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  • Jenica Barrett

Top 5 Zero Waste Books

Updated: Jun 19, 2020

Looking for some light reading? Well I can’t guarantee the following books will keep your kids interested or leave you laughing till you cry, but they’re definitely educational! Starting towards zero waste can involve a lot of research which can be time consuming and frustrating. In order to avoid re-creating the wheel, check out my top five favorite books focusing on zero waste and skip straight to the important stuff!

Since publishing this post in 2017, I have updated my Top 5 favorite books in another post and expanded it to include the best books about zero waste living, books around the climate crisis, and more!

Zero Waste Home book on a table

1. Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson

Zero Waste Home should be the very first book every person picks up when inspired to reduce their waste! Bea does an amazing job of combining recipes, stories, and advice in this ultimate guide book. She covers just about every area of her life including her home, work, holidays, eating out, and getting involved. With a family of four and only producing one quart of trash a year, Bea sets an amazing example of how anyone can make changes to their lifestyle and dramatically reduce their waste.

2. No Impact Man by Colin Beavan

No Impact Man covers Colin’s experience of trying to live a whole year without making any impact on the planet. You’ll follow his roller coaster of emotions as he pushes his lifestyle to the limit of modern society. Colin discusses many of the ways he tackled different areas of his life from his work, to travel, to electricity. But the most intriguing part of his book is the insight he brings into the social norms we have created around our waste production and the, at times, repercussions such drastic changes brought on his family.

3. Cradle to Cradle by Michael Braungart and William McDonough

The zero waste lifestyle is not just about eliminating trash but finding a way to consume items that are created in line with the environment. The authors of Cradle to Cradle explore the ways in which our society is stuck in a cradle to grave model where items are not designed to be recovered. Instead, they imagine a world in which all products are designed to not only be recoverable but to enhance the environment from which they came. Highlighting specific examples of projects they have worked on, readers will come away inspired by the changes that are possible in our manufacturing systems (and slightly frustrated that they are not already the norm).

4. Garbology by Edward Humes

If you’ve ever wondered how we came to produce so much trash, this history lesson by Humes should leave you quite knowledgeable! Taking a deep look inside our history of trash production, this book covers how and why we started using more plastic items and relying on the dumpster. You’ll learn about landfills, pig eateries, incinerators. And then, going beyond just the problem, Humes explores ways to fix this reliance and create a healthier relationship with our trash.

5. How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint by Joanna Yarrow

This is just about the most fun book I have read about the environment – mostly because it’s full of pictures, graphs, and also colored! Written in 2008, this book provides statistics on how our daily activities impact our carbon footprint. Using pictures to highlight changes to reduce your carbon footprint, this book is great for starting discussions with children and teens in your household! It has suggestions on transportation, energy, work, travel, cooking, and buying habits. It’s a great contrast to the lengthy, wordy books that often fill my shelves.

What books are on your list? Don't forget to checkout my updated post on my newest Top 5 books!

jenica reading garbology book

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