The Johnson family: a zero waste life is posible

In Europe, the average of waste production for a family is about 2 tonnes a year. Knowing that only 25% of this waste is recycled, we can imagine the impact on environment, health and economy. That is why, the statement that the best way to manage waste is not producing it, is, nowadays more accurate than ever.

But, Is a Zero Waste Life posible?

waste of 2014From California, the Jonhson family shows us that the answer to this question is yes.

In 2007, after moving to a smaller house, Bea, the mother, decided to start living a simpler and zero-waste life. Since then, the Johnson family has been reducing their garbage production and they now produce, in a year, just enough to fill a 1-liter canning jar.


Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot.

To achieve this zero waste life, they have followed the five Rs system: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot (Compost). And Bea insists on the fact that recycling must be the last resource. Here are some practical examples of this way of life:

  • Most of our waste comes from packaging, so Bea buys in bulk. She carries her own shopping bags and containers and fills them in the grocery. Then, she stores them directly in the fridge and the pantry.

  • When she needs to purchase clothes, she chooses second-hand shops, so that she gives a new life to the products she buys.

  • Bea is now an expert in reusing and DIY. For example, she made shorts from a pair of short pants and with the spare legs, two useful bags. She also reuses old bed sheets to make grocery bags.

  • Lastly, Bea insists on the importance of not accumulating stuff and refusing the useless things or the ones we don’t need. For instance, she always refuses the “free-pen” given in conferences and explains that by accepting this free-pen, usually not needed, we create a demand to make more.

Zero waste and quality of life.

Even if this lifestyle may seem a little complicated, for the Johnson family it has just become daily habbits that have had a very positive impact on their quality of life:

  • First, it has been very positive on a financial level. Bea ensures that there is a significant financial incentive to this lifestyle as she has calculated a 40 percent reduction in household expenses since they started it.

  • It is also very interesting in terms of freedom as it makes your life easier. For example, her minimalist wardrobe is the perfect way to spend less time shopping and then choosing what she is going to wear, and she concludes saying that ” At the end, we always wear the same clothes”.

  • Moreover, thanks to this lifestyle they can resist to over-consumption and to all those unnecessary needs that companies and brands create for us. Thus, they live more in accordance with their values and their genuine needs.

  • Bea also notices that this is a more healthy way of life. As food is not in contact with plastic anymore, it keeps its natural flavous and is not contaminated by plastic.

  • Finally, Bea insists on the fact that by changing her consuming habbits, she is no more tempted to go shopping and she can spend more time (and money) on more and truly awesome and fulfilling experiences. Experiences that are the core to your happiness and well-being.

If you want to know more about the Jonhson’s Zero Waste Life you can folllow Bea’s Blog Zero Waste Home or buy her “Zero Waste Home” Book.

Zero Waste Home US ORIGINAL

Author: Marion de La Porte


2 thoughts on “The Johnson family: a zero waste life is posible”

  1. Bea Johnson is my personal hero! She’s so determined and has achieved my dream lifestyle! Thank you so much for sharing this, it was great to read this!

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