The No Trash Family
When Bea Johnson decided her family should stop having any trash to throw out, her husband, Scott, says, “I thought she had lost her mind.” No trash? Just about. Since 2006 the Mill Valley, Calif., couple and their sons have cut down their garbage output so that they now produce only enough in a year to fill a 1-liter mason jar. (The average American leaves behind 1,051 lbs. annually.) Everything else? They reuse, recycle or compost.
Gone are Styrofoam trays and plastic wrap-Bea brings glass jars to the butcher, fish and deli counters to fill with meat, fish and cheese. Cereal or cookie boxes with plastic liners? Banned; she makes her own or buys from bulk bins. Rags replace paper towels, washable pads for cotton balls and toilet paper-well, they still buy toilet paper but recycle the tubes, along with any other cardboard that finds its way home.
Why live this way? “We set out to simplify our lives, and it turned into something good for the environment,” says Bea, 37, an artist (pesky unrecyclable butter wrappers are one medium) who also runs a decluttering business and writes a blog, thezerowastehome.com, on which she documents her low-impact life.
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