Zero Waste

Recycla recently read an interesting article about a family that produces virtually no trash. They have a blog called The Zero Waste Home and she encourages you to check it out. This family of five almost never takes out the trash because they have virtually none. Here’s how they do it:

Originally, the Johnson family lived in a larger home and owned a lot of stuff. They downsized to smaller digs and less stuff and have never looked back. Food is bought in bulk using their own containers, so there’s no packaging to deal with.They compost food scraps and recycle as much other stuff as possible.

Like the Eco Women, the Johnsons clean with cloth rags instead of paper towels.  They do not  use cotton balls, tissues, or Q-tips. (Toilet paper comes wrapped in paper, which is compostable or recyclable.) They also make their own cleaning products instead of buying them.

Even the three sons are involved: The kids’ toys are limited to a certain number of bins and if they get something new, they have to donate something old. For birthdays, family members usually give experiences, such as tickets to shows or events.

The Johnsons don’t claim to be perfect Eco Warriors — for example, they fly to France every year to visit family. They do have two cars. And, sometimes, they do have trash to deal with.

Recycla admires the Johnsons’ commitment to living so simply. While she is an avid Eco Warrior herself, she’s not sure she could be quite so committed to the cause.  She’s trying, however, and hopes to pare down her family’s possessions in the coming year.

What about you? Could you live with less? Could you produce less trash? Tell the Eco Women what you think.


12 thoughts on “Zero Waste

  1. I could be that committed–my husband cannot. But we’re throwing away less than ever before and I am clicking on the link to learn how to improve!

  2. I’m getting closer to no waste. On a really good week there’s no trash, minimal recycling material, and whatever the gardener put out for the city compost (which won’t work in my compost). I (conveniently) have no children in the house any more, which helps. I’ve pared down in many areas; less clutter means less work. But I would not even consider living without Q-Tips.

  3. And my situation is the same as Melissa’s; my husband really supports me in this life style – up to a point.
    We’re talking about chickens. I’m working on him. Cross your fingers.

    • You’re lucky. Pete was talking about BEES until I reminded him that Ellie’s allergist is concerned that she might have a bee allergy. (We can’t test for it because the test is really painful.) Ergo, no bees. Ever.

  4. Thanks for the link…I’ve been looking for more ways to reduce waste…I just started cleaning with clothes and using cloth napkins. I still do use q-tips and cotton balls and paper for cleaning the outside of the toilet…I just can’t bring myself to use cloth to clean pee and then throw it in the laundry with the cloths I use to clean the kitchen counter.

    • I just can’t bring myself to use cloth to clean pee and then throw it in the laundry with the cloths I use to clean the kitchen counter.

      I wash my dishrags and dish towels with my sheets in hot water. I throw other cleaning rags (floor, etc) in a bucket and when I run out of cloth rags (about once every three months), I do a load of just rags in hot water and bleach.

  5. We’re a family of five also, and since we bought a kitchen trash compactor, started composting, and recycle all our paper (kids bring home so much paper!), plastic, and metal, we put out a LOT less trash than we used to. We have a large rolling trash can, and it used to be full every week. Now it’s rarely more than 1/4 full, and some weeks it’s empty. I also stopped buying milk and juice boxes for kids’ lunches and replaced them with stainless steel water bottles. And we use reusable cloth sandwich and snack bags instead of zip lock bags (I bought ours from We could definitely live with less stuff. I’m working on it–Goodwill is getting to know me! Thanks for the info you provide!

  6. Our family of four produces so little garbage waste that it takes me months to fill a baggie that the newspaper comes in. Once you get in the routine it is really quite easy. Even if we all did a little it would make a difference!

  7. Our city offered smaller garbage bins in exchange for waiving the garbage fee. The fee was small (I can’t remember it, that’s how little) but we said yes anyway. It’s toughest now, going through winter, because my compost bin is frozen and full. But this bin, half the size of the old, still never overflows. We must be doing okay.

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