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Wednesday, 13 March 2013

The Zero Waste Lifestyle - Book Review

When I fist started on this new year resolution (started in Dec. - but I always like being early) I felt overwhelmed with everything I saw that I wanted to change. I didn't know where to start. Luckily - my teacher training kicked in and I looked to the wonderful world of resources regarding practical environmentalism - BOOKS! There are websites, blogs, and films as well of course - but I have always been partial to tangible books. Here's the first that I've finished: The Zero Waste Lifestyle by Amy Korst.

This book seemed a bit extreme at first, and Amy did go 'hard core' when committing to a zero waste lifestyle. However, the tone of the book is very upbeat and promotes the message that ANY change you make for the better concerning your consumption and pollution habits is GREAT so don't beat yourself up. I haven't done all the recommended exercises in the book (a 'trash audit' of your home and removing garbage bins etc.) but I admire her strategies and dedication. After the 'Getting Started' section part two focuses on zero wasting specific rooms, cleaning, travel, workplace, and holidays/special occasions. Some great features of the book are shopping checklists to track your waste, tables to transfer your items to see trash created and replacement options, contributions from other zero-wasters who have different lifestyles and live in different areas, and 'Meet Your Goal' summaries at the end of each chapter highlighting easy, moderate, and advanced steps you can take regarding that subtopic. There are also a couple of great recipes for DIY solutions from ricotta cheese (did it - excellent!) to household cleansers. I found lots of references to other resources to get plastic free items, grow my own loofahs (I'll blog about how that turns out in the fall), and join great organizations like terracycle (again - another blog entry, another time). Amy has her own website as well, The Green Garbage Project, though she hasn't written an entry for a bit. Her husband had some health difficulties last year so I hope they are doing alright.

This is a great read. I like how striving to be zero waste is not only good for the environment, but good for the community (buy local, talk to your neighbors) and good for the ethical soul (be happier with less, investment of time and energy = value rather than money). I appreciate her approach to others she comes across who are skeptical of her choice:
Talk to those who are willing to listen. Never take on a "holier-than-thou" attitude. [Because] everyone's lifestyle is a legitimate choice, and in time those who criticize you may learn from your quietly conscientious example.
Pg. 39

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