If, like me, you are still in the fairly early stages of the zero waste journey, you may be looking for some inspiration and guidance to point you in the right direction and to keep you motivated.
Here are four books which have been really helpful for providing me with useful tips, motivational statistics and evidence of what people can achieve when they put their mind to it. They also remind me that I’m really not alone.
Eden – Tim Smit
This amazing book is the story of how one man’s incredible idea became reality.
It is a true testament to the power of the human spirit and how, when the world seems against you, sheer bloody-mindedness and dogged determination can get you through.
If you have never visited The Eden Project, I really recommend it. It is absolutely fascinating and really makes you re-evaluate our relationship with the world in general and plants in particular. As a family, we were all inspired to make some pretty drastic changes to our habits. Even my five-year-old is on board, although she does have a tendency to preach somewhat to anyone who will listen (usually Grandma) about the evils of plastic!
The display which really impacted me was the one which shows a timeline of our planet from the Big Bang right up to the present day. It shocked me to see so starkly what a relatively tiny amount of time humans have been on the planet. In such a short time, we have pushed this planet to breaking point. It silenced us all for a while and springs to my mind whenever I’m lacking in motivation.
And once you have been wowed by the incredible biomes of all those plants we take for granted and the beautifully landscaped gardens with their quirky and family-friendly sculptures and exhibits, you can head back up to the visitor centre for a very fine cup of tea and a cake followed by a browse in the wonderful shop. Pick up a copy of this book and some other lovely souvenirs of your day.
We plan to become members of The Eden Project and go back in the summer to see it in a different season. We are going to stay in the Eden Project youth hostel which is made up of shipping containers! I’ll be sure to blog about our experience!
It’s really hard to describe this place, so I’ll just say “Go!” and, if you have already been, maybe some time ago “Go back!” I promise you will be inspired.
Zero Waste Home – Bea Johnson
Bea Johnson, according to the cover of her book, is “the priestess of waste-free living”. I would be inclined to agree!
You may have seen her online. She’s the one who has reduced her family of four’s waste (to landfill) to a single 500ml mason jar for a whole year! I definitely think she deserves the “priestess” title.
Although it may seem like an impossible target to equal her waste reduction, it’s a great aspiration. Johnson is not judgy and recognises that not everyone has access to all the facilities she does. She lives in a town in America with a bulk section in her grocery store, a dairy for her milk, butter and cream and many other shops which make it possible for her to live this way.
She is also very much into keeping things simple and decluttering the stuff we don’t need. I have found this really inspiring – my kitchen was the first room to get the Bea Johnson treatment and is now a much nicer place to cook, eat and just be.
This is a book crammed with great tips, useful recipes and motivational messages. It is probably the Zero Waste Bible.
I borrowed this book from the library, but it’s one that I think I will refer to again and again in the future. I won’t buy it new, though. Kindle or second-hand for me!
No.More.Plastic. – Martin Dorey
I came across this book when looking up the Bea Johnson book on Amazon. It was newly published and, to my surprise, my local library service had it, so I put in a reservation request.
Martin Dorey is the man behind the #2minutebeachclean which encourages people to spend two minutes picking up litter on beaches. It has grown to be a global movement and you can read all about it on the website above.
In this book, Martin has moved away from the beach and is looking at ways we can reduce plastic in all areas of our life. The key idea behind this book is that we only need to spend two minutes to actually make a difference. Each section has a two minute task for you to do.
It really is a quick read and I think it’s a brilliant starting point if you want to reduce your plastic. I read it in one sitting and picked up some handy tips and ideas along the way. It’s a bit like Eden in that it really inspires you to think about what we, as individuals, can achieve from even the smallest beginnings.
How to give up plastic – a guide to changing the world, one plastic bottle at a time – Will McCallum
Ok, I have to confess that I have only just started reading this book, but I really wanted to include it.
It is written by Will McCallum who is the Head of Oceans for Greenpeace. I’d say this is a man I want to listen to.
I downloaded it onto my lovely old Kindle Keyboard (yep, no touchscreen) for 99p and I’m hooked already.
The book starts with Greenpeace scientists finding microplastics in the waters of the Antarctic. Then, in the the introduction is this absolutely horrifying fact: “Coca-cola, the world’s largest producer of drinks sold in plastic bottles, estimates that it produces over 120 billion per year – if you laid them down nose to tail, that’s enough bottles to wrap around the circumference of the Earth nearly 700 times.” Where do they all go? If that fact doesn’t make you want to finish reading the book and then do something about this situation, then I don’t know what will.
So, that’s my pick of zero waste and plastic free books. I’ll share more with you as I come across them. If you still need a bit of inspiration, even after these great reads, I highly recommend the documentary A Plastic Ocean. I saw it last week and was moved, inspired, humbled, horrified and angered in equal measure. Check it out!