The Modern Zero Waste Family

Bea Johnson – one of the most fascinating women I have come across in some time. Bea lives a Waste-Free lifestyle. Yes, waste free, as in her family of FOUR only generates a quart-size jar of waste per year! Bea is the best-selling author of Zero Waste Home and  The New York Times dubbed her “Priestess of Waste-Free Living.”

bea jar

See that little mason jar she’s holding? That contains all of their trash for the year!

For the Johnson family, they have only one ‘garbage’ day per year. Bea and her family arm themselves with reusable water bottles, reusable jars, grocery tote bags and other cloth bags wherever they go. She buys groceries in bulk equipped with her bags, jars (for wet items like meat or oil), and bottles. She uses 100% recycled and unbleached toilet paper, she buys soaps package-free, she makes her own exfoliators, and uses home-made tooth powder instead of store-bought toothpaste! She even makes her make-up from scratch!

Their motto: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot (and only in that order)

It’s so hard to imagine this lifestyle for many people, but the Johnson family live a very stylish and modern life. Bea loves fashion, but naturally does not believe in fast fashion.  So, she got rid of all the clothes she didn’t wear and now all of her clothes can fit in a carry-on suitcase. She believes that less is more, not only in the amount of clothes she has, but in every aspect of her life. I have the utmost respect for her and her family. I wouldn’t be able to go full on zero waste based on my circumstances, but hearing stories like this help me, and hopefully many others, to reduce the amount of waste we produce every day.

Take a look at some photos of Bea’s home!



master bedroom

So why not start small? Don’t take that plastic straw next time you order a drink (in a reusable bottle!) or stop buying products that are disposable, say like paper towels (maybe this one isn’t so ‘small’)?

If you read my previous post “Can You Go Plastic Free For 31 Days?,” you’d know I already tried going without plastic for one month and I failed quite a few times in just 31 days. Bea’s story is an inspiring account of a family living with too much to having just enough. Since the Johnson’s are waste-free, you can imagine how much money they save every year. Instead of accumulating material things, they spend their money on experiences that are so much more valuable.

If you check out Bea’s website, Zero Waste Home, you can read up on her story and her 100 tips for living a waste-free lifestyle.

She also just went to Burning Man…. Which is a dream of mine!


Much Love,