Zero Waste with Bea Johnson

Full Frame

Bea Johnson 1

How much do you throw away each year? How about each day? The numbers are mind boggling. But what if the waste you produced in a single year fit into a quart size jar? That’s what one family of four is doing.

Zero Waste with Bea Johnson

Zero Waste with Bea Johnson

Bea Johnson takes “reduce, reuse, and recycle” to an entirely new level. She brings her own bags and jars to the grocery store, making sure to only shop in what she calls the unprocessed perimeter of the store.

Bea Johnson takes “reduce, reuse, and recycle” to an entirely new level. She brings her own bags and jars to the grocery store, making sure to only shop in what she calls the unprocessed perimeter of the store.

“This way of shopping is a more human way of shopping because it forces you to have a contact with the person behind the counter,’Johnson found.

She even makes her own household cleaning products and even her own makeup.

“I used to buy lots of different products because I was listening to marketers who told me that for each application we need a different product,” Johnson explained. “I had a cabinet full of cleaning products, which actually were even toxic for me. Once I started this lifestyle I really questioned my need for all these products and eventually found that I didn’t need any of them.”

Johnson started her path towards a zero waste lifestyle in 2008. Now, she recycles and reuses as much as she can, composting the rest.

“I think it was back in 2010 that I watched my husband take the trashcan down to the curb with almost nothing in it. And then I told him, ‘How about we keep our waste so then we’ll see how much waste we generate in a year?’ So we started throwing it in a glass jar,” Johnson said.

In one year, her family threw away only a few fruit stickers, an old passport cover, and other miscellaneous objects that couldn’t be recycled or re-purposed – less waste than most of us generate in a single day.

With a little effort, this lifestyle, she says, has come to her family at no cost. In fact, minimalism is forcing her family to save money. Her jar of cocoa-powder that she uses as face bronzer costs her 72 cents. Buying bulk products like this helps her to cut back on costs as well as un-recyclable packaging materials.

Seeing the numerous benefits on the wallet as well as the environment, Johnson encourages others to take on the minimalist and zero waste lifestyle. She is the author of “Zero Waste Home.”

It may seem like a lot of work to become “zero waste,” but the benefits far outweigh the costs. Why should anyone convert to a minimalist and waste-free life? Johnson has one answer: “When you have things you don’t need you’re holding them from other people – you’re keeping them from being useful to other people,” Johnson explained.

Tune into this week’s Close Up as Bea Johnson gives Full Frame a tour of a zero waste life.

Follow Bea Johnson on Twitter: @zerowastehome

Read Next: X
Millburn & Nicodemus