My girlfriend got a tip for a book. Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson. I heard some extreme stories and was scared it’s going to be our case as well. I really didn’t like to see this book at home and I didn’t want to read it.
But I did. I think it somehow appeared on my pile of books to read one day. On the top. :-)
It’s not a bad book, but it’s not a good one either. The book has a lot of ideas and examples what you can do better. That’s very good. The problem is, from my point of view, Bea’s one of main ideas is to simplify the life, which is not entirely the truth.
For example, she wrote an example of her shopping. Every detail of it on which she was working very hard for many years. It’s very amazing what she achieved. I don’t want to say that what she or her fellows achieved is wrong, not at all. I want to say that her style is not simple as she writes because I doubt everyone will spend months and years of tweaking everyday life to not have plastics at home and always prefer left turns.
Her second reason for the book is our environmental footprint. Nature is very complicated and even if we think we know how nature works, still, we are not sure how much (if even) is some of our doings harmful in global scale. The book doesn’t even try to discuss the impact of our doings. So the book is only a list of tips you can do, sometimes it can simplify life, sometimes not, and if you want to improve your footprint, you have no idea which tips to implement.
I would compare it to Leo Tolstoy. He was stitching his own shoes and he was traveling by foot instead of using train. His opinion was to live modestly and in symbiosis with nature. But he lived in huge house, he was smoking a lot, and he let peasants to suffer from infections.
Leo Tolstoy lived his life in a way he believed is good and Bea Johnson does the same. Both have very noble reasons and if you can do that with them, good! But both styles of living is not possible to do by majority. I would even say it’s not acceptable to enforce something like this in a community. That’s why I think it’s not OK to present her ideas as something perfect.
Yes, if you can avoid unnecessary trash, do it. You can even read the book to find some tips, but I think there should be some better book about this topic, mostly about the environmental impact. I don’t like extreme solutions. Everything is wrong in big numbers and I agree to reduce what is really unnecessary. But let’s not go to the another extreme. :-) A lot of good stuff happened because of the possibilities we have.
Anyway, I agree there is a problem with a materialism. We should care less about physical comfort and more about spiritual values. If you see some advertisement that you are not in without a “new cool product”, don’t forget it’s only advertisement. Your life is not about what you own.
So, it’s not a bad book. Just don’t take it too seriously and don’t be crazy. :-)