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Bea Johnson On Her Personal Crusade For The Zero Waste Home

Bea Johnson

By Pamela Burke/January 11, 2011

UPDATE 9/27/13: Bea’s book Zero Waste Home has recently been adapted and published in French.  Zero Déchet just reached number one on Amazon in France.  Congratulations, Bea!

UPDATE 1/10/13: Bea has just done a photo shoot for Martha Stewart’s magazine and has a new book coming out 4/9/13 on her zero waste lifestyle

Bea Johnson is taking the zero waste movement to a new level in Mill Valley, Ca. She doesn’t just want to “reduce, reuse and recycle.” Her goal is to get rid of packaging and waste altogether.

” I’ve learned that the less I have, the easier it is.”   Bea Johnson

Her philosophy is to love, use, and know everything in her household and her motto “Refuse, refuse, refuse!” She says people aren’t willing to sacrifice today for a better future. Her Be Simpler business helps clients and friends make their lives less cluttered and wasteful.

Bea Johnson and zero waste

Cheese, meat, and olives stored in jars that Bea brings to the store

Everyday I notice packaging that is becoming more and more difficult to open and dispose of. I wrote a short post last year on Bea and didn’t have the chance to speak with her. That story keeps getting a lot of interest on the EYE.

I had many questions for Bea from how she shops successfully with jars to what it’s like managing a zero waste house with a husband and two sons. We got to talk recently so she could explain to me just how she does it. And it’s quite amazing… [Read more…]

Zero Waste Home–The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life By Reducing Your Waste

Bea Johnson's book, Zero Waste Home ON TWE RADIO JUNE 1,2–In her new book, Zero Waste Home (@ScribnerBooks), Bea Johnson gives her ultimate guide to reducing waste in the house. She describes how she went from a 3,000 square foot home with 64 gallons of trash weekly to a life of zero waste. Now her family produces one quart of garbage a year.

Her logo is “Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rot.” By following this message she says you will have avoided as much trash and garbage as possible. Her blog and this book give many helpful tips on how to deal with the excess in your life—everything from giving presents that are experiences to building a simple wardrobe.

If you want a good guide that will conserve your money and give you more time to do the things you want to, this is a terrific one to read.  And you might help the planet along the way. The book is printed using recycled paper and inks that are environmentally friendly.



Lucrecia Lovera VHS Handbag Designer

Handbags made out of old VHS tapes?

Who would ever think to recycle these tapes into purses? This article on 2space.net piece gives credit to designer Lucrecia Lovera above. I have piles of these old tapes around my house and wonder: Why I didn’t think of that?

Laptops and Soon Dresses

Not only is Lucrecia designing bags, but laptop cases, and soon dresses. Reuters produced a video you’ll see in this Huffington Post piece showing how she does it. Her first idea was to use audio tapes, but she says they were the wrong color–brown. Then she went on eBay and found 500 videotapes for sale.

Lucrecia Lovera's VHS Handbags

The rest is history. The company making these unique items is retape and the concept fascinating. The idea is to combine modern, obsolete material with traditional handcrafting techniques. Every bag is made from a different movie tape.

Anything is possible!

Reuters says she spends 6 hours to make a handbag. Sometimes she adds leather. So start looking around your house for items that you would never dream of recycling and put them to use. If videotapes can be made into purses, anything is possible!

And once you see the incredible video above, you’ll know see what 3000 vhs tapes can do. Think of what Lucrecia could make with these!

Bea Johnson Lives Zero Waste Lifestyle In Marin

Bea Johnson promotes a life without waste thru her blog and lifestyle in Mill Valley, Ca.   Her motto is “reduce, reuse, recycle” but first “refuse, refuse, refuse.”  She says that it’s not just about less packaging but about changing your whole outlook by wanting less and getting more.  Her consulting business Be Simpler helps people to get rid of the unnecessary.

Read The Women’s Eye Interview with Bea Johnson:

Marin IJ

Bea’s blog

Question to ponder:  How do you  eliminate waste in your life?