Zero Waste KidsZero Waste Kids


Overdue… I agree.

I confess (yet again): I am a lucky mom of two fantastic boys.

Our home could not be Zero Waste (and this blog would not exist) if it wasn’t for the whole family’s combined effort, including that of my two supportive and conscientious kids.

It’s funny that our waste-reduction efforts did not even phase them until last year, when I realized that they had not taken notice of our package-free pantry. Because our transition was unplanned and progressive (we did not simply decide one day to go Zero Waste), the kids never asked questions about our lifestyle, and I had assumed they knew what those 200 Le Parfait jars were doing in our kitchen. It’s only when I went on a school field trip with my younger son to Whole Foods, where he could not answer the simple question: “Why is it a good idea to buy in bulk?” that it dawned on me that an explanation was in order. That night, we taught the kids the concept of Zero Waste and we received their full blessing and cooperation. An easy conversion (considering their growing environmental knowledge) that would surprisingly, and dramatically reduce our waste. It’s amazing how much their “street junk” added to our weekly garbage tally (plastic bits, tennis balls, electronic bits, etc)…

Refuse has been their most essential assignment since that point. But it does not go without its challenges, in a society where kids (especially shy ones, like my eldest) feel ostracized when acting different than expected. Refusing party favors from school or birthday parties is difficult, but manageable if you teach your kids that actions have consequences, that examples must be set for others and that every effort can make a difference.

Sometimes I feel bad, providing my kids with an alternative lifestyle, deprived of tortillas, oreos, and chips, but books like the one I just read (“Slow Death by Rubber Duck”) quickly straighten my volatile mind. From what we know of the effects of plastics on our health, and the waste of resources that packaging generates, I believe that our lifestyle educates them, is better for their health and ultimately gives them a better future. As parents, “it is our responsibility to do what we can to ensure that they have a brighter, cleaner, healthier world to live in.” (smartparenting.com), and it is our duty to educate them about environmental issues so they too can make the right decisions when we’re gone.

After all, our children are the future of a better planet. And it starts with your 8-year-old commenting aloud when a cashier hands out a plastic bag, “Oh my gosh, a plastic bag, mom!”.

Here are some of the things we are doing with our kids:


Party:
That your child is invited to:

  • Talk to the host parent and request no party favor for your child. You can talk to them about your zero waste efforts, or more quickly, you can let them know that you are working on de-cluttering your home. Plus, that’s one less tantrum that you’ll have to comfort, when the cheap Chinese toxic plastic toy breaks after just one use.
  • Bring a present that you would be happy to receive for your own child: Scout the thrift shop for an interesting book or give the gift of new experiences. My 10-year-old recently gave his best friend the gift of going out to lunch on their own (Their 1st time in a restaurant without parental supervision). Priceless.

That you are hosting:

  • Remember the good old cake served on a ceramic plate with stainless forks? Forget about disposable plates, forks, glasses, napkins and cupcake wrappers.
  • Request zero waste presents: For his recent birthday, my son received a gift certificate to the local gelato parlor, an afternoon of indoor climbing, and a ski trip. An ideal Zero Waste birthday! I pointed out to my son, that these great birthday presents are not only kinder on the environment but they also made his birthday last longer. It did not just stop at the unwrapping of a toy.
  • Bypass the party favors: Who really wants them anyways?

Grocery Shopping:

  • Shop together: It goes without saying that grocery shopping is easier without kids. But when they do come with me, I take the opportunity to teach them about eco-shopping (like choosing local products), I let them pick the meat and fish of the week (within financial reason), and treat them to their favorite sweet from the bulk section. That’s when the organic gummy bears make it into my pantry.
  • Get them involved: Our kids go to the ice cream store on their own with a jar, which they can fill with their chosen flavor.

Entertainment:

  • Visit the library: We do not watch TV, but the kids get to choose the movie of their choice from the children’s library every week. They also get all their books here.
  • Watch movies!: Kids can absorb so much from movies and “Wall-E“, “Earth” and “Home” are great options. We look forward to “Oceans” releasing soon!
  • Propose inspiring books: Both “Land of Curiosities” and the “Little House on the Prairie” series are good examples.
  • Connect with nature. Our weekly hikes are a great way to learn about nature. We get to spend time together, I teach them about botany and they see what they are fighting for with a Zero Waste lifestyle. Saving nature is ultimately what Zero Waste is all about.
  • Play games: To get closer and not waste valuable together time watching TV.
  • Focus on togetherness: Too many soccer matches, baseball games, over scheduled weekends all take away from simple family quality time. Hiking, volunteering, biking, beach going, everyday dinners, all make us closer and in agreement for Zero Waste.

School:

  • Request less paper from your teacher/school at the beginning of the year: Our teachers have been more than cooperative about paper reduction, they know to only send necessary papers home with our kids.
  • Simplify and reuse lunch containers: We are very lucky to have an organic lunch service that supports our school PTA, but the setup is not yet Zero Waste (working on it though). So, I send my kids to school with a fork and a napkin on the days that they do use the hot lunch program. Otherwise, I make them a sandwich, put a cookie and fruit in a small Le Parfait jar and wrap the whole thing in a kitchen towel, furoshiki style – I told you I was an addicted furoshikier!:). The towel serves 4 purposes: it is a protective padding, a carrying handle, a place mat, and a napkin all in one. No need for lunch boxes, lunch baggies, specialized lunch containers, or paper napkin. Although, a stainless steel container would be useful to little ones or those wanting to lighten their load.


Overdue… I agree.

I confess (yet again): I am a lucky mom of two fantastic boys.

Our home could not be Zero Waste (and this blog would not exist) if it wasn’t for the whole family’s combined effort, including that of my two supportive and conscientious kids.

It’s funny that our waste-reduction efforts did not even phase them until last year, when I realized that they had not taken notice of our package-free pantry. Because our transition was unplanned and progressive (we did not simply decide one day to go Zero Waste), the kids never asked questions about our lifestyle, and I had assumed they knew what those 200 Le Parfait jars were doing in our kitchen. It’s only when I went on a school field trip with my younger son to Whole Foods, where he could not answer the simple question: “Why is it a good idea to buy in bulk?” that it dawned on me that an explanation was in order. That night, we taught the kids the concept of Zero Waste and we received their full blessing and cooperation. An easy conversion (considering their growing environmental knowledge) that would surprisingly, and dramatically reduce our waste. It’s amazing how much their “street junk” added to our weekly garbage tally (plastic bits, tennis balls, electronic bits, etc)…

Refuse has been their most essential assignment since that point. But it does not go without its challenges, in a society where kids (especially shy ones, like my eldest) feel ostracized when acting different than expected. Refusing party favors from school or birthday parties is difficult, but manageable if you teach your kids that actions have consequences, that examples must be set for others and that every effort can make a difference.

Sometimes I feel bad, providing my kids with an alternative lifestyle, deprived of tortillas, oreos, and chips, but books like the one I just read (“Slow Death by Rubber Duck”) quickly straighten my volatile mind. From what we know of the effects of plastics on our health, and the waste of resources that packaging generates, I believe that our lifestyle educates them, is better for their health and ultimately gives them a better future. As parents, “it is our responsibility to do what we can to ensure that they have a brighter, cleaner, healthier world to live in.” (smartparenting.com), and it is our duty to educate them about environmental issues so they too can make the right decisions when we’re gone.

After all, our children are the future of a better planet. And it starts with your 8-year-old commenting aloud when a cashier hands out a plastic bag, “Oh my gosh, a plastic bag, mom!”.

Here are some of the things we are doing with our kids:


Party:
That your child is invited to:

  • Talk to the host parent and request no party favor for your child. You can talk to them about your zero waste efforts, or more quickly, you can let them know that you are working on de-cluttering your home. Plus, that’s one less tantrum that you’ll have to comfort, when the cheap Chinese toxic plastic toy breaks after just one use.
  • Bring a present that you would be happy to receive for your own child: Scout the thrift shop for an interesting book or give the gift of new experiences. My 10-year-old recently gave his best friend the gift of going out to lunch on their own (Their 1st time in a restaurant without parental supervision). Priceless.

That you are hosting:

  • Remember the good old cake served on a ceramic plate with stainless forks? Forget about disposable plates, forks, glasses, napkins and cupcake wrappers.
  • Request zero waste presents: For his recent birthday, my son received a gift certificate to the local gelato parlor, an afternoon of indoor climbing, and a ski trip. An ideal Zero Waste birthday! I pointed out to my son, that these great birthday presents are not only kinder on the environment but they also made his birthday last longer. It did not just stop at the unwrapping of a toy.
  • Bypass the party favors: Who really wants them anyways?

Grocery Shopping:

  • Shop together: It goes without saying that grocery shopping is easier without kids. But when they do come with me, I take the opportunity to teach them about eco-shopping (like choosing local products), I let them pick the meat and fish of the week (within financial reason), and treat them to their favorite sweet from the bulk section. That’s when the organic gummy bears make it into my pantry.
  • Get them involved: Our kids go to the ice cream store on their own with a jar, which they can fill with their chosen flavor.

Entertainment:

  • Visit the library: We do not watch TV, but the kids get to choose the movie of their choice from the children’s library every week. They also get all their books here.
  • Watch movies!: Kids can absorb so much from movies and “Wall-E“, “Earth” and “Home” are great options. We look forward to “Oceans” releasing soon!
  • Propose inspiring books: Both “Land of Curiosities” and the “Little House on the Prairie” series are good examples.
  • Connect with nature. Our weekly hikes are a great way to learn about nature. We get to spend time together, I teach them about botany and they see what they are fighting for with a Zero Waste lifestyle. Saving nature is ultimately what Zero Waste is all about.
  • Play games: To get closer and not waste valuable together time watching TV.
  • Focus on togetherness: Too many soccer matches, baseball games, over scheduled weekends all take away from simple family quality time. Hiking, volunteering, biking, beach going, everyday dinners, all make us closer and in agreement for Zero Waste.

School:

  • Request less paper from your teacher/school at the beginning of the year: Our teachers have been more than cooperative about paper reduction, they know to only send necessary papers home with our kids.
  • Simplify and reuse lunch containers: We are very lucky to have an organic lunch service that supports our school PTA, but the setup is not yet Zero Waste (working on it though). So, I send my kids to school with a fork and a napkin on the days that they do use the hot lunch program. Otherwise, I make them a sandwich, put a cookie and fruit in a small Le Parfait jar and wrap the whole thing in a kitchen towel, furoshiki style – I told you I was an addicted furoshikier!:). The towel serves 4 purposes: it is a protective padding, a carrying handle, a place mat, and a napkin all in one. No need for lunch boxes, lunch baggies, specialized lunch containers, or paper napkin. Although, a stainless steel container would be useful to little ones or those wanting to lighten their load.

  1. Molly Maguire says:

    April 11th, 2010 at 6:48 pm (#)

    So glad you wrote about your kids and family life from the Zero Waste perspective. You have so many great ideas. A few of my own to add:

    Birthday Parties: Favorite party favors I have used are going to the local cigar store and getting their used cigar boxes. They are beautiful and come in wood or cardboard. We fill them with items that are reusable and fun like playing cards or jump ropes. I am more worried about what happens in birthday parties than what they bring home from them and have learned to always ask specifics about what the kids will be doing (e.g. I picked my son up from one party & the kids had been watching violent video games. My son had wanted to call me but was too embarrassed).

    Entertainment: There is a genius CD series called Classical Kids about the great composers (www.childrensgroup.com)

    We love the Jim Weiss CDs from Greathall Productions. They listened to great tales like The Three Musketeers and Galileo and the Stargazers when they were small and listen to stories about Thomas Jefferson and Masters of the Rennaissance now. Great stuff for long or short car rides.

    TV: We don't get cable but do have an antennae and have caught the new Jamie Oliver show about healthy school lunches on Friday nights on ABC. Brilliant!

    Food: Question for Bea. Why don't you feed your kids tortillas? We make them with ww flour, water and EVOO and use a wonderful little tortilla press to make them ourselves. It only takes a few minutes and is fun.

    Keep up the great work. It is very inspiring.

  2. Bea Johnson says:

    April 12th, 2010 at 1:16 am (#)

    Hi Molly: Thanks for your input!
    I don't make tortillas because I do not want another piece of equipment that I would seldomly use in my kitchen -minimalist rule;)… I have tried to do it without the press, and it really did not turn out great…getting them to-go from a mexican restaurant is a viable option though…

  3. vikingjones says:

    April 27th, 2012 at 8:17 pm (#)

    I know this is a little late in coming, but I only just started reading your blog.

    I make flour tortillas regularly (at least once a week) and don't use a press for them. Tortilla presses are meant for making corn tortillas. I just roll the tortillas out with my rolling pin and cook them on a cast-iron griddle. This is a lot cheaper than getting them from your local restaurant, and if you render your own lard you don't have the Crisco or manteca container in your fridge.

    Anyway… I'm going to get back to enjoying your blog! 🙂

  4. Jane says:

    April 12th, 2010 at 5:56 am (#)

    You are awesome, inspiring…and did I say awesome! I no longer use ziploc bags since I started reading your blog…one HUGE step for me. Tottally started collecting Le Parfait jars that I have found at thrift stores. And remembered my Dr Bronner Bottle to refill last week in the bulk soap section. Rock it Mamma!!!…Keep passing on your knowledge and experince…I am on my way to be lest wasteful. THANK YOU!

  5. Bea Johnson says:

    April 12th, 2010 at 9:32 pm (#)

    Wow Jane! Congratulations on your waste reduction, I am sooo proud of you! Thank you for caring. You have made my day!
    I am envious of the jars you found, they have been hard to find in thrift shops the last couple of years…
    Keep me posted on your progress, You go girl!

  6. Hanna says:

    April 12th, 2010 at 11:56 pm (#)

    Hi,

    Thanks for your blog!! One question–how do you dispose of non-compostable food scraps? We compost, but we live in graduate student housing and our communal compost does not support meat. We don't eat much meat, but we did have a chicken a few weeks ago. I found myself wondering how you would deal with the skin and bones… Thanks again!

    P.S. Here's a tutorial I found for felted wool eggs that can be reused. Too late for this year; maybe next year? http://rhythmofthehome.com/spring-2010/root-children/

  7. Suzanne says:

    April 13th, 2010 at 1:23 am (#)

    Hi,

    Thanks for your blog. I appreciate how concrete and specific your suggestions are. The posts are like a blueprint for progressing to a zero waste house.

    Ideas from your blog we’ve incorporated:
    – We stopped buying paper towels and Kleenex (replaced with micro clothes and handkerchiefs; don’t miss the old versions)
    – I don’t sew, so I bought muslin bags from reusablebags.com for bulk items
    – Brought my first glass jar for cheese at the deli counter (felt self-conscious but went fine).
    – Found a bakery that will slice loaf of bread and put it in my muslin bag (for sandwiches)
    – My 5yo daughter and I made Vitamin E balm to replace Eucerin ointment (far, far easier than I thought it would be).

    I’m trying to take it slow, so it doesn’t get overwhelming. Thanks for the inspiration and ideas.

  8. Anonymous says:

    April 13th, 2010 at 3:10 am (#)

    How would you handle necessary prescriptions? I've asked the pharmacist and they cannot reuse the plastic bottle for my monthly prescription due to legal issues.

  9. Holly says:

    April 13th, 2010 at 10:08 pm (#)

    Great ideas once again Bea, thanks! I've had so much fun incorporating your ideas into our lives. My kids are only 4 and 2 so they just roll with what I do and think it's normal, I can picture my 4 year old saying the same thing about a plastic bag:-)
    Just wanted to vent about my frustrations. I LOVE the farmers market, BUT because of health regulations here everything is wrapped in plastic. Bread, carrots, homemade soap, EVERYTHING!!! I've talked to my favorite vendors and we're trying to work something out because I really don't want to bake bread all summer. The other annoying thing is my grocery store won't take the tare off my dry bulk purchases. My bags are only 2 oz or so, but I've been totaling it up and it's 2 – 5 dollars every time I shop, depending on what I'm buying! I've collected my receipts, marked the differences, and I'll bring them with me tomorrow to show the manager.
    I know we can't save the world or anything, but I wish people would at least care a bit more. Seriously!

  10. Bea Johnson says:

    April 14th, 2010 at 3:54 am (#)

    Hanna: Thanks so much for the felt eggs link! these are beautiful! This easter was our kids last egg hunt, but the felt eggs are so pretty, I think I'll make some for my girlfriend's baby.
    As for meat bones… we do not yet have city compost either (starting in July though!) so we:
    -favor buying boneless meat (stop waste before it makes it into the house)
    -give some to the dog
    -freeze the rest to make stock
    -bring some to my friends house who do have city compost
    Some people burry theirs or grind them to use ground bone as a fertilizer (the grinders are quite expensive though)

  11. Bea Johnson says:

    April 14th, 2010 at 4:51 am (#)

    Suzanne:
    What fantastic progress and what an encouragement to keep this blog going!
    You are doing the right thing by doing just a few things at a time. It is the best way to convert your family for the long run. Thanks for caring!

  12. Bea Johnson says:

    April 14th, 2010 at 4:56 am (#)

    Anonymous: About the prescriptions… there is not much we can do but take the bottles back to the pharmacy for them to:
    -recycle them
    -realize the waste that they produce
    I am too super bummed that they can't just clean and reuse them.

  13. Bea Johnson says:

    April 14th, 2010 at 5:04 am (#)

    Holly:
    I hope that you get your tare cleared out with your grocery store tomorrow. Keep us posted. I understand your frustrations! I too have noticed that the tare refund sometimes depends on the competency of the cashier clerk…

  14. Anonymous says:

    April 15th, 2010 at 3:45 pm (#)

    Hi, Bea.

    I know your boys are beyond diaper years, but if you had it to do all over again, how would you try to zero-waste caring for a baby?

    Also, have your boys read Chris Van Allsburg's "Just a Dream"? That's a book I love, passed down by my mother. I highly recommend it, as it supports your values with a wonderful story and compelling set of illustrations.

  15. Robin says:

    April 16th, 2010 at 1:29 am (#)

    Another fantastic post Bea! I am so proud of you and loved reading all the posts – it's great to see the changes your readers have made – so inspirational!

    Re: the comment about diapers….in the SF Bay Area there is a company called Earth-Baby. The drop off and pick up compostable diapers where they take them to their local facility and compost there. The only downside is they don't make them for newborns. The babies must be 8 lbs. and up. They deliver eco wipes and balm too.

  16. Holly says:

    April 16th, 2010 at 8:08 pm (#)

    Can I butt in about the diapers too? I use cloth for my son and I found that using cloth wipes just made sense. I have a whole system that's too long to explain here, but it really comes down to making it work the best for your family. I was lucky and found 24 unused cloth diapers at a consignment store for only 1.50 a piece! That's really cheap. Usually it's 10.00 a piece. You could make them for cheaper than that though. http://www.passionatehomemaking.com/2009/09/one-size-pocket-diapers-reviews.html
    Here's a link for a girls blog who has done a lot of research for this subject. Hope you find something that works great for you! Thanks for letting me butt in Bea:-) Can't wait to hear your suggestions though.

  17. Anonymous says:

    April 18th, 2010 at 8:55 am (#)

    Bea, Since first reading your blog we have gone to trash-free lunches for my kids and quit using baggies at our house too. We've also quit buying so much of the unhealthy packaged foods for kids. We now refill our ice cream at the local soda fountain (expensive but okay for a treat), get our bread at the bakery we can walk to (with our own bread bag), buy our bagels that way too, all my loose leaf tea is now in refillable containers and we make our own cookies, salad dressing, and granola. This week we went to a family fun night at my son's school and they were serving hotdogs—something we don't buy anymore—and my kids were delighted with the treat of it. My kids are completely on board with idea and love telling their friends and teachers about our trashfree house (which of course is not trash-free quite yet but. . .) This may sound pathetic but we went from 4-5 bags of garbage a week to less that 2 (for all 5 of us) and we're still working bit by bit. Potting training my 2 yr old is next on the list. Thanks for your blog; it's making a difference. -Heather

  18. Anonymous says:

    April 18th, 2010 at 8:59 am (#)

    One more thing, we have taken the vow of not another plastic bag in our house and my husband came out of a grocery store run the other night precariously carrying OJ, milk, limes, apples and a few other things. He said he told the cashier that his wife would kill him if he came out with a bag. It does take the whole family.

  19. Bea Johnson says:

    April 18th, 2010 at 6:09 pm (#)

    Heather: I am super impressed with your progress. You can be proud of your accomplishments and what your kids are learning in the process… they are becoming little trash warriors.

  20. Bea Johnson says:

    April 18th, 2010 at 6:19 pm (#)

    Please Holly… thank you for "butting in"! this comment section is made for sharing ideas and tips. And I really appreciate your inputs! I sure do not have the answer to everything, especially diapers, since we do not use them and I have not had to research the best options out there. But the 2 mentioned here seem reasonable.

  21. Virginia says:

    May 11th, 2010 at 6:41 pm (#)

    Bea: Love the posts about kids! Just for additional inspiration, our community is supporting a competition among local schools to reduce their waste and impact on our beautiful planet. This is from today's newsletter:
    "Our school has won the Third Annual Green Challenge. The Green Challenge was created as a fun way for area schools to work together to lower consumption and to collaborate and learn from each other’s successes. During this year's challenge, 11 schools competed to achieve the largest reductions in energy consumption, lunch waste production, and recycling contamination.
    Over the month of April, we reduced our average weekly electricity consumption by 3,431.5 kilowatt hours as a result of both system improvements and individual attention to energy use. These efforts equate to a 7,892 pounds-per-week reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.
    Also in April, we began a school lunch composting program. This new waste management technique reduced our average daily lunch waste from 135 lbs to 14 lbs.
    We continue to refine our recycling program, and recently switched to a single stream system, which has helped reduce recycling contamination to less than 19%."

  22. Bea Johnson says:

    May 12th, 2010 at 4:02 pm (#)

    Virginia:
    This is fantastic! and I am envious of your school! ours is super slow at changing, but we're pushing! Am sending your letter to my principal.

  23. Marcy says:

    June 10th, 2010 at 11:30 am (#)

    Have you thought about using a tiffin box for lunch? These wonderful stainless steel multilayer "lunch boxes" are very, very common in India and allow you to easily carry lots of different foods.

    Not sure where these are available in the US (I live in Australia), but I bought mine at an army disposal store, although I am sure you could find some online.

    I bet the boys would think these are pretty cool too!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiffin_carriers

  24. Bea Johnson says:

    June 10th, 2010 at 4:02 pm (#)

    Hi Marcy:
    Thanks for your post. We did try the Tiffin carriers and like the fact that they were stainless. But they did not quite work for us:
    -we found that they were too bulky. Both my kids and husband bike to school/work and we found the Tiffin to be too big to carry in their backpacks.
    – even if we only used one container in their backpack, salad dressing would leak out (it is not leakproof).
    -my husband found it to be too noisy (he is picky, I know): he works in a quiet environment and opening the clonking apparatus made him self conscious.
    -we already have jars that work just fine, we don't need to buy yet another apparatus for our lunches.
    That said I like the look of them -they remind me of the Little House on the Prairie :), and I believe that for someone who walks or drives to school/lunch where the carrier could be kept upright, they are still a good option.

  25. Anonymous says:

    June 14th, 2010 at 3:04 pm (#)

    Love your blog and all the great ideas! It has really changed my way of thinking. I used to think that I was doing a great job with tons of Tupperware, recycling, and only 1-2 bags of trash each week (family of 4). I now realize that I have been throwing away an immense amount of stuff that could have been recycled! And the concept of "Refuse" before the other 3 "R"s is just revolutionary to me! I'm in the process of switching out all my Tupperware to glass and totally rethinking how we recycle.

    Question: My kids love art, and we do a lot of painting, coloring, etc. How do you handle this in your household? We use some newspaper (we only get the Sunday paper, and I'm thinking I won't be getting that either now), scrap paper, etc. Markers are all plastic, too. We do have wood paint brushes. What do you think?

  26. Anonymous says:

    June 14th, 2010 at 3:25 pm (#)

    One more thing: Would love to see more of your minimalist home, especially your storage. Always looking for good ideas on how to store the stuff we do have.

    Thanks!

  27. Anonymous says:

    July 12th, 2010 at 8:05 am (#)

    Bea & the rest of you,
    I just came across 2 great sites for recycling

    crazycrayons.com for recycling used crayons.

    terracycle.net for recycling all your other so called trash.
    Check these out. Your kids can get involved as well. Your schools can earn money too.

  28. Bea Johnson says:

    July 12th, 2010 at 2:48 pm (#)

    Please, please reduce before mailing your trash out!
    -refuse the free crayons in restaurant by bringing in your own, reuse the ones you already have and need to discard by melting/molding new ones or use them to color homemade candles.
    -reduce the candy wrappers (taken by Terracycle) by providing healthy waste-free snacks such as fruit, nuts, milk, toast, veggies…

  29. Anonymous says:

    July 12th, 2010 at 6:45 pm (#)

    Bea, I completely agree Reduce & reuse vs Recycle.
    But again we all have to take 1 step at a time. Its hard to achieve all this zero-waste overnight.
    Until then, this is a better option than throwing away .
    Thanks again

  30. Loz says:

    August 27th, 2010 at 4:59 pm (#)

    For those who are buried under diapers…
    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/09/nyregion/09diapers.html
    It doesn't solve the problem for the first few months, but in the long run it pays!

  31. Heather in WA state says:

    January 10th, 2011 at 6:32 am (#)

    Here's another zero-waste lunch box option, which includes leakproof containers and a slim profile.

    http://www.planetbox.com/video.html

  32. Shell says:

    January 10th, 2011 at 12:22 pm (#)

    Heather, thanks for posting the link for the planet box. That is exactly what I want for school lunches.

  33. Bea Johnson says:

    January 10th, 2011 at 5:34 pm (#)

    Thanks, Heather for the great link! If I were not using what I already have around the house (jars and towel for furoshiki), I would get a couple of those in a second. I absolutely love them!

  34. Katrina says:

    February 23rd, 2011 at 12:58 am (#)

    Hello, I just found this site a few days ago after hearing about you on the news. We're trying to be more 'green' so I've been reading your old posts and you have inspired me to do more.

    I wanted to comment on the diapers comments. We have gone diaper free or EC(Elimination Communication) we use diapers at night and sometimes during the day but for the most part their diaper free. I have been doing it with my 16mo. old since she was 6mo.(wish I would of learned more before she was born) She is very good at letting me know now too usually by pointing, signing, fussing or pulling at her diaper. Most of the time when she wakes up shes dry even after all night. The main site that got me started and thinking is tribalbaby.org Oh and one more thing going Diaper free is not about watching your baby's face or expression all day either.

  35. Monica says:

    February 25th, 2011 at 2:37 pm (#)

    Another comment on the diaper issue– I'm of two minds about the diaper free method. It sounds great, but both my husband and I plan on working full time when our baby arrives (much as I'd love to be a stay-at-home mom). I just don't think it'd be practical for us. But I don't want to stick with regular disposable diapers, either.

    Here's the compromise I've found: gDiapers.
    http://www.gdiapers.com/

    They offer a choice between cloth inserts or disposable inserts– which are actually flushable, compostable, and biodegrade quickly if you do for some reason put them in the trash. Right now my plan is to use cloth inserts most of the time, and if I do use the disposable ones, compost them if they're just wet, flush them if there's poop in them.

    We might still try to go with the diaper free method. We'll just have to see what works best for us, but I really like the idea of the gDiapers.

    Love the blog!

  36. Jeanne says:

    April 19th, 2011 at 7:36 pm (#)

    Hi Bea,
    I'm loving your blog. I'm aiming for a zero waste home like yours by the end of this year…or at least an almost-zero waste home. 🙂

    Since our biggest waste expense was our little 9-month-old,I decided to make her a zero waste baby! So far,I've made 4 diapers out of a fleece blanket I got as a gift but don't use. Her wipes and inserts are made out of gauze cloth (also a gift). She's also been exclusively breastfed from birth (so no milk can to go to waste). We only bought a couple of home clothes for her. The rest are hand-me-downs from friends coz she'll outgrow them in a month or two anyway.

    Next step is to clear up my closet! I'm using your list as my guide.

    Have I said I love your blog? 🙂

    -Jeanne

  37. Rebecca says:

    April 23rd, 2011 at 11:48 pm (#)

    I am a Sixth Grade teacher in the Seattle area who recently became addicted to your blog and lifestyle. For Earth Day I finally had the perfect platform to share some of your tips and tricks with my students. I played the video of your son wrapping his lunch; my students thought that it was so cool! Many students mentioned that they would bring whole apples instead of cut apples in plastic baggies. I was thrilled when several of my students committed to bringing a stainless steel water bottle to keep at school rather than bringing plastic disposable bottles. Next year I hope to purchase a bottle for each student that will live in the classroom so that I can completely ban plastic bottles.

    You have also inspired me to make some drastic changes in how I shop (as delicious as Trader Joe's food is, it's a packaging nightmare!). Thank you for proving that each individual is able live a simple and wonderful life while trying to protect the Earth for future generations.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

  38. Corinna says:

    June 13th, 2011 at 8:39 am (#)

    This is great, Bea! I was going to ask you about this, but then saw you'd already posted on it.

    What I was going to say is that I remember (as a kid) always coming home with HEAPS of stuff from birthday parties, and especially school… art projects, paper notices, treasures, etc. I cherished all of it, but it wasn't until I was older (now) that I see how much that stuff just built up in my closet.

    It was actually after I got married and moved out and my parents called me back home to finally clean out my closet, desk, and chests that I noticed how much junk I'd collected. It was such a hassle to throw it all out (and it took ages b/c I wanted to look at it all once more!). Would have been easier to never have accumulated it all in the first place!

    Anyways, thanks for the ideas!

    ~Corinna

  39. Anonymous says:

    July 16th, 2011 at 4:07 pm (#)

    hi bea!
    i ablosulutley love what you and youre family has done. ive read youre whole blog and i have become obsessed. so a while back i decided that i was doing to start zero waste in my family after we get back from our vacation in barcelona. im wrighting you this from barcelona. my family is okay with zero waste but far from exited. do you have any tips on how to get them,more motivated, educated and exited? thank you so much!
    maya s.

  40. Susan d says:

    August 31st, 2011 at 7:36 pm (#)

    Hi Bea:

    Just wondering which sunscreen you prefer for your family. Do you hapen to have any experience with or comments on Soleo? Thanks.

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