Books Sustainability

Book Review: 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me for review by the publisher. In no way does this affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

101 Ways to Go Zero Waste

by Kathryn Kellogg

Age Group/Genre: Non-Fiction, Sustainability
Publication date: April 2nd, 2019
Publisher: Countryman Press
Pages: 256
Format: ARC

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Synopsis

We all know how important it is to reduce our environmental footprint, but it can be daunting to know where to begin. Enter Kathryn Kellogg, who can fit all her trash from the past two years into a 16-ounce mason jar. How? She starts by saying “no” to straws and grocery bags, and “yes” to a reusable water bottle and compostable dish scrubbers.

In 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste, Kellogg shares these tips and more, along with DIY recipes for beauty and home; advice for responsible consumption and making better choices for home goods, fashion, and the office; and even secrets for how to go waste free at the airport. “It’s not about perfection,” she says. “It’s about making better choices.”

This is a practical, friendly blueprint of realistic lifestyle changes for anyone who wants to reduce their waste.

My thoughts

101 Ways to Go Zero Waste is marketed as ‘an accessible guide to personal waste reduction’, and I couldn’t have described it better myself. It gives you all the hard facts without being preachy, and all the steps you can take to transition to a zero waste lifestyle are laid out in a way that makes them sound very doable! Dividing the big goal of ‘going zero waste’ up into small, actionable steps make it a fun personal project to work on, one step at a time.

Many people who are interested in zero waste first pick up Zero Waste Home, the 2013 book written by zero waste guru Bea Johnson. Although that is a good read (I rated it 4 stars), it is very dense and the print is tiny. I would not describe it as a good beginner’s guide. 101 Ways is everything I was hoping Zero Waste Home to be: positive, simple, and accessible — and including a lot of (not-so-fun) facts backed up by science.

I’ve read quite a few books and blogs about plastic reduction and zero waste, and I was pleasantly surprised that I actually learned some new things from this book.

Beside inspiring me to make my next zero waste swap, it also reawakened my motivation to pick up litter off the street every time I walk my dog, knowing now that aluminium cans are infinitely recyclable without any loss of quality. It’d be a waste to just leave them lying there when they could become new cans!
And I’ve discovered that used tissues can go in the compost bin (at least in my area). I use a lot of paper tissues because my nose is permanently runny (thanks hayfever and frequent colds!). Knowing my snotty tissues can go into the compost makes me feel much better every time I have to blow my nose. (And no, handkerchiefs are not an option. They would be soaked an hour into the day.)

Here are some not-so-fun facts! Did you know that…

  • … produce starts to lose nutrition and flavor after it’s been picked? “Less travel time means a better tasting and more nutritious product.” Buy local!
  • … it takes 8 gallons of water to make one paper plate? “People often use paper plates to try and save water, but it’s important to look at the waste and resource upstream when making decisions.”
  • … every plastic toothbrush ever created still exists?

If you are in any way interested in reducing your (plastic) waste, this is the book for you.

And if you’re not interested in that, this is also the book for you because it will make you realize how big the problem really is. Zero waste and a circular economy is something we should all strive for.

Quotes

Every purchase you make is a vote for the kind of world you want to live in.

When making a purchase, ask yourself: Who made this? Do I support that? Where did this come from? Can I repair this? What’s going to happen to this after I’m through with it?

You may enjoy this book if you liked…

  • Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson
  • Plastic-Free by Beth Terry
  • Goodbye, Things by Fumio Sasaki (My review)

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