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,, on which she documents her low-impact life.

Read the full story here.


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About jensera

Jennifer Harrington is a Toronto-based illustrator, writer and graphic designer. She illustrated the best-selling children’s book series 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' which includes the titles 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' 'The Night Before a Canadian Christmas' and 'Canadian Jingle Bells.' She is also the owner of JSH Graphics, a boutique graphic design agency that specializes in print and web advertising. With her latest project, Eco Books 4 Kids, Jennifer has partnered with illustrator Michael Arnott to create a series of ecologically-themed ebooks for children. Her next book, 'Spirit Bear,' is due for release in the Summer of 2013. Jennifer offers two different school presentations for her 'Moose in a Maple Tree' collection, an illustration demonstration and a Christmas concert series, which can be booked at She will be taking bookings for school readings of 'Spirit Bear' beginning in October 2013.

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