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10 Tips for Creating a Zero Waste Home

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10 Tips for Creating a Zero Waste Home

I do my part to recycle and bring my own bags for purchases, but I am far from producing zero waste. While lugging multiple recycling bins to the curbside every week it has occurred me that I have a lot of recycling for only one person. I never totally connected the dots that the goal should be to have a system where all of the wrappers, junk mail, jars and cans don’t enter my home to begin with!

I was recently inspired by a television show where Bea and Scott Johnson of Mill Valley, California talked about their Zero waste lifestyle. They produce the equivalent of a quart jar of waste per month for their entire family of four. Now that is pretty close to zero waste and a goal I am going to aspire to!

In a recent article about them in Sunset magazine, I was inspired by their commitment as a family to leave a lighter footprint. Their children are just as committed to the cause, and wrap their lunches in large cloths which they roll up and carry to school and reuse the next day. They have simplified their lives so completely that they are able to pack up on a dime and spend extended periods of time traveling and doing things they love. They are able to pay for the trips because of the 40 percent less they are spending on living expenses! They also rent their home while they are gone and use it as a teaching tool with detailed instructions for the renters on how they can create a zero waste lifestyle.

I yearned for the freedom from encumbrances that they have achieved, and the good feeling that comes from knowing my lifestyle is completely in alignment with my ethics about sustainability for the planet. I am inspired by their example to do more!

In Bea’s recent article in Yes magazine, she outlines 10 tips to help the average person get on board and move closer towards zero waste. Here are some of her great suggestions:

  • Refuse what you do not need.
  • Reduce what you do need.
  • Reuse by using reusables.
  • Recycle what you cannot refuse, reduce or reuse.
  • Rot (compost) the rest.

Next: More about Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot

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Read more: Conservation, Eco-friendly tips, Feng Shui & Organizing, Green, Home, Household Hints, Reduce, Recycle & Reuse, , , , , , ,

By Erica Sofrina, Author of Small Changes Dynamic Results! Feng Shui for the Western World

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Erica Sofrina

Erica Sofrina is an Internationally recognized Speaker and Teacher and Author of the book Small Changes, Dynamic Results! Feng Shui for the Western World. She is also a life coach and motivational speaker and is the founder of the West Coast Academy of Feng Shui. She has run a successful business as a Professional Organizer, Interior Designer and Certified Feng Shui Consultant for over a decade and resides on the charming coastal town of Half Moon Bay in Northern California. Find out more at

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Small Changes, Dynamic Results! Feng Shui for the Western World

By Erica Sofrina A Simple Guide to Feng Shui for our Western Lifestylesbuy now


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1:12PM PST on Feb 27, 2015

I have invented a paper towel solid waste reduction product that I am trying to get some feedback on and interest in order to find funding to help me develop industrialized and residential units for the mass markets out there so they can become available to waste reduction programs and environmentally concerned citizens and businesses. 3,000 tons of paper towel waste goes to the landfills every day in the US. My invention the I.C.T.S. dispenses individual cloth towels quickly and effortlessly as you can tell in my presentation video.

If you have time to check out my video to see if this product is something you would use in your home if one was available in the markets I would be interested in your feedback and if you do not have the time then if you could please forward my message to someone whom you think may be interested in knowing more about my paper towel solid waste reduction invention the I.C.T.S. “Individual Cloth Towel System” which dispenses sanitary (laundered) individual cloth towels that would be great.

I have enclosed a link to my funding site that has a video on it which goes into more details about my invention I believe it has significant practical applications worth considering. Thank you.

Video link to funding site:

12:20PM PDT on May 31, 2014

Very good tips. I'm started limiting my out of house shopping trips to two a month, which helps a great deal. You'd be amazed what you can live without if you have to, and once you've done without it for a period of time, you figure out how to do without it forever often.

2:19AM PST on Jan 30, 2014

It would be nice to have a character counter so we could know when we are running out of space... :)

- As for pens, we keep only those which can be refilled. Even some free of promotional pens are refillable. Long ago, we used up and recycled those that weren't, and nowadays we have only 5-8 refillable pens around the house, and won't buy or accept one which isn'r refillable.

There always different ways to improve and I'm always looking for them! :)

2:18AM PST on Jan 30, 2014

I have to admit I have a hard time with the "refuse" part. I have no problem in refusing flyers and any piece of paper that is handed to me in the street. I signed to a list to reduce junk mail years ago (and it worked - we barely get junk mail any more). But I will always accept free samples or gifts, since I know they are going to be used and appreciated. I will use them myself or give them to friends. For people that lives on a low budget, even a free pen or cosmetic sample means a saving, so I won't refuse what I know I can use or give to another.

Here are some of my tips:

- I receive many imitation jewellery as "free with your purchase" gifts. Most times I have the chance to refuse it or exchange for a more interesting freebie, but, when I accept it, I give to my young students which are very fond of them (and this way, they won't risk to bring real, expensive jewelry to the school, when it can easily get lost or even stolen).

- Same applies to products I don't personally use. Many times I have got a free eye mask or eye liner, and I have handed it unopened to friends or older students. Recently I was offered some free coffee capsules. I don't have a capsule coffee- maker, but accepted them and gave them to a friend who has one.

- Pet food companies are usually fond of giving away samples or even full-sized products. It's been a long time since I haven't bought snacks for my dogs and cats, since I've been able to get them for free.

- As for pens, we ke

8:25AM PST on Jan 27, 2014

Thanks for sharing.

3:56AM PST on Nov 24, 2013

The start of loving our home and ourselves

12:41PM PST on Nov 22, 2013

Good to see details - I appreciate the addition of ROT for composting to the standard advice.

3:16AM PST on Nov 22, 2013

Rrrrrrrr.....the R list is noted. Thanks!

3:12AM PST on Nov 22, 2013

Like those ideas!

4:38AM PDT on Aug 10, 2013

Thanks for the tips; I do most of these already, but there's always room for improvement!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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