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3.9 out of 5 stars
Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 25 July 2013
I started reading this book and firmly believed I had found another worthy addition to my collection BUT as I read on the book began to irritate me beyond reason and long consideration after I had finished it has led me to the 2* review category.

There are some good ideas in this book - but nothing really new that hasn't been touched upon in other books and it is worth a look at if the topic interests you,but several things "pushed my buttons" and spoilt the integrity and credibility of her message. Things such as:

- If the author's basic premise is to cut waste to preserve resources, why does she still use a clothes dryer?
- Is it not wasteful to switch on the oven and then turn it off to raise a pizza base?
- How does getting rid of clothes just because you're "bored" with them help reduce waste?
- As others have commented - it is very much targeted at the US market: you try going and getting a quarter of boiled ham at Tesco and getting them to put it in your glass jar!
- One of the most satisfying lines in "Getting a life" by Blix and Heitmiller was that they promised not to tell you how to use your dryer lint. Guess what?......
-If we are simplifying life to save time (another premise) - why would you spend it trying to set fire to almonds to make eye makeup?

Each section ends with a "recap" of the main points (some of which weren't actually part of that chapter anyway and bear no relation to it - they're just shoehorned in). This part is written in a very didactic way that felt like it should have been a Powerpoint presentation!

Overall not impressed - but I've saved the best 'til last: the book is covered is some kind of rubberised / plasticised material which is really creepy to the touch. Ugh!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 20 November 2013
I really enjoyed this book and how it made me stop and think. Too often the green movement forgets that a) hemp and tie-dye are not for everyone, b) people are busy and c) and an organic lifestyle seems too expensive to the average person. Bea hits the spot by showing how a green life can be time- and money-saving and stylish and I liked her humorous take on things. Some key points she makes are that recycling alone isn't really the answer that we need to cut down what comes into our homes ('refuse'), that when it comes to rubbish, there is no such thing as 'away' and that by hoarding items we are stopping them from being used by someone else. I do understand comments from other reviewers that some things are "US-centric' , e.g. if you're outside of London it is nigh impossible to buy food, apart from fruit and vegetables unpackaged and in 'bulk'. However it doesn't stop me looking for these things and the book has made me reassess how to cut down on packaging and disposables in the home. The take home message that memories not things are important certainly struck a chord in the approach to Christmas.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 12 August 2013
I began this book with an open mind, and at first I thought that what the author had undertaken was pretty impressive. And let's be fair, it is impressive. She has thrown a tremendous amount of energy, time and imagination into figuring out how to reduce (potential) waste from entering her home. She outlines how she went about it, and she goes into quite a lot of detail. If you want a zero waste home, this is the book for you.

I had several problems with the book:

The first problem is that as a UK reader, it's difficult to put most of this into practice, because we simply don't have the bulk shopping opportunities here that there clearly are in the US.

My second issue is that despite the undoubtedly admirable nature of the efforts made by the author to reduce waste in her orbit, one can't help thinking that someone with this much creative energy is wasted in a single domestic setting. I would have preferred to read her story about how she designed and manufactured an eco-effective product of the type described in 'Cradle to Cradle' one of the books that she says was an inspiration to her. The impact of her efforts, and the efforts that she's exhorting others to make, are small and unlikely to make the sort of difference that is needed to prevent catastrophic climate change.

I'm not sure I have time to consider whether I keep bathroom products that were given to me as gifts because I feel guilty about getting rid of them or whether I want it because everyone else has one. That doesn't seem to me to be a good use of anyone's time. While I can see that reducing 'stuff' is a good idea, the author's approach often seems more akin to purging. I'm not sure that I need to be rescued from my moisturiser just yet. It seems to me that the author may have been confused at times about whether what she was attempting to create a minimalist home or a zero waste one.

There were a lot of suggestions that might result in very tiny savings in time: store the bread knife with the bread, toss salads with your bare hands (really?), and how to give yourself a zero-waste pedicure (really? really?).

The final thing that really got up my nose were the comments about how to handle diapers/nappies. As the mother of two children who wear nappies, I felt quite irritated to read 'If I had a baby at home, I would reduce by implementing elimination communication (EC) a method that can get a baby diaper free before his first birthday'. If you're not familiar with it, it's a method of communicating with a baby so you know when they need to go and can hold them over the toilet. That's totally fine for her to suggest, but it feels a bit holier-than-thou to have her say what she would have done, given that her children are out of diapers.

So I would say useful and interesting, but also quite annoying.
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on 24 March 2014
I do not usually write feedback on Amazon but this book is something quite special.
It has changed my life and how I look at not only waste but what things are important.
Bea includes recipes, solutions, advice, background, and general explanations.
Although I have not yet managed to become zero waste quite yet I am on the way and there is most certainly a rewarding feeling from doing so.
Therefore I thoroughly recommend this book not only as a starter but also a continuing guide to zero waste and minimalism living.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 28 July 2013
This book was ok but a little "over the top" and as it is writen for the American market not really "workable" in the rural British area I live in. I had hoped for more usable ideas but the basic 5 Rs in fact are common sence once they have been highlighted. An interesting read.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 4 July 2013
I started reading Bea's blog because I couldn't get over how... beautiful she could make simplicity seem. Previously, despite having a theoretically ecological outlook, I associated green living with greasy hair and cluttered houses smelling of patchouli and rotten vegetables. Bea's home, light, clean, stylish, made me think that zero waste living was more than a sensible choice... it was a desirable choice. I've been making efforts towards zero waste for 6 months now and not only do I get the satisfaction of a positive impact on the planet, I genuinely feel lighter, healthier and happier. There hasn't been a single downside to adopting this lifestyle and I would encourage everyone to read the book and learn from Bea's beautiful example!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 4 July 2013
Bea Johnson's book really sets a goal, which I suggest, for many is unrealisable. Nevertheless it gives us all a goal towards which we can strive to reach. Her mantra of five words for dealing with the prevention of waste, which she calls the 5 Rs in order, is snappy: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot (=compost). I am making an attempt to put her ideas into practice, but I fear that it will be some time before I will reach her exacting standards.

This is an excellent book if you are at all concerned with the amount of waste we all discard and will go a long way to giving ideas as to how to reduce it.
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on 25 November 2013
This book was generally OK, the author touched on some good points but it felt very much about the author rather than about the practice of actual zero waste.

Nice little read for a rainy afternoon but not perfect if you're looking for an informative read on turning waste free, especially if you're a Brit and have little access to places to buy bulk/free of packaging. (Unless you want to spend a fortune).
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on 17 June 2015
To be honest how you rate this book depends on where you are in the world and what you expect to get from it. While provides a valuable shift in thinking the ideas or sloppily put together and the book is riddled with errors. Though the writer is French - an editors eye would have helped. Much of the advice is also difficult to follow if you live deep in the city with limited space and without a car or garden.
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on 20 August 2013
I downloaded this book following an article in RED magazine. Whilst much of the information is currently available, I found this book to be an inspiring one-stop-shop with lots of tips and ideas for embracing a clutter free, Zero Waste lifestyle. I only wish there were more resources for the UK, but will start to implement change today....
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