Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Environmental Tuesday: A Family Strives for Zero Waste


Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
5 Comments » | Published in Design Magazines, Design Press, Green Design  |  5 Comments

I’m so happy this article is up online from Sunset. It’s an inspiring story about a family (The Johnsons) who cut out so much of their stuff and try hard to live the Zero Waste life. A commenter on their site named Stephanie summed it up pretty well “This article has stuck with me, challenged me, frustrated me, and inspired me.” Seriously, you cannot win; I remember reading about their compostable toothbrushes being sent from Australia and thinking “well, shipping from Australia kind of cancels out the fact that they are compostable.” Also, the wife mentions that she sends the little sticky strip from Netflix back to Netflix so it won’t go in her own trash. O.K., but you haven’t eliminated it. But these are the words of a cynic. The greater point is that these people are trying very hard to live smaller, produce as little waste as possible, and spend less. Their tips regarding toys, food, and wardrobes is great, and overall, if you can pick up just one good tip from the Johnsons then it was worth reading.

Speaking of working with a small budgets and small wardrobes, here is another article that will help you cut down from The New York Times this year. It’s about going a month on just six pieces of clothing and includes links to some fun blogs where people share what they come up with.

image by Thomas J. Story for Sunset Magazine

About Becky:
Hi, I'm Becky. I live in Atlanta. Besides acting as the Editorial Director here on Hatch, you can find me talking design over at Houzz. Make me happy — leave a comment!

About Becky

has written 1620 post in this blog.

Hi, I'm Becky. I live in Atlanta. Besides acting as the Editorial Director here on Hatch, you can find me talking design over at Houzz. Make me happy — leave a comment!



  1. srah says:

    January 4th, 2011 at 8:44 am (#)

    Your link is broken, but for others trying to find it, I think this is it: http://www.sunset.com/home/natural-home/zero-waste-home-0111-00418000069984/

  2. Kat says:

    January 4th, 2011 at 8:46 am (#)

    The link to the first article doesn’t seem to be working.

  3. Becky says:

    January 4th, 2011 at 10:53 am (#)

    Hey thanks you two! Apparently I had cut and pasted Stephanie’s quote into the link line – whoopsie! It should be working now.


  4. Karyn Millman says:

    January 11th, 2011 at 10:59 am (#)

    Hi Becky,
    I also read the article from Sunset and felt inspired and confused.

    I went to my local Whole Foods and asked if I can bring in my own containers to use when buying bulk foods. They said it was not allowed, so how does that family do it?

    That article left me with lot’s of questions. I’m glad I was not the only one.


  5. Becky says:

    January 11th, 2011 at 11:28 am (#)

    Karyn, I bet that the Whole Foods in Marin County California may be ahead of the curve on this! I think it would be worth bringing it to the manager’s attention as well as the higher ups at Whole Foods – they seem to pride themselves on being organic, etc. so I would think if this is viable they’d likely strive to do it. I would also take it up with all the grocery chains. the more requests they get, the more likely they are to do it. Perhaps you could put the local pressure on by writing to the paper or contacting local news venues about wanting to bring your own containers to the grocery store.

    I could not have agreed with that commenter Stephanie more. It’s inspiring and frustrating, isn’t it? I like to take the inspiration part from it and put my usual cynacism aside. I especially liked that they tried to give experiences as gifts – like a ski day instead of a bunch of plastic toys. I suppose the cynics could get into the gas it takes to get to the hill, the deforestation of ski trails, blah blah blah… 😉

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