Borrowing books from my local library is something that I should do more often. My library has an online catalogue that you can view and reserve books ahead of time so that they are ready for you to check out when you get there. I was actually borrowing another book when I looked up zero waste books and came across 101 Ways To Go Zero Waste by Kathryn Kellogg and decided to borrow it as well.
I didn’t read anything up about this book, I had no idea who Kathryn was. When I first opened it and discovered she was American I’ll be honest my first thought was this book isn’t going to be of any use to me. I thought it would be referencing shops or practices that they do in the US. I have Erin Rhoad’s books, Erin is Australian, so I have local books that reference eco-friendly options near me. By reading the name of this book you would think it would be 101 tasks to do to live a “zero waste” lifestyle like swap this item for this item, it isn’t, instead it is 101 concepts or ideas to change your habits or actions therefor making relevant to anyone no matter which country they live in. It is similar to Erin’s book but at the same time different which made it enjoyable to read. Like with Erin’s books Kathryn’s tone isn’t that of a lecture but more of an explanation of the benefits of changing your habits, the book isn’t full of green washing guilt.
In Australia we have always recycled. I can remember collecting aluminum cans when I was a kid for my school who would get money for them. Kerbside recycling where the garbage man would come in special recycling trucks to collect paper and bottles started in the early 90’s. You can recycle a lot more now than you could before in your kerbside bin, different shops take back other items which can’t go in the kerbside collection. You can get cashback per back per item if recycle bottles and cans at special collection points, which is great if you a car to get there but not an option for all. Recycling is really pushed now, which is great that there are more options and more people doing it, but it isn’t the magic solution that is implied to be. That is the biggest message I took away from this book. Recycling is great but we need to think reduce and reuse more with recycling being the last option and not the first.
The nitty gritty. The book has a small introduction section and then is broken into 10 chapters
- Change Starts Here – Beginner Steps
- Kitchen and Cooking
- Bathroom Products and Personal Care
- Becoming A Conscious Consumer
- Work, School and Out To Eat
- Travel and Transportation
- Special Events
- Zero Waste and Beyond
- The Big Picture
Some of the chapters are based on areas of the home whilst others are situations you may encounter. The book addresses how waste can occur in each area or about issues you may not have thought and what ideas you can try to overcome the waste issue. In chapter 9 it even discusses options for burials including an item called a reef ball where your ashes are mixed with concrete then placed in the ocean to build a habitat for fish. I had never heard of that idea but it is fascinating, it is available in Australia I have since discovered.
Each of the 101 ideas are on a separate page so you can read them in bite size chunks. Some ideas are only a page long whilst others are like mini chapters themselves for example 89. Gifts Ideas is 9 pages long. It is really easy to read and once you start you want to keep reading. I read this in just over a day in between doing a heap of chores around the home. I’d pick it up and read a couple of ideas and then think about them as I was doing my chores. 30 mins before I needed to start dinner so I sat and read instead of watching tv or playing on my phone. As the book is more ideas or concepts based it got your brain thinking of how you could incorporate that into your life.
Prior to reading this I thought zero waste living was putting as little in your rubbish bin as possible. I now understand it is more a lifestyle which intertwines with minimalism, sustainability and even to a point frugalism. It is about being more conscious of the decisions you make. The book acknowledges that you will never be 100% zero waste, it is impossible. It encourages you to be more mindful in your actions and habits. Instead of looking at dealing with waste product at the end, how do you prevent it from happening at the start. Look at how you consume products from big things to little things.
Before I had even finished the book I knew I wanted a copy for our home so I ordered a copy of it from my local bookshop. It is a book that I want to reference back to in the future it. There is a lot of information in it. Reading it the first time I had ideas pop into my head of changes I could make. I have started to change things. Over the weekend instead of tossing out the serviettes that came with our takeaway dinner I kept them aside to use if we need a paper towel. We don’t use a lot of single use paper towels these days as we use reusable ones but on the rare occasion that we do, we can grab a servette. I accidently broke my phone charger (it got sucked up in the vacuum cleaner) My phone has had a cracked screen for months so my first thought was ok time to get a new phone but by the time I reached the shops I’d thought about it and only purchased a new charger. The crack isn’t impacting my phone, it is still very functional, so I only purchased the item I really needed instead of replacing the entire thing.
I’m not pretending to be perfect, I still have a lot of single use products in my life that I am trying to find solutions for. This book is another tool to help me.
3 thoughts on “Book – 101 Ways To Go Zero Waste”
The book sounds very interesting. I’ve read a lot of books about minimalism and reducing consumption and waste. I’ll keep a look out for this one though.
I think you will find it an interesting read. There might be some things you are already aware of but I’m sure there is additional information or ideas you haven’t come across before
Sounds like a great book!