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Zero Waste Home – living with less, living more

Bea Johnson has inspired hundreds of thousands of people to adopt waste-free living by following the 5R’s…

On meeting Bea Johnson, you can’t help but be drawn in by the warmth of her personality and the energy and passion she has for Zero Waste. 

Bea and her family adopted a zero waste lifestyle in 2008 and people laughed at the concept of applying zero waste principles to the home.

The doubters were proved wrong and Bea and her family embraced a zero waste lifestyle, producing a mere pint of trash a year since 2008.

Bea and her family produce a mere pint of trash a year. Photo Credit: Jacqui J. Sze

Dubbed “The Mother of Zero Waste lifestyle movement” by CNN, Bea has a global following and has been featured on TV shows and in publications all over the world.

Bea and Zero Waste Home have a global following

She has been widely featured in the global media and has accomplished close to 400 talks in seventy countries and six continents, including two dozen international speaking tours in English, French, and Spanish, three TED talks, and addresses at Google, Amazon, Starbucks, the European Parliament, NATO and the United Nations. She is a French native living in California. 

Bea visits Kaş

In April 2019, Bea was invited to attend a zero-waste exhibition in Istanbul where she would meet first lady, Emine Erdoğan, leader of Turkey’s zero-waste project.

It seemed like too good an opportunity to miss and Bea was invited to visit Kaş by Marie Dervaux, of the Hideaway Hotel in Kaş, who is also an active member of the Eco Kaş project.

On March 27th, Bea took a detour to Kaş where she took part in a beach clean at Patara before enjoying dinner with members of the Eco Kaş and Eco Kalkan projects.

Bea then delivered her visually rich and upbeat presentation to a full house in the Kaş Kültür Evi, during which she shared her personal journey to achieving Zero Waste by applying her 5R’s (Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot) with humour and passion.

Refuse – what you do not need

The foundation of Bea’s zero-waste philosophy. It refers to “refusing” to buy, purchase or otherwise consume things that are nonessential. Among them are single-use plastics (including those convenient toss-away bottles of water), promotional freebies, junk mail, meals on planes (bring your own) – even business cards. After all, she says, what we refuse will not end up in our personal waste stream. Just say no!

Reduce – what you do need

To Bea, anything beyond what is necessary or required for comfort is excess. She recommends wholesale decluttering, including eliminating duplicates of every kind, as well as paring back on home accessories, and cleaning products and cutting your wardrobe by up to 80%, the amount of clothing you have for ‘what if’ situations!

Bea’s entire wardrobe of 15 pieces fits into a carry-on and gives her 50 stylish outfit options. No more pondering over what to pack for a trip, you can take everything! 

15-piece wardrobe, 50 outfits! – find out more here

100 Tips to get to Zero – your FREE starter guide to waste-free living

Here are Bea’s 100+ tips to drastically reduce your household’s waste.

Reuse – by using reusables

Swap disposables for reusables (start using handkerchiefs, refillable bottles, reusable shopping bags, cloth napkins, rags, etc.).

Avoid grocery shopping waste by taking reusable bags, and jars for items like cheese and deli foods.

Buy secondhand where possible. Clothing swaps are becoming increasingly popular and there are many charity shops where you can buy good quality second-hand items. 

Another critical “reuse” practice is swapping out disposable products for reusable alternatives. For example, toss your plastic containers, foil and other like items and use reusable glass jars instead.

Recycle – what you cannot refuse, reduce, or reuse

Think of recycling as a last resort. Have you refused, reduced, or reused first? 

Question the need and life-cycle of your purchases. 

If you must buy new, choose glass, metal, or cardboard. Avoid plastic: Much of it gets shipped across the world for recycling and often ends up in the landfill, or worse, the ocean. 

Rot – (compost) the rest

Find a compost system that works for your home and get to know what it will digest.

Turn your home kitchen trash can into one large compost receptacle. The bigger the compost receptacle, the more likely you’ll be to use it freely.

Living with less – Living more

“The Zero Waste lifestyle might, at first sight, be about reducing as much household trash as possible, but what you ultimately discover is a simple life, a life based on experiences instead of things. It’s the opposite of what we would have expected it to be; It’s improved our lives so much that we could not envision going back to the way we used to live. Making room in life for what matters most is what waste-free living is really all about” – Bea Johnson

If you want to know more about Zero Waste Home, have a look at Bea’s website and blog. 


Buy the book

Pick up a copy of the book – Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste

Prepare to be amazed!

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