducing your waste. As the book jacket says, “Zero Waste Home is a stylish and relatable step-by-step guide that will give you the practical tools to help you improve your health, save money and time, and achieve a brighter future for you – and the planet.”

You’ve probably heard of the “3 R’s; Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”, but in fact, Johnson argues that recycling should be a last resort, where thoughtful consumption reduces the reliance on this expensive and uncertain process. Instead try the “5 R’s” outlined in the book:

  1. Refuse (what you don’t need)
  2. Reduce (what you do need and cannot refuse)
  3. Reuse (what you consume and cannot refuse or reduce)
  4. Recycle (what you cannot refuse, reduce, or reuse)
  5. Rot (compost the rest)

This model prevents the consumption of things that would be destined for landfill, like plastics. After consuming less, and choosing quality reusable products, the waste you’ll be left with will be either truly recyclable, (like glass), or organic materials you can breakdown in your home compost system, (like wood).

I know the idea of zero waste might sound pretty farfetched right now, but we’ve already begun the process through the last 17 weeks. This book can show you how simple it actually can be, for even the busiest people.

Zero Waste Home will provide further advice on a lot of the topics we’ve already covered on 52 Weeks for Earth, such as cutting out single-use plastics, reducing food waste, composting, and buying in bulk. It will also help with future week’s challenges, like becoming a minimalist, finding planet-friendly alternatives to products, cutting out other forms of waste, and more. You can definitely say a lot of the 52 Weeks Challenge was inspired by what I’ve learnt from this book.

Following the principals of the book, I encourage you to check out Zero Waste Home from your local library, borrow it, buy it second hand, or get the e-book, before buying a copy new. And if you do buy it new, you can lend it to all your friends when you’re not using it.

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